My research focuses on mechanisms shaping tropical ectotherm communities and how they are going to be affected by climate change. I investigate these topics using phoretic mites as a study system. These are small arachnid arthropods that live on plants and use other organisms such as hummingbirds, insects, and bats for dispersal among plants. During my masters, which I also completed in UConn's EEB department, I focused on hummingbird flower mites and their interactions with Neotropical gingers (Zingiberales) and the hummingbirds that pollinated these plants. This specific group of mites lives in flowers pollinated by hummingbirds and also hitchhikes on hummingbirds' beaks to move from one plant to the next. My project focused on using DNA barcoding methods combined with video recordings of hummingbird visits to plants, to identify new species of flower mites in a lowland tropical rainforest site in Costa Rica (La Selva Biological Station), and reconstruct interactions among mites, plants and hummingbirds. In my PhD, I am expanding my research to include mites that are phoretic (i.e. hitchhike) on beetles that feed on Zingiberales plants, as well as mites that live in bat and moth pollinated flowers. I will additionally investigate how rising temperatures are going to affect these mite communities, and their interactions with their carrier organisms and the plants. This research will involve working along an elevational gradients in Costa Rica, and modeling how rising temperatures might affect tropical arthropod communities at different elevations.