Global Change Fellow Alumnus | Department of Applied Ecology | North Carolina State University
2015 – 2016 Global Change Fellow
Where are they now?
Phil went on to pursue Ph.D. at the University of Washington, enrolled in a Quantitative Ecology and Resource Management program. He is now working as a Data Analyst at Starbucks Coffee Company.
Statement of Purpose:
I am a second year master’s student in Applied Ecology under the advice of Dr. Krishna Pacifici, within a project spearheaded by Dr. Jaime Collazo. In this larger project, we are trying to build a decision model that will determine where to do what habitat management in Puerto Rico, in order to ensure the persistence of it’s unique biota. This project matches well with my career goals. My goal is to work in the management arm of a conservation organization (governmental or otherwise). Once there, I’d like to use my training in statistical inference and decision science to efficiently and effectively manage landscapes and animal populations. After completing my M.S., I’d like to continue this training via a PhD.
Description of Research:
My thesis research broadly falls within the theme of interspecific interactions. I’m interested in using quantitatively rigorous analytical methods to estimate the extent and effect of interesting interactions. One such interaction involves Shiny Cowbirds. As with most islands, the ecology of Puerto Rico is experiencing changes. The introduction of this South American brood parasite is one such change, and is concerning for some of the island’s endemic bird species. I’m interested in using multiple data sources to estimate the range of the cowbird within Puerto Rico, and the extent which its occurrence depends on its hosts. This information is essential for managers considering cowbird management. I’m also interested in incorporating interspecific interactions in hierarchical community models. Classic ecological theory dictates that species ranges are determined by abiotic and biotic factors. Incorporating the latter into community models has proved challenging, but the resulting improved estimates of occurrence could be worth it. My research fits within Science Theme Four, Ecological Research and Modeling, specifically Tasks 1 and 4, developing species distribution maps and identifying important species interactions.