I have had a lifelong passion for conservation and ecology. I grew up in Northern California, where I hiked often and explored the natural world around me. I decided early on in my studies to focus on ecology, and graduated in 2008 from the University of California, Davis with a degree in Biology, emphasis in Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity. I am currently working on my PhD in the Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Department at Texas A&M University.
I am thrilled to be a part of the Applied Biodiversity Science (ABS) program at Texas A&M University. This program embodies the elements of importance to me in a graduate program; ABS challenges students to take an in-depth research perspective into ecology and conservation science, utilizing both social and natural science theories and concepts. I came to appreciate the importance of the human dimension in conservation efforts while working with agricultural landowners in California and Costa Rica; and this perspective has complimented my ecological background. The collaboration between social and natural science students and professors provides me with a unique tool set that allows for a comprehensive understanding of conservation and ecological research.
My past research focused on ecological and conservation issues in small mammal ecology and movement through agroforestry corridors in Costa Rica, vernal pool plant population dynamics in restored California landscapes, and small mammal zoonotic disease transmission in intensive farming. My future thesis research will focus on mammalian population dynamics through habitat use and selection within areas of varying agricultural intensification and land use practice strategies in montane growing regions in Northern Panama and Southern Costa Rica. I am intrigued by the dynamics of how human managed landscapes can significantly alter habitat use and selection, specifically within agricultural areas. A large amount of land in Panama and Costa Rica is under some form of agriculture, and because of this, mammal population dynamics within agriculture areas need to be addressed to best understand the diversity, conservation potential and land use practice recommendations. The ABS program allows me to focus on the ecology of this system, while also guiding me on how human land use decisions have driven land use change in the area. I am excited for the opportunity to collaborate with other students working in Panama on community-based agricultural conservation so as to understand conservation in this system from a variety of perspectives.