ASU-CI Postdoctoral Fellow
School of Life Sciences
Arizona State University
PO Box 874601 Tempe, AZ 85287-4601
PhD Geography, University of Cambridge, 2017
BA (Hons) Geography, University of Cambridge, 2011
My research interests are in the trade-offs and synergies between climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, and economic development.
My research experience started with a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and a specialisation in the environmental science, conservation and sustainable development disciplines. Whilst at Cambridge, I had the opportunity to test for contaminated water sites, perform measurements from atop Arolla Glacier (Switzerland) to research its hydrology, and collect particle emissions from the rim of Vulcano (Italy) to better understand sub-surface volcanic processes. Other (more sensible) research endeavours included a research internship with the Finnish Meteorological Institute in Helsinki, and a research internship with the Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation in Ranikhet, India. At Grassroots, I investigated the impact of measures introduced to reduce local water scarcity, and the sustainability of different local energy consumption scenarios.
After my BA, I was offered a PhD position in the field of climate modelling. The focus of my thesis was to investigate the causes of past atmospheric CO2 fluctuations by designing and executing model experiments on the Cambridge High Performance Computing Cluster, conducting statistical analyses of the model outputs, evaluating these against observations, and building computationally cheap model surrogates. In addition to doing research, I had the opportunity to teach undergraduate students, participate in a number of training schools (e.g. ENES European Earth System and Climate Modelling School,TERRABITES training school on terrestrial biosphere modelling) and hold positions with several organisations (e.g. Cambridge Climate and Sustainability Forum, Wolfson Research Event). Shortly after my PhD I also became involved with the MIT Climate CoLab, as a Carbon Pricing Evaluation Support Fellow.
In the Gerber Lab, I will be exploring the role of natural capital in achieving the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). This research forms part of ASU’s Knowledge Partnership with Conservation International, and is co-supervised by Dave Hole. The 17 SDGs, and their associated 169 targets are a universal set of development objectives designed to guide UN member states’ development agendas and policies for 2015-2030. They build, and improve, on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which came to an end in 2015. One of the main improvements is the recognition that environmental sustainability can play a key role in addressing other development objectives such as food security, disease prevention and gender equality. The degree of dependence of many of the SDGs and targets on natural capital, however, remains poorly articulated and largely unquantified. The trade-offs between individual goals and targets also needs to be investigated. By tackling these and other unresolved challenges, our project aims to inform national and global scale policy interventions and instruments.