PJ Torres is a Ph.D. Candidate in Ecology in the Odum School of Ecology at The University of Georgia (currently scheduling a defense date for September). He received his Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Puerto Rico in Environmental Science. His dissertation research looks at the effect of large dams on ecosystem processes in small streams across the island of Puerto Rico, his homeland. Large dams act as migration barriers to the native streams and river fauna, particularly for freshwater shrimp assemblages. In many cases, shrimp are unable to reach streams located above large dams resulting in their complete extirpation from those areas. PJ’s research found that in the absence of shrimp, these affected streams show decreased rates of organic matter processing, and altered seasonal patterns in nutrient cycling across the ecosystem.
Pedro has been a teaching assistant in the Odum School of Ecology having taught the lab portion of their Ecology, and Ecological Basis of Environmental Issues courses. He has also been a teaching assistant during two summers for the Tropical Ecology and Evolution Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) program of the University of Puerto Rico based at El Verde Field Station. Mentoring is an important part of PJ’s work. He has mentored many undergraduate students in their independent research at El Verde and is also actively involved as a mentor of the INSTARS program of the Society for Freshwater Science. INSTARS is a mentoring program during the society’s annual meeting that provides help to undergraduate students from underrepresented groups who are interested in the study of freshwater systems.
Here in Denison he will be teaching in the Biology Department. This fall ('15) he is teaching “Use and Abuse of Freshwaters” which will focus on current freshwater issues and their biological consequences or causes, covering topics from life histories of aquatic organisms and how these are affected by local pollution, to global scale water conservation issues. In the spring semester he’ll be teaching the Introductory Ecology and Evolution course.