Paola Olaya-Arenas | Field Projects International

Paola Olaya-Arenas

Field Course Instructor

Paola is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Entomology at Purdue University. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in botany from Universidad del Valle, Colombia, and earned a master’s degree in ecology from University of Puerto Rico. Paola is supported by a Ph.D. fellowship from the Colombian government (Colciencias). Much of her prior research expertise is related to plant ecology, conservation, and restoration in tropical forests (Olaya-Arenas et al. 2011; Garcia, Melendez-Ackerman, Olaya-Arenas et al. 2014), but she also has been involved in entomological research, collecting and surveying arthropods on Mona Island and at El Verde field station, Puerto Rico.

Paola has experience conducting fieldwork in both cloud forest and rainforest, which she gained while working with Fundación Ecoandina/Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Colombia, and Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) in Puerto Rico. She also has taught biology and chemistry as a professor at university and high school levels in Puerto Rico and Colombia. Her current dissertation research project is evaluating the non-target effects of neonicotinoids on milkweed and their associated insects.


Olaya-Arenas P., E.J. Melendez-Ackerman, M.E. Pérez and R. Tremblay. 2011. Demographic response by a small epiphytic orchid. American Journal of Botany 98(12): 1–10.

Juan G. García Cancel, Elvia J. Meléndez-Ackerman, Paola Olaya-Arenas, Amelia Merced, Nadia P. Flores, and Raymond L. Trembla. 2014. Associations between Lepanthes rupestris Orchids and Bryophyte Presence in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico. Caribbean Naturalist, No. 6: 1–14.

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