I am an interdisciplinary environmental scientist broadly interested in relationships between people and the landscapes they manage. My work focuses on feedbacks among land-use, biodiversity, and human well-being; and on the role of human social and cultural organization in structuring patterns of biodiversity. I am also interested in understanding broad-scale patterns in human linguistic and cultural diversity, and the forces that foster or constrain diversity in languages and human social groups.
I combine a number of fields in my work, including approaches from macroecology, evolutionary biology, ecological anthropology, ethnoecology, and human geography. My research to date has produced both peer-reviewed publications and community-led conservation and research projects. Much of my recent work has been carried out in collaboration with shifting cultivators in the lowland rainforests of eastern Panama. I have also worked as a field researcher in northwestern Costa Rica, Brazil’s Xingu basin, and the subarctic, boreal, and west coast regions of Canada.
I am currently a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany. When in Canada, I am based in the spatial ecology lab of the University of Toronto’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. I earned my PhD at the University of British Columbia, and my MSc through the joint McGill University–Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute NEO program.
My research has been funded by the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, National Science Foundation, Killam Trusts, Organization of American States, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and International Development Research Centre of Canada.