|Title||Graduate Student, PhD|
After receiving a BS in Fisheries and Wildlife Management at Michigan State in 2008, I spent six years away from Michigan completing an MS at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and working for an ecological consulting firm in California. Now I am pleased to be back at MSU as a PhD student in the Landis Lab!
I am motivated by a desire to help create landscapes that support rich ecological communities alongside productive human activities. Most of my previous work has focused on the conservation of rare species of reptiles and amphibians. Because agricultural intensification is recognized as both the only hope to feed the growing global population and the greatest contributor to the biodiversity crisis, I consider agroecology a major "front line" of conservation biology. For this reason I have extracted myself from my beloved froggy swamps to work with insects in agroecosystems. I will focus on finding win-win situations between agricultural production and biodiversity conservation by first focusing my research on perhaps the most iconic insect species—the monarch butterfly. Monarchs have long served as model organisms for studies of chemical ecology, plant-insect interactions, evolution, and migration. As monarch populations decline, however, they are now becoming a symbol for species conservation and an opportunity to study methods to simultaneously manage agricultural landscapes for productivity and biodiversity. I hope that by learning more about the ecology of monarchs in agricultural landscapes and identifying drivers of their declines I can help to develop management strategies to conserve not only monarch butterflies but also other imperiled species within human-managed systems.
Stay tuned for more details!