I am interested in multitrophic interactions involving primary producers, herbivores, and predators with equal emphasis on “bottom-up” plant effects and “top-down” effects by predators. My goal is to ask basic ecological questions while retaining real-world applications to my research. I am therefore planning on examining these interactions within field crop agroecosystems and in the context of natural enemy suppression of pest insect populations. I want to look at plant-mediated effects on the herbivore and predator communities, perhaps through intraspecific plant diversity. On the other side of the trophic web, I am interested in how the specific identity of the predator community affects herbivores and if they have cascading effects on the plants. Increased awareness of biological control and purposeful management of natural enemies could reduce pesticide applications in agriculture. This could in turn minimize costs to the famer, human health, and environmental health.
As a self-proclaimed career entomologist, I want to share my love of insects with younger generations. I believe that insects are the perfect catalyst for getting children interested in science and connected with nature. In my free time, I like to fish, bike, camp, or anything that gets me outside period. I also like all things food.