My interest is in understanding human causation of environmental change and applications of this knowledge to the fields of conservation and restoration ecology. With my solid background in social sciences, ecology, and philosophy of science, I address many of the methodological and conceptual challenges to making studies of human-environmental interactions causally relevant. My goal is to use this knowledge to understand how future actions will affect undesirable environmental changes, thereby enhancing conservation and restoration project designs and implementation. My interdisciplinary training and attention to causation provide unique tools for students to use in site analyses, planning, and management in order to prevent the recurrence of problems. I have mostly applied this approach to plant invasions and changes in wetland-plant diversity.
I have conducted research on human-environmental interactions in the United States, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Newfoundland Canada. I have published articles on the causes and management of plant invasions, wetland ecology, concepts in human ecology, and the uses and limitations of local ecological knowledge (knowledge produced outside of the scientific community) in causal studies and ecological restoration.
My teaching emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding environmental problems and restoration design.
Courses to which I will contribute include:
-LA 710: Theories of Landscape Change
-LA 651: Restoration Ecology Workshop
-LA 866: Restoration Ecology Seminar
-LA 920: Graduate Workshop
In addition, I am developing a course titled: “Human-Environmental Interactions”, an introductory course that will allow students to explore how humans use and shape the natural world, and, in turn, how the natural world has shaped human culture and society.
I am a member of the Ecological Society of America, the Society for Ecological Restoration, Society of Wetland Scientists, the Estuarine Research Federation, and the Nordic Society Oikos.