I endeavor to understand how plant-insect interactions shape the natural world around us. I focus on applied systems and in particular, I examine how natural areas or habitat restorations provide ecosystem services to agriculture using on-the-ground sampling and remote sensing.
Agriculture covers over 40% of the world’s terrestrial surface and this area is only increasing. While the global food system has many problems, the loss of ecosystem services from the destruction or conversion of natural habitat is arguably the next major threat to food production and the livelihoods of the millions of smallholder farmers around the world.
For my dissertation, I am exploring how natural habitat provides pollination services to cacao farmers in Ecuador and how restoration plantings of flowering shrubs and trees (hedgerows) in the Central Valley of California support populations of native, crop-pollinating bees.