My PhD research focuses on two categories:
1. Evolutionary ecology in farmed or human managed systems, particularly relating to pest control and resistance evolution. I explore how human harvest and management have multitrophic effects with evolutionary consequences. Not only is the evolutionary pressure on individual target species altered due to human harvest/management, but the evolutionary effects of species on each other also change in a changed ecology. Sometimes these multitrophic evolutionary effects help us, and may function as Ecosystem Services. Sometimes they may behave in unexpected ways with system switch characteristics. I’m currently focusing on the role of ecological interactions for pest control and pesticide resistance evolution in terrestrial systems.
2. Mapping certain ecosystem impacts from agriculture on a useful global scale. This project is a semi-quantitative, semi-spatial, structured meta-analysis of ecosystem impact data coupled with agronomic data worldwide. Grocery stores and consumers make decisions every day that are arbitrary or based on certification schemes that rarely reflect the true environmental cost of production. While life-cycle assessments of agricultural products provide great detail, they can be too specific for wide relevance, and lack important ecosystem impact metrics. This project is a semi-quantitative, semi-spatial, structured meta-analysis of ecosystem impact data coupled with agronomic data worldwide. The goal is to hit a “goldilocks” scale where results are digestible for large retail chains but also scientifically defensible for the crops and impacts chosen.
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