My curiosity about plant and animal interactions, as well as my natural scientific curiosity, is what led me to pursue research in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. My research interests are focused on conservation efforts, environmental assessment, and all things insect related.
My MSc position with Andrew MacDougall has given me the opportunity to delve deeper into my insect interests and ask the question: how do restored prairies on agricultural landscapes affect arthropod community structure? Our labs' research focuses on how we can reduce effects of intensive agriculture through "precision agriculture"; a strategy that includes conversion of marginal lands (i.e., unproductive lands on farms) to native species-rich prairie grassland. This conservation strategy seeks to reduce problems of food security while being a sustainable farm practice that is compatible with wildlife. My research specifically deals with arthropods which link these two issues (conservation and food security) given their abundance, diversity, and role as providers of ecosystem services. We are voicing the benefits available to producers of enhancing biodiveristy.
In collaboration with ALUS, my project will investigate how restored prairie grassland areas adjacent to crop fields affect the abundance and diversity of beneficial insect functional groups (pollinators, parasitoids, predators) that provide vital ecosystem services.