I am a rangeland ecologist with the Rangeland Analysis Platform at the University of Montana. My work uses new remote sensing tools to estimate changes in grassland and rangeland vegetation composition and production across the western United States. I am looking for career opportunities that combine my passion for natural history, ecological research, environmental education and conservation. Find a link to my academic CV here.
PhD in Ecology, 2017
Utah State University
MS in Biology, 2011
Sonoma State University
BA in Biology, 2005
Community science projects are a powerful way for local stakeholders and students of all ages to get involved directly in monitoring the environment and biodiversity around them. I believe, well designed community science projects have the potential to revolutionize ecology and environmental science by connected users around the world and bridging the gap between the interested public and research scientists. In recent years, I have been a dedicated contributor and promoter of iNaturalist and eBird.
I got hooked on iNaturalist during a 2017 Bioblitz of the Amargosa River organized by the Nature Conservancy. Since then I have been an enthusiastic contributor and promoter of iNaturalist. Here I summarise my contributions to and work to promote iNaturalist in the UCLA community:
I am a trip leader and adviser for the Bruin Naturalist Club which provides undergraduates of all majors at UCLA opportunities to explore nature in Southern California. In each of these trips we introduce students to iNaturalist and show them how to document the plants and animals they find. Recently I’ve helped with inlcude:
I have been an avid birder since participating in the Point Reyes Christmas Bird Count in 2005. Since then I have contributed hundreds of checklists to eBird (link to profile). At UCLA, I have worked to document the birds on campus (96 species so far). In 2017, I helped M.S. student Samuel Bressler start the UCLA Birding club and Audubon Chapter (featured in the Daily Bruin). I lead weekly birdwatching trips on campus and regular weekend trips with the birding club to hotspots around Southern California.
I mentor undergraduate researchers, teach hands-on computing and statistical analysis workshops in R, and lead natural history field trips for K-12 students and the general public.
I am currently a faculty advisor for the IoES senior practicum at UCLA. The practicum gives undergraduates a chance to engage in meaningful research aimed at solving real world environmental issues. This winter and spring I am working with seven highly motivated undergraduates in evaluating native seed sources and restoration opportunities in the Los Angeles Basin.
I am trained instructor for The Carpentries. In spring of 20218, I led a Software Carpentry workshop for the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at UCLA UCLA EEB 2018-4-7. Our workshop focused on teaching the basics of the unix shell, git and github for coding collaboration and R for data analysis, data visualization and GIS.
I have a deep commitment to teaching ecology and natural history to the general public and to K-12 students. From 2009 to 2010 I volunteered as Vice President and led environmental education and birdwatching field trips for elementary school students for San Francisco Nature Education. While working in the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy I served as a mentor for the LINC Program which provides summer-long work and education experiences for highschool students within Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
I lead weekly birdwatching field trips on campus for the UCLA Bruin Audubon Society (recently featured in the Daily Bruin). I also have been involved as a board member and trip leader for the UCLA Bruin Naturalist Club.
Throughout my career I have mentored many exceptional undergraduate research projects. I am currently working with a talented undergraduate at UCLA on a study of annual plant functional ecology and how increased night time temperatures may affect the growth rates of annual plants native to coastal California grasslands.
One of the highlights of my career was working with undergraduates at Utah State University during my PhD. One of my undergraduate mentees, Nicole Pendleton, was an author on a recent paper from the Adler lab on how ‘snow-molds’ (subniveal fungal pathogens) affect cheatgrass population growth rates. Her experiments as a summer REU ended up being instrumental to showing snowmold was a likely cause of higher cheatgrass mortality in heavy snowpacks.
While a M.S. student, I taught lab sections for Biol. 110: “Biological Inquiry” and Biol. 121: “Diversity Structure and Function” for the Department of Biology at Sonoma State University.
At UCLA, my postdoctoral research has focused on two main projects:
The links below provide more details about these and other ongoing projects.