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Museum Staff


Director: Dr. James Ackerman Ph.D

Recently, I have become the Director of the UPRRP Zoology Museum.  We are making great strides to bring the collection up to modern standards by databasing and reorganizing the collection, curating the specimens, and upgrading the facilities. 

My primary interests rest with questions pertaining to the evolution and maintenance of orchid diversity. This journey has led to a series of papers on the relationship between orchids and euglossine bees, the evolution and mechanisms of deception pollination, specificity in orchid-mycorrhizal associations, genetic structure of orchid populations, taxonomy of Caribbean orchids, the biogeography of the West Indies and Orchidaceae, land use history and the local distribution of native species, demography of small populations, and most recently the ecology of naturalized orchids. We are currently studying the reproductive biology and population dynamics of invasive, non-native orchids such as Dendrobium crumenatumArundina graminifolia and Spathoglottis plicata, and how they may affect populations of native species. In addition, we have begun a study on the invasion biology of non-native pines in Puerto Rico, and pollination networks of naturally unstable beach dune vegetation.

The issues I address span taxonomy, evolution, ecology, conservation, and environmental science which means that virtually none of my work has been done without the collaborative efforts of my undergraduate and graduate students, and colleagues within the UPR system and elsewhere.

Although my passion is directed towards the biology of orchids, I encourage my students to work on systems that create passion in their hearts. Some have studied orchids, but others have worked on quite different model systems including Bignoniaceae, Bromeliaceae, Cactaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Fabaceae, Malvaceae, Myrsinaceae, Pinaceae, Zamiaceae, karst vegetation, plant viruses, rust diseases, invasive species biology, and floral fragrances, all asking a variety of ecological and evolutionary questions employing a marvelous array of approaches and tools.

  

Collections ManagerMontana M. Atwater M.Sc. 

 

I am a PhD Student of Biology under the direction of Dr. James Ackerman at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras (UPRRP). As collections manager of the UPRRP Zoology Museum, I aim to ensure the preservation of the biological collections while promoting the development of collections-based research. I am an entomologist, so much of my work is focused on the curation of the Entomological Collection. My research interests include the diversity, natural history, and evolutionary history of the Lepidoptera, particuarly relating to moths and moth pollination. For more about my research, see my website.

  

 

Outreach coordinator: Rayza M. Hernández Muñiz

 

I’m a MSc student at the UPR-RP from the Environmental Sciences Department. I work at the Zoology Museum as Outreach coordinator and museum technician. My duties include and has the objectives of promoting the universities Zoology Museum facilities for: learning experiences for students and non-students of all ages; for investigation work and experience; and to provide information to the university community among others. My interests involve: biodiversity, bio-conservation, and population ecology. I’m currently working with a small, endangered epiphytic orchid, Lepanthes eltoroensis, which is endemic to Puerto Rico with populations restricted to El Yunque National Forest.

 

 

 

 

Graduate Student Associates:

 

Orlando A. Acevedo-Charry (acevedocharry[at]gmail.com)

 

 

Soy un Biólogo de Colombia, y un estudiante Graduado de la Universidad de Puerto Rico  recinto de Río Piedras (UPRRP).  Me interesa la biología de la conservación, principalmente de la biodiversidad Neotropical. De igual modo, varias temáticas en Ornitología han ocupado un gran espacio en mi perfil profesional. La bioacustica y la relación entre la fauna y las personas son aspectos principales en mi formación.

 

 

 

 

Kevin Avilés (kar_pr90[at]gmail.com)

 

Kevin está realizando una Maestría en Ecología y Ciencias Ecosistémicas en la Universidad de Rhode Island. Recibio su bachicherato ('12) en Biología Integrativa de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. Se encuentra interesado en la herpetología, biología de la conservación y especies invasoras. Como subgraduado, fue co-fundador del grupo de estudios que trabaja con especies invasoras, como el sapo común (Rhinella marina), iguana verde y pez león. Ese trabajo con especies invasoras es principalmente enfocado en tener organismos modelos para estudiantes de high school como herramienta de aprendizaje y motivación para aumentar el interés por la ciencia. Le fascinan los anfibios y reptiles, y adora el trabajo con lagartijos Anolis, en especial por que lo hacen volver a fantásticos lugares para su trabajo de campo!!

 

 Zuania Colón-Piñeiro (zcolonp[at]gmail.com)

Zuania es una estudiante de maestría de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, recinto Río Piedras, se profundiza como herpetóloga y conservacionista. Su investigación es enfocada en los factores que afectan el desarrollo de anfibios, especialmente en cómo la temperatura y otros factores climáticos afectan el desarrollo del esqueleto en ranas a través de bosques fragmentados en Puerto Rico. Ella obtuvo su grado como Bióloga de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, recinto Bayamón, donde hizo su investigación con poblaciones de cangrejos ermitaños en áreas perturbadas y no perturbadas.

El título de su tesis es "Anormalidades esqueletales sutiles en dos especies de Eleutherodactylus aumentan con la fragmentación de bosques en Puerto Rico: explorando las causas en el laboratorio y en el campo".

 

 

Undergraduate Assistant Curators: 

Stephanie Amarante:

Vilmarys Figueroa:

Keishla Marrero:

Jonathan Morales:

Marimar Morales:

Axuel Negron;

KevinRamirez:

Victor Ramos:

Wilmarilys Ramos:

Kevin Rivera:

Leean Staufenberger:

 

 

Andrea Gomez:

Regina Castejon:

Christopher O. Rojas:

Maureen Canario:

Estefania Medina: