Yale's Liza Comita wins British Ecological Society prize

Scientist kneeling on a forest floor near a flag-marked area.
Liza Comita transplants seedlings in a central Panama forest as part of a field experiment examining the effects of drought on tropical tree seedlings.

Liza Comita, assistant professor of tropical forest ecology at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, has been honored with the Founders’ Prize by the British Ecological Society (BES), the oldest ecological society in the world. Comita will be presented with the award at the annual joint meeting of BES and three other European ecological organizations to be held Dec. 11-14, 2017 in Ghent, Belgium. 

The BES Founders’ Prize recognizes “an outstanding early career ecologist who is starting to make a significant contribution to the science of ecology.” This prize supports work that advances the mission of the BES, which is “to generate, communicate and promote ecological knowledge and solutions.”

Comita’s research focuses on the ecology of tropical tree species, specifically how spatial and temporal variation in survival at early life-stages affects diversity and abundance of species in tropical forests. She is currently studying the role of pathogens in promoting diversity in tropical tree communities, as well as the effect of water availability and drought events on current and future tree species distributions in the tropics.

The Yale scientist has a secondary appointment in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and she is an active mentor in the Women in Science at Yale program, for which she won the Yale Postdoctoral Mentoring Prize in 2016.

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