|Title||Post-Doctoral Research Associate|
I am interested in the ecology of ants within natural and agricultural landscapes. Ants are ubiquitous features of terrestrial ecosystems and play important functional roles within ecosystems including: acting as biocontrol agents, forming mutualisms with plant pests, and impacting soil movement and nutrient content. My research aims to explore the role of ants within these ecosystems, specifically as predators of pest/beneficial insects and soil movers. As a postdoctoral research associate, I am currently cataloging and identifying ants from prior sampling. In the spring of 2014, I will also be examining the impact of ant suppression on pest control within bioenergy cropping systems. Ultimately, this work will explore the impact of biofuel crop production and accompanying landscape changes on biodiversity and ecosystem services. This research is conducted through The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, a multi-institutional collaboration investigating the environmental sustainability of producing fuel from plants.
My PhD research was completed at the University of Illinois and explored how ecology influences phenotypic variation in two invasive ant species, utilizing a combination of laboratory and field studies. In completing my dissertation, I incorporated undergraduate research assistants wherever possible. My experience as a mentor and instructor has fostered a keen interest in mentoring, teaching, and utilizing hands-on experiences (active learning) to enhance undergraduate education. I believe rigorous courses centered on active, engaging, and thought provoking learning experiences are essential to higher level learning and develop a student’s character.
I am originally from California and graduated with a B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity from the University of California, Davis.