Think Like the Scientist: Ariel Lugo
Meet the Scientist | About the Study

Ariel Lugo, Ecologist
USDA Forest Service scientist
Paulette For on the beach

I am currently conducting research on novel forests - that is, forests that contain both native and non-native plants and animals.

Example of a simple research question I have tried to answer

Why do mangrove trees that live in seawater along dry coastlines decline in size from the ocean to the land?

Most Exciting Discovery

I was very excited by the realization that native and introduced species are mixing and self-organizing to form new communities, called novel ecosystems. These novel communities function normally and could represent the ecosystems of the future in response to the activities of people.

When did you know you wanted to be a scientist?

I wanted to study science since sixth grade when I learned about fossils. My desire to be a scientist developed after I graduated from college and spent a summer working with real scientists in the rain forest. Experiments in the rain forest were fun and I could learn a lot.

Dr. Ariel Lugo, Ecologist

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  • Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • I am a tropical ecologist, and I study forests, wetlands, and cities in the tropics.