Lauren Azevedo-Schmidt

Post Doctoral Research Associate, Climate Change Institute



University of Wyoming Laramie, WY
PHD ECOLOGY – August 2022
• Advisor: Dr. Ellen D. Currano

University of Wyoming Laramie, WY
M.S. BOTANY – July 2018
• Advisor: Dr. Ellen D. Currano


Current Research:

I am a community ecologist, primarily focused on plant-insect interactions within fossil and modern ecosystem. Plant fossils and preserved insect herbivory providing a deep-time understanding of how past climate change has influenced these relationships across a variety of forest types. Within this record, the earth experienced higher atmospheric CO2 and temperatures but at a much slower rate than anthropogenic change. In order to compare fossil to modern datasets, I live in the grey area between modern and paleoecology.

My PhD dissertation bridged this gap by used paleobotanical methods within modern forests to understand how similar/dissimilar modern plant-insect interactions are to the geologic record. I found that modern ecosystems experience much higher insect herbivory than the last 67 million years, likely due to various human influences. My postdoctoral research will focus on using both modern and fossil information to understand why fern communities were successful following the K-Pg (Cretaceous-Paleogene) extinction event. Focusing on ground-up processes is incredibly important for understanding the impacts of modern climate change on terrestrial biospheres as plants lay the foundation for environmental stability.