Research

photo credit: Alex Pritz

photo credit: Alex Pritz

General Interests

  • Urban ecology
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Socio-ecological systems and resilience
  • Sustainable resource management
  • Agriculture and food systems
  • Future visioning, participatory science, and sustainability

 

Ongoing and past research projects

2015-present   Postdoctoral Research Associate. National Research Council, National Academies of Science with the US Environmental Protection Agency Western Ecology Division and Visiting Scholar at School of the Environment, Washington State University, Vancouver Campus, WA. Developing maps and statistical models of drivers of phosphorus losses to waterways and their affect on water quality from 1969 to 2012 for the conterminous US.

2015-present   Co-principal investigator, Closing the global phosphorus (P) cycle: a synthesis of human P transport as food and waste products Working group supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)

2014-present  Co-principal investigator, P-FUTURES Towards urban food & water security: Integrating sustainable phosphorus management in urban decision-making and planning as part of Transformations towards sustainabilityfunded transformations towards sustainability seed project by ISSC as part of Future Earth (top 8 out of 99 for full proposals). We are working researchers and stakeholders in Sydney (Australia), Phoenix (USA), Hanoi (Vietnam), and Blantyre (Malawi) to build context specific adaptive capacity and foster cross-city learning in the face of global P challenges and a desire to transform urban landscapes into equitable and healthy food and water secure places.

2015   Visiting postdoctoral scholar, The Changing Phosphorus Landscape: Risks and Opportunities for the Greater Sydney Basin, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, Australia. Developed spatially explicit inventory of recyclable phosphorus supply and agricultural needs in the Greater Sydney Basin to identify risks and opportunities in the area through a series of stakeholder presentations and workshops (Sydney Water Corporation, New South Wales Environmental Protection Authority, and farmers, agronomists and organic waste managers).

2014-2015     Collaborator. Sustainable Future Scenarios for long-term ecological planning, CAP-LTER. Arizona State University, lead by Dr. D Iwaniec.

2012-2017       Co-leader and researcher, Urban Fluxes and Flows Working Group and Green Infrastructure Working Group, under the Urban Sustainability Research Coordination Network, funded by the National Science foundation at ASU, Tempe, AZ

PhD Research (2011-2014)

Although there has been considerable progress in our understanding of the problems caused by human alteration of the phosphorus (P) cycle globally, there remain important gaps, especially in examining the importance of local and regional context in understanding P cycling and solutions, and the role cities can play in more sustainable P management. In order to chose effective solutions to unsustainable P management we need to look for solutions that take into account the general, but also site-specific, factors that drive P cycling and afford synergistic opportunities with existing goals to change P.  How people chose to consume food and manage their waste remain central factors. Because cities concentrate people, they also concentrate P inputs (food) and P outputs (waste), making them hotspots of P cycling on the landscape, thus important locally, but also as incubators for larger scale changes towards P sustainability. In my thesis am working on understanding how to more systematically include social and ecological factors in the analysis of urban P cycling  and specifically look at cycling in the food system of the island of Montreal, focusing on the role urban agriculture plays and which local factors facilitate and constrain P recycling in the city.  I also did research on a key solution to problematic P management, human diet choices, and examined how national dietary changes have altered demand for P resources through time.

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