I come from the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, where the mountains are short and dry. I have a degree in computer science from Arizona State University and I love writing code, as well as thinking about how to use graphics to visualize ecological patterns. My interests range from large scale patterns of variation in plant form and function to small scale questions of coexistence and persistence, mainly in the context of forests. My interest in functional traits comes from wanting to understand which properties of organisms we should measure to quantify performance against a background of biotic and abiotic variability. I think a common opinion in this course will be that understanding how organisms respond to variability is a primary goal for understanding how climate change will affect biodiversity. My goals for this course include gaining experience doing international field work, tropical field work, using specialized machinery for measuring ecosystem traits (Carbon flux team!) and interacting with a diverse group of students and instructors. Frequent hiking and exploration. I’ll know I have met these goals if I survive the week or so at Wayqecha since each of these things is definitely on my plate (as well as a fair bit of cold and darkness). Quite honestly the major point of excitement for me is the opportunity to explore a completely new set of ecological communities–both informally through exploration and formally through a research project developed with my team members.