I am currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Dr. Haldre Rogers Lab, at Iowa State University. My work focuses on developing spatial tools to help inform decision-making for conservation planning of the island of Guam. I am currently working on several different projects described further down.


 

My research INTERESTS

1 - Developing tools to inform future Rewilding projects

Rewilding has been studied as a tool to restore ecosystem services to degraded ecosystems through the reintroduction or locally extinct species or the introduction of ecologically analogous species. Most studies and applications have focused on describing the feasibility and efficiency of rewilding, but few have focused on spatially optimizing functional restoration. To do so, I developed the Spatial Planning of Optimal Rewilding Efforts (Spore) framework with the goal to integrate the spatial relationship between animal behavior and ecological function to produce maps highlighting areas of interest for rewilding. In parallel to our ecological goals, Spore also takes into account management feasibility and constraints to select identify and rank key management units that should be considered by decision-makers. This framework was applied to Guam, with a focus on the potential rewilding of the Micronesian starling to restore seed dispersal to the forests throughout the island.

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I am also developing a tool (Ecocosms) centered around rewilding decisions, focusing on refining the list of management units identified in Spore by integrating costs and landownership. Rewilding of the starling in Guam will involve the control of the invasive brown treesnake to allow the birds to establish. Brown treesnake control involves different management methods depending on a wide variety of criterias such as landcover. Our goal with this module is to be able to associate a cost to snake control in each of the areas we identify as being ideal for starling rewilding to restore seed dispersal, and diversify the number of landowner types among the military, the government, and private land to maximize the number of stakeholders that could potentially get involved in such projects.

2 - Developing participatory approaches to understand decision-making at the local scale

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Another one of my projects is developing participatory approaches through computer models and board games to sensibilize local actors and gather feedback and data on their decision-making strategies. Our first game, “Rewilding Guam” was tested during the 2018 Marianas Terrestrial Conservation Conference, and focuses on group decision-making to identify conservation priorities and strategies on the island for the upcoming decade. These approaches allow us to take into account the different factors that influence decision-making at a local scale and make sure that our end user’s, local actors, are able to use our tools in a confident way.

3 - Understanding the interactions between landscapes and population dynamics in relation to ecological services and disservices

When considering key species that produce ecosystem services or disservices, it is important to understand how their behavior responds to landscape dynamics both spatially and temporally. To do so, l am developing spatially-explicit models that simulate these two key elements interact. I have used such approaches to better understand how climate and landscape influences seasonal dynamics of crop pests, or how landscape heterogeneity influences bird behavior and thus seed rain in tropical ecosystems.

4 - Developing multi-scale methodologies to study complex systems

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Most ecological functions can be represented at various spatial-temporal scales, through different modelling approaches. Bridging results between different approaches focusing on a same system can be challenging. I work on developing theoretical models to try to bridge these gaps and better comprehend how we can develop a common framework for future studies.