I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Course Instructor at the University of Toronto-Scarborough (UTSC). I recently completed my PhD in 2017 in the Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences at UTSC under the supervision of Dr. Marc Cadotte and Dr. Marney Isaac. My research interests span the fields of environmental science & policy, invasion ecology & biodiversity conservation. Specifically, i’m interested in the biophysical relationships that underpin the delivery of ecosystem services and how conservation policy and management practices act to maintain ecological integrity.
In 2015, I became a Course Instructor for Professional Scientific Literacy and Conservation Policy in the Professional Masters of Environmental Science program in the Department of Physical & Environmental Science at UTSC. 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 Rouge National Urban Park. The Rouge valley ecosystem is a fascinating place to work. As Canada’s first National Urban Park 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.