I am a graduate student in the UC Davis Graduate Group in Ecology, where I study methods of ecological forecasting. At Davis I am part of the Hastings Lab, the IGERT in Responding to Rapid Environmental Change, and the Forest Biology Research Center.
I am interested in problems related to forecasting ecological changes and using this information to inform economic decision making. In particular, I am interested in rapid state shifts in ecosystems in response to small environmental disturbances. Rapid changes in ecosystem state can have dramatic changes in human well-being, and also provide insight into ecological processes.
I also have an interest in the intersection of ecology and business. In a previous life I was a corporate management and sustainability consultant. There’s a tremendous culture gap between ecologists and businesspeople, but there are opportunities for both through collaboration in markets for ecosystem services and ecological technologies.
More about me on my CV.
- Nonlinear Dynamics in Forests: Recently there has been a lot of interest in “early warning signals” in ecosystem management. These warning signals purport to detect the onset of rapid, nonlinear changes (“regime shifts”) in ecosystems, even if little of the underlying ecology is well-understood. However, these methods have theoretical limitations - they will only work under certain conditions. Also, they have only been measured in a few real-world ecosystems. I am interested in finding ways to better characterize these regime shifts in order to improve the skill, and understand the limits, of forecasts. I work on forest systems, which are subject to sudden die-offs due to climate change and pest outbreaks. I am interested in both current forest die-offs and events that we find in the paleontological record.
- Trade-offs and Synergies in Floodplain Restoration: Much of California used to be a seasonal floodplain, but damming and levees have greatly reduced the extent of floodplain ecosystems in order to allow settlement and economic growth. Now, floodplains are being restored for both ecological and safety reasons. My NSF-funded IGERT team, is looking at trade-offs in floodplain restoration through both hydraulic-ecological modeling and historical analysis. More about this project here
- Land-Use and Climate effects on Soil Organic Carbon: My undergraduate thesis research was on carbon storage in permafrost soils in Mongolia. Read more about this work here
This blog is mostly an open lab notebook, a record of my ongoing research efforts and a place to do collaborative research. Not everything will be polished or generally accessible. That said, I also plan to post items here of general interest, under the “general interest” tag. I may separate that out onto a separate page or blog.