Mariana Cárdenas

I am a biologist born in Venezuela and raised in Colombia. I got my undergraduate degree in Biology at the Universidad del Valle (Cali, Colombia). Then, I was part of the Young and Innovator Researchers program, awarded by the Colombian Science and Technology Administrative Department, in which I implemented a strategy for monitoring air pollution using lichenized fungi as bioindicators in Cali (Colombia). After that, I joined the graduate program in Ecology at Universidad Central de Venezuela (Venezuela) as MSc student, where I developed my master thesis “Effects of ecosystem engineers on lichen communities of the highland environments in Venezuela: an overview from community ecology, functional ecology and interaction networks”. While I developed my MSc studies, I was part of the Venezuelan Lichenologists Group, working on the use of lichens as bioindicators in several Venezuelan cities. Last two years I’ve been working as a researcher at the Environmental and Ecological Sciences Institute of Universidad de Los Andes (Venezuela), where I focused my research on the study of lichens in high tropical environments and their colonization after glacier retreat in the last Venezuelan glacier. Now, I will be joining the UMN as a Ph.D. student at the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, and I hope to focus my research on the study of the variation of lichen functional traits on primary succession scenarios in the context of climate change.