Russell Labs 545
Current Research: My research focuses on the mechanism through which a spring flood provides insect pest suppression in commercial cranberries. More specifically, I am looking at how detritus and detritivore removal on the marsh affects the community dynamics between predators, herbivores, and detritivores, and how this may increase the potential for biological control. I suggest that when a grower uses a spring flood instead of a spring pesticide application, this allows predator populations to thrive, which throughout the summer drives down populations of both detritivores and cranberry pests. Additionally, the decreased abundance of detritivores due to the flooding event, an alternate prey species, is expected to increase predator consumption of pest species.
Background: I grew up in Michigan and completed a BA in Biology from Alma College in 2006. During the intervening years I have: worked on a variety of diversified farming systems across the US and Europe, worked as a camp counselor and naturalist at an outdoor school in California, trapped butterflies and dung beetles as part of a biodiversity inventory in Venezuela, and run an organic garden at the University of Michigan Biological Station to provide food for the cafeteria and an educational opportunity for students, faculty and staff. I’m excited to be back in school now, and am looking forward to a career at the interface between agricultural research and education.