Lab Members

Paulo Brando
Associate Professor
Phone:  203-432-5937

I am an ecosystem ecologist interested in conservation and management of terrestrial ecosystems for natural climate solutions. My research focuses on quantifying the vulnerability of tropical  ecosystems to global changes and identifying potential solutions for climate change mitigation. My scientific toolbox includes a combination of field-based studies, manipulation experiments, statistical models, and remote sensing techniques. I also also collaborate with a wide range of  research specialists for finding long-term solutions to tropical forest sustainability. I’m particularly interested in collaborating with policy-oriented NGOs (WoodwellClimate and IPAM, in particular) to disseminate scientific findings about land use change and climate change to a wide range of different societal groups.  

CV                          ResearchGate                      Publons                            GoogleScholar

Group members:

Dr. Leandro Maracahipes (Research Scientist)

Dr. Maracahipes is a plant ecologist interested in how plants and ecosystems respond to fire, drought, deforestation, climate change and land use in the tropics. His research  focuses on plant functional traits, including both hydraulic and morphological traits. Currently, he is interested in understanding how the synergy between compound disturbance events and extreme drought events affects tree mortality rates and  forest composition, structure, and functioning in Amazonia and Cerrado.

Website          GoogleScholar

Dr. Andreia Ribeiro (Postdoctoral Fellow) 

Dr. Ribeiro is a postdoctoral fellow at the Land-Climate Dynamics group of ETH since December 2020, under a Brazilian-Swiss joint research project, about climate-related risks in Amazon and Cerrado. The parties involved in this project include the ETH (Sonia Seneviratne), the University of Bern and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ in Leipzig (Jakob Zscheischler), the Amazon Environmental Research Institute – IPAM, Belém, Brazil (Ludmila Rattis) and the Yale University (Paulo Brando). This project aims to address the risks of exceeding the largest climate-related impacts in terms of fire activity using multivariate statistical methods.

Lachlan Byrnes (PhD Student)

I received my undergraduate degree in Honours Ecology from the Universityof British Columbia. While at UBC, I became interested in using plant ecophysiological traits to understand forest disturbance while working in the Michaletz Lab. My work focuses on using ecophysiological traits to explain the changes in structure and function in forest edges. These projects focus on the Amazon-Cerrado region,  along the “Arc of Deforestation”. My current projects look at how plant water-use, access to water, and resource allocation can influence mortality in forest edges and as a result change forest structure and function over time.

Nadav Bendavid (PhD Student)

My research focuses on land-use in the tropics and its effects on regional climate and biogeochemical cycling. Specifically, I am investigating agricultural expansion in the Amazon-Cerrado agricultural frontier and its effects on water, carbon, and energy balances using a combination of field sampling, remote sensing, and micrometeorology. I aim to understand how different agricultural land management approaches can provide climatic services and contribute to better conservation of forested areas. With a background in interdisciplinary geography, I always strive to consider the human dimensions of ecological change alongside the non-human.

Laura Obando (PhD Student)

I am a Colombian biologist interested in analyzing human impacts on ecosystems through LULC from ecological and conservation perspectives. Mainly, I am interested in understanding climatic and socioeconomic phenomena’ role in shaping the dynamics of forest fires and their impacts on the Amazon Forest. 



Skye Hellenkamp (MSc student)

I am a first year Master of Environmental Science student at the Yale School of the Environment. I received my undergraduate degree in Geography from the University of South Alabama where I began researching tropical ecosystems and forest dynamics using remote sensing. I am interested in using these technologies to observe the relationships between forest fragmentation and carbon and water cycling within the Amazon, in order to identify regions where conservation policies and practices should be most focused.

Bela Starinchak (Research Associate)

I am interested in the capacity of natural climate solutions to serve as modes of restoration in tropical ecosystems. I attended Ohio Wesleyan University, where I earned B.A.’s in Biology and Spanish. Then, in 2023, I graduated from James Madison University with my M.S. in Biology, where my research focused on the potential of trees in cattle pastures to capture carbon and restore ecosystem functioning in temperate and dry tropical biomes. For this research, I utilized field inventories, remote sensing, and landowner interviews, and also partnered with local conservation organizations like Yale’s ELTI and Virginia’s CREP. Outside of the lab, I enjoy hiking, rock climbing, and walking my dog, Fig!

Nathalia Potter (Research Associate)

I hold a BSc in Chemistry and Ecology from Pace University, and a MSc in Environmental Science and GIS from the University of New Haven. My passion lies in exploring the land use and land cover (LULC) changes and their impacts on carbon and nutrient cycles. In my previous research, I explored ocean acidification and its carbonate chemistry, and nutrient runoff. Currently I work with CO2 eddy covariance flux data, map editing, data analysis, and the overall management of the team.


Interested in joining the lab? Send me an email ( and check out the Yale School of the Environment website.  Diversity, inclusion, and equity form the core values of the ECOSTRESS lab.









Dr. Maria Uribe (Postdoctoral Fellow).