Overall, my professional interests focus on maintaining environmental health, I have approached this through a variety perspectives including through the eyes of a(n) wildlife biologist, environmental engineer, and environmental chemist. Throughout my career, I have focused on how environmental phenomena (e.g., species diversity, water quality impairment, element concentrations ) are governed by highly complex interactions between biological, chemical, and physical processes. I typically work at field to global scales, and at these scales, environmental systems are often too complex to describe with physically based models. Instead, statistical models provide powerful tools for revealing the the dominant processes driving complex patterns present in real-world environmental data.
I am currently pursuing 2 avenues of research. First, I am interested in water quality, specifically focusing using sophisticated machine learning algorithms to better understand the linkages between landscape processes and water quality impairment. By knowing the processes driving impairment, better management practices (e.g., irrigation) or engineering solutions (e.g., runoff treatment) can be implemented to minimize the negative anthropogenic impacts on the environment. Second, I am interested in soil geochemistry and better understanding how human health is directly linked to the environmental processes driving trace element concentrations in soils. Recently, climate change has been shown to decrease the concentration of essential trace elements in the soils as well as the uptake of these elements by plants. Often, climate change is assumed to have indirect effects on health, but by changing the distribution of elements in the soil, climate change can have a direct unforeseen effects on nutrition. I am interested in better characterizing the dynamics of trace element cycling in soils to better understand how environmental change affects human health.