I am a PhD Candidate and Course Instructor in the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences at the University of Toronto-Scarborough (UTSC), co-supervised by Dr. Marc Cadotte and Dr. Marney Isaac. I began my PhD in 2012 after completing my BSc.(Hons) in Environmental Science at the University of Toronto-St. George. My research interests span the fields of environmental science, invasion ecology, social science, and conservation biology. I’m interested in examining the biophysical relationships that underpin the delivery of critical ecosystem services and also how cultural perceptions and conservation management practices act to maintain ecological integrity.
In 2015 & 2016, I decided to further develop my teaching skills as a course instructor for Professional Scientific Literacy and Conservation Policy in DPES’s Professional Masters of Environmental Science program. Teaching Professional Scientific Literacy called upon my broad knowledge base where I developed learning objectives that spanned the subjects of communication skills, statistics, study design and the science-policy interface; all framed in the context of biodiversity and resource conservation. Then, teaching Conservation Policy at UTSC I was able to translate my enthusiasm for subjects such as the ecology and adaptive management of protected areas, managing risk and uncertainty, invasion ecology, ecological integrity and conservation legislation into course learning objectives and assignments.
A large component of my research is focused on the impact of the highly invasive vine Vincetoxicum rossicum (Dog-strangline vine) on ecosystem functionality. I am also studying the effects of a recently approved biological control agent, Hypena opulenta(a noctuid moth), on Vincetoxicum rossicum in highly invaded understory & open field settings. Find a recently published news piece about the project here.
To examine these subjects I am conducting field research throughout southern Ontario, including Ontario’s Rouge Park, soon to be Canada’s first Urban National Park. Such a designation is currently a novel concept where priorities for biodiversity protection, public usage and engagement, agricultural production, and ecological restoration must all be negotiated and integrated into long-term park objectives. As such, Rouge National Park is set to become a highly contested landscape where differential perceptions of ecological integrity and the urban environment will be thrust into national environmental discourse.