Associate Professor of Biology
Professor Machado is an expert in plant physiological ecology at the organism, population, and community level. His research focuses on understanding the processes controlling the structure and dynamics of temperate and tropical forest communities. It is based on how species-specific variation in growth, survival, reproduction, morphology, and physiology, are influenced by the physical environment and by interactions with other individuals.
His research requires a broad understanding of ecological processes such as carbon, water, and nutrient cycling, light use, above and belowground productivity, biodiversity, and their associated feedback mechanisms. Dr. Machado's research approach is broadly comparative, using experimental and analytical methods for integrating physiological and ecological processes across individuals, communities, and ecosystems.
Dr. Machado's recent work challenged one of the long-held laws of nature that all living organisms, whether a microbe, mouse, or redwood tree follow a simple mathematical rule that predicts a constant decline in metabolic rate with increasing body size. His research in the emerging field of metabolic ecology showed evidence that plants follow a different law to that operating in animals. In plants, the central constrain to metabolism arises from biochemistry and not simply body size. The work has stirred some controversy as noted in The Scientist magazine: http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23012/.
He received his B.S. from the Universidad de Los Andes (Bogota, Colombia), his M.S. from the University of Vermont, and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.