My research interests center on the ecology of managed systems. I combine ecological intuition with primarily data driven approaches from landscape ecology, conservation planning, geography and econometrics in efforts to advance the sustainability of coupled-human natural systems. After receiving my PhD in 2015, I was a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Science, Policy & Management at UC Berkeley. I joined the Bren faculty in 2016 as an assistant professor of landscape & agricultural ecology.
Nakoa Farrant (PhD student)
I am interested in researching various approaches to agriculture that improve productivity and minimize ecological harm. My research will rely on GIS analysis tools and may incorporate some social theory. As part of the Larsen lab, I plan to explore how adaptations of traditional Hawaiian agricultural systems could enhance local food production and have additional social benefits for modern Hawai‘i. By optimizing agriculture in the context of a geographically-constrained island environment, I hope to provide insight into management of larger swaths of land. I received my BS in environmental engineering from Harvard in 2018 before transitioning to a PhD at Bren as a member of Ashley's lab.
Brian Lee (PhD student)
Brian graduated from Pacific Union College in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He spent the next three years in Rwanda as a Peace Corps Volunteer working both as a high school science teacher and as a conservationist protecting mountain gorillas in the Virunga Massif. Brian then went on to receive his Masters in Environmental Management from the School of Forestry at Yale University, where he focused on all things spatial ecology, including remote sensing and GIS. Most recently, Brian spent the last year working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he was the calibration/validation lead for the ECOSTRESS sensor on the ISS under Dr. Josh Fisher. At Bren, Brian is interested in studying land-use change and deforestation in the tropics, with the hopes of forecasting future deforestation based on past trends and socioeconomic drivers. Brian has a deep appreciation for the natural world, long bicycle rides, and carrot cake.
Anna Boser (PhD student)
Anna is interested in using machine learning and remotely sensed data to answer questions surrounding the ecosystem services humans rely on for health and wellbeing, especially those affecting food and water security. Her previous work has focussed on air quality in California, including evaluations of the health effects of prescribed burning and estimations of ground level particulate matter using remote sensing. She has also worked on the socio-economic dynamics of HIV in French Guiana, and women's empowerment in Niger. Anna received her BA in Statistics and the University Medal from UC Berkeley in 2020.