Kenneth Feeley

Assoc. Professor

(305) 284-5748
Locator Code:


Research Interests

I study the ecology and biogeography of tropical forests. Specifically, my research is focused on how the structure, dynamics, composition, and geographic distribution of tropical forests (and their constituent tree species) are affected by large-scale anthropogenic disturbances such as climate change, deforestation, and habitat fragmentation. This research integrates disparate disciplines of ecology, is conducted across a range of spatial scales, and requires a broad knowledge of both natural history and advanced empirical modeling techniques. A principle motivation for my research is to understand the implications of human activities for biodiversity and ecosystem services and to use this knowledge to help inform management and conservation strategies.


2005Ph.D. Biology, Duke University
1998B.S. Biology, Wake Forest University

Professional Experience

2017 - Associate Professor & Smathers Chair in Tropical Trees, Department of Biology, The University of Miami
2009 - Research Associate, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
2015 - 2017Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University
2009 - 2015Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University
2007 - 2009Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Andes Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group
2005 - 2007Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Center for Tropical Forest Science, Harvard University Arnold Arboretum

Honors & Acknowledgements

2018-2023, National Science Foundation "A natural laboratory for studying biodiversity, ecosystem function, and responses to climate change from Amazonian lowlands to Andean treeline"
2019-2020, University of Miami Graduate School award for “Faculty Mentor of the Year”.
2019-2020, University of Miami ABESS Center’s Faculty Fellow.
2019, University of Miami Provost’s Research Award.
2016, Fulbright International Research Scholar – Colombia
2016, Florida International University College of Arts and Sciences’ award for “Excellence in Research"
2016, Florida International University Faculty Senate’s award “Excellence in Advising & Mentorship”
2015, Florida International University award for “Top Scholar”
2015, Florida International University Faculty Senate’s award for “Excellence in Research”.
2014-2019, National Science Foundation CAREER Award “ Measuring the thermal tolerances of individuals, populations, and species and predicting plant species’ responses to climate change in the tropical Andes”
2013-2017, National Science Foundation “ Understanding range limits and plant migration in response to climate change in neotropical montane forests: moving from observational models to mechanisms”
2013-2015, USAID “Strengthening local capacity for prioritizing conservation research and action in the Colombian Andean-Amazon: A networked approach”
2010-2015, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden “Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Conservation”
2012-2013, National Geographic Society “Horizontal refugia and the effects of climate change on plant distributions in the Peruvian Andes”

LIST OF SPECIALTIES: Tropical Biology | Global Change Biology | Community Ecology | Conservation Biology


Duque A, Peña MA, Cuesta F, González-Caro S, Kennedy P, Phillips OL, Calderón-Loor M, Blundo C, Carilla J, Cayola L, Farfán-Ríos W, Fuentes A, Grau R, Homeier J, Loza-Rivera MI, Malhi Y, Malizia A, Malizia L, Martínez-Villa JA, Myers JA, Osinaga-Acosta O, Peralvo M, Pinto E, Saatchi S, Silman M, Tello JS, Terán-Valdez A, and Feeley KJ Nature Communications Mature Andean forests as globally important carbon sinks and future carbon refuges213812 (2021).

Feeley KJ, Bravo C, Fadrique B, Perez T, and Zuleta D Nature Climate Change Climate-driven changes in the composition of New World plant communities965–97010 (2020).

Perez TM, Stroud JT, and Feeley KJ "Thermal trouble in the tropics" 1392-3351 (Science. 2016).

Rehm, EM and Feeley KJ "Seedling transplants reveal species-specific responses of high-elevation tropical treeline trees to climate change" 1233-42181(4) (Oecologia. 2016).