I study the relationships between people and nature using two primary approaches:
Second-Order Science – Evidence Synthesis and Predictive Modelling of Regulating and Supporting Ecosystem Services. Ecosystem services are the benefits that humans derive from natural or semi-natural ecosystem (‘nature’) processes and functions which support life (e.g., because ecosystems produce air, water, and food) security (e.g., by mitigating extreme weather events), and well-being (e.g., by supporting mental and physical health, cultural identity, spirituality, recreation).
Human Dimensions of Fish and Wildlife Management and Conservation. Investigating the sociology of evidence (i.e. science, knowledge, information) use in conservation and management decisions, policies, and practices.
PhD: Evidence Use in Freshwater Fisheries Management
Fish and wildlife managers are faced with the daunting task of making informed and sensible decisions in the face of conflicting objectives and rapid environmental change. Employing semi-structured interviews and cognitive mapping (mental representations) we aim to identify the challenges and opportunities which limit or assist evidence (e.g. scientific, indigenous and local knowledge) in impacting and improving conservation and management decisions, policies, and practices of British Columbia’s (BC) fish and wildlife. This exploratory, descriptive research has a particular focus on BC’s freshwater rainbow trout fisheries and conservation genomics – the use of genome-wide information (complete systematic mapping of DNA) to conserve biodiversity and manage species and populations.
MSc: Evaluating and Predicting Pollination Services: A Global Meta-Analysis of Pollinator-Dependent Crops
Since 2011 we have been developing a meta-analysis based on over 85+ studies, 375+ effect sizes, 44 crops, and hundreds of insect species (i.e. beetles, flies, ants, butterflies, moths, and most notably bees) and some humming-birds(!) to investigate two specific questions: (1) what levels of service are delivered by pollinator populations in agroecosystems, as quantified by the effect sizes associated with empirical studies of pollination? and (2) to what extent can we predict the level of pollination service delivered from information about the nature of the pollinator community, the crops under cultivation, or the particulars of the study design in which effect sizes were estimated? *Manuscript in preparation*
MSc: The Relationship Between Environmental Science and Ecological Economics Research Effort on Ecosystem Services
Do economists focus on ecosystems and their associated services for which current scientific knowledge permits some level of prediction about the level of contributing ecosystem functions; and do environmental scientists focus their research activities on ecosystems and their associated services for which economic valuation tools exist and can be applied? In this bibliometrics review we assess the relationship between the effort expended by environmental scientists and ecological economists on different ecosystem types and regulating and supporting services using hits in abstract and citation databases as a measure of research effort. *Manuscript in preparation*
MSc: Crop Yield and Ecosystem Service Tradeoffs of Agricultural Best Management Practices
Agricultural “best management practices” (BMPs) have emerged to mitigate agro-environmental resource challenges but may also enhance non-provisioning (i.e. non-food) ecosystem services. The enthusiasm for adopting BMPs will depend on evidence that doing so will lead to agro-environmental benefits while not substantially reducing crop productivity or farmer income. So, what is the prevalence of co-costs, tradeoffs, and co-benefits between crop yield and ecosystem service provisioning associated with implementation of BMPs? We survey and synthesize the existing literature between 1983-2016 to document their prevalence.
MSc: Evaluating and Predicting the Water-Flow Regulation Services of Wetlands: A Global Meta-Analysis
One of the most cited wetland ecosystem services is their impact on flow regimes, specifically their potential to reduce flood peaks and increase flood return period, augment low flows, and reduce runoff and streamflow. In this meta-analytic review we addressed two specific questions:
(1) what is the level of flow regulation services provided by wetlands as measured by effect size (an index that measures the magnitude of a treatment)? and (2) to what extent can we predict the level of flow regulation service?
The Next Frontier: Future Research Interests
Unsurprisingly, much of the current biological/pest control literature has focused on regulating crop pests. However, humans may benefit from other trophic cascades directly or indirectly, so-called socio-ecological cascades. Large carnivores (e.g. wolves, bears, cougars, otters) and other top predators suppress prey which may support human life (e.g. by reducing crop, forestry, fishery loss and damage) and security (e.g. by reducing vehicle collisions and vector-borne diseases). These relationships remain poorly understood – scientific literature and expert knowledge is often conflicting. I aspire to develop a systematic map to scope and organize the existing evidence (i.e. a subject-wide evidence synthesis) with complimentary empirical data collection. The empirical component could consist of a survey of wildlife managers and stakeholders using Likert-style responses as endpoints and biophysical and socio-economic attributes as predictor variables in statistical models.