I completed both a BSc and an MSc at the University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, where I studied plant ecology and taxonomy, and ethnobotany. With this research, I was interested to learn about how Indigenous people classify and utilize the plant species around them, and how methods from Indigenous knowledge and Western science can be used conjointly to learn about plant ecology and taxonomy. It is often found that Indigenous people recognize different taxonomical categories than in Western botany, and I was interested to see how these delineations express cultural importance of species. During this research, several Indigenous elders mentioned their worry that a changing climate would drastically effect their ability to harvest resources and navigate around their territories, since they live in a coastal ecosystem that can be quite sensitive to environmental shifts.
To investigate this further, in my DPhil I have decided to learn from Indigenous elders in several coastal communities in northern BC and southern AK to understand how environmental shifts, due to a changing climate, is being perceived and adapted to by local peoples, and in turn how these environmental changes are effecting cultural and biological diversity, and changes to resource harvesting and movement around the landscape. To narrow this subject, I will be using the focus species of Pacific crabapple (Malus fusca), an important cultural and ecological keystone indicator species. In addition to recording Indigenous knowledge, I will also be collating data obtained from weather stations and aerial photographic timeseries to measure how the environment has changed from a western scientific perspective. These two knowledge 'lenses' will allow me to investigate this issue in an interdisciplinary, mixed-methods manner.
Throughout my research, I have worked in a close partnership with several Canadian Indigenous knowledge holders. These mentors have been instrumental in showing me how to look at my research from a multitude of ways, and by learning about the relationship between ecosystems and people from both an Indigenous and a Western science viewpoint. I attempt to approach my research in a wholestic and scientifically robust manner.
- Folk Taxonomy
- Western Scientific Taxonomy
- Environmental change
- Cultural Diversity
- Biological Diversity
- Landscape Perception
- Present, DPhil at The Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment (candidate), University of Oxford.
- 2013, M.Sc. at The School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, 2013.
- 2010, B.Sc. in a double major in the Department of Biology and the School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.