Back in Watamu, Kenya working in a restoration site in nearby Gede Ruins this month! I'm here on the Kenyan coast with two UW Tacoma students, doing fieldwork exploring arthropod and bird diversity in a 2 ha forest restoration site that was planted with indigenous tree species 20 years ago - we're collaborating with local ornithologists and forestry experts to try to determine the link between forest regeneration and biological diversity. To that end, we'll be spending the next few weeks capturing and classifying arthropods and birds in the restoration site and nearby old growth coastal forest - as well as some farmsteads adjacent to the forest. We're particularly interested in the broader impacts of how restoring degraded landscapes can contrbute to ecological services such as pollination and biological control, overall species diversity, and carbon sequestration. Given that many local villagers depend on a variety of forest products for their livelihoods (in a region where the mean monthly income is roughly equivalent to $40USD), this study may have far-reaching implications for the local community. More updates to come as we dig into the fieldwork!
I'm the Director of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center (UROC) at California State University, Monterey Bay. Prior to that, I was at the University of Washington, Tacoma campus for 16 years, where I was a Professor in the Environmental Science program and also served as the Director of the Office of International Programs as well as Director of Undergraduate Education for a few years. Trained as an ecologist, I'm interested in various aspects of global conservation and agricultural production - my field research often takes me and my students to interesting places to explore various aspects of these two issues.