Ana Maria Meza Salazar
Graduate Student | Department of Applied Ecology | NC State University
2019-20 Global Change Fellow
Statement of purpose:
My background in biology has always reinforced my passion for freshwater ecosystem studies and the importance of understanding ecological processes. I have focused on assessing ecological aspects, mechanisms, and functions related to the role of benthic macroinvertebrates in Neotropical aquatic ecosystems. One of my interests has been to determine the compositional, structural, and functional features underpinning organic matter dynamics (inputs, breakdown, fluxes, etc.) in freshwater and riparian ecosystems and under contrasting land uses. In addition, I have participated in projects focused on the evaluation of the impact of mining, agriculture, and livestock grazing on water quality, macroinvertebrates, and nutrient fluxes in small streams. In recent years I have worked with macroinvertebrates associated with the accumulation of wood in dammed streams and in streams of a temporary nature. I have participated in different projects related to the evaluation of water quality, aquatic communities, and anthropogenic impacts.
Description of research:
My doctoral research focuses on the effects of climate change on lowland forest streams in Costa Rica. The Ramírez Lab, led by Dr. Alonso Ramírez, has been working in those ecosystems for several years and their research has identified that streams experience periodic acidification events associated with climate patterns. For my dissertation, I will focus on assessing how predicted climate change will affect the Caribbean region of Costa Rica and how those changes might alter stream ecosystems via acidification. I am deeply interested in understanding environmental challenges and contributing to the management and protection of freshwater ecosystems in the tropics.