About Sandra M

The fundamental goal of my research is to understand how human-caused disturbances and climate change affect the abundance and distribution of plant communities, and how changes in plant traits affect ecosystem processes and function. Specifically, my work focuses on developing new methods and elaborating theory for how functional traits can be used to “scale up” from individual to communities and ecosystems. To address these questions, I take an integrative approach to ecological research by incorporating field work, statistical modeling, tools such as geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing. Thus, my research is interdisciplinary, and draws upon various fields including ecosystem ecology, plant physiology, vegetation spectroscopy and earth system science. Visit our lab website to find out information on our recent projects along our three research themes: trait-based ecology, remote sensing of ecology, and ecosystem function.

Website Google Scholar Profile CV


  • Trait-based ecology
  • Carbon cycling
  • Remote sensing of plant biodiversity
  • Tropical forests
  • Rangelands and Forest ecosystems
  • Global change ecology


Ph.D, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences - University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, 2015

M.Sc., Natural Resources Management - University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Canada, 2009

B.Sc., Biology - Universidad del Valle
Cali, Colombia, 2001


  • Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation
  • American Geophysical Union
  • Ecological Society of America