Uma has been interested in the science of natural disasters since Hurricane Katrina hit her hometown of New Orleansm LA. Since then, she has worked in disturbed environments in South Carolina, Puerto Rico, and Alaska. Currently, she is a PhD candidate at the University of Georgia (USA) investigating how severe tornadoes can alter the relationships between tree seedlings and soil organisms. She uses a combination of greenhouse and field experiments to investigate plant-soil relationships in both intact and wind-damaged southern Appalachian forests. As strong disturbances become more frequent with climate change, it becomes more important for us to examine how ecological processes respond to abrupt environmental changes such as tornadoes, hurricanes and fires.
Uma is also invested in improving science outreach and communication, particularly through collaborations with artists. She is a regular contributor the the Athens Science Observer, graphic designer for the Athens Science Cafe, as well as 2014 winner of the Dance Your PhD contest. She has performed science-inspired aerial dance at the 2015 Atlanta Science Festival and in Athens, Georgia. When not crawling over downed trees in North Georgia, Uma enjoys aerial circus arts, playing the mandolin, and drawing webcomics.
Connect with her on twitter (@atinytornado) or via her research website.