Amanda’s research interests include soil ecology, integrated pest management and ecological intensification of agricultural systems. She completed her Ph.D. at UC Davis on the ecological effects of a biological control agent in pistachio orchards, finding that the entomopathogenic nematode, S. carpocapsae, caused temporary changes in native soil food webs. Following up on these results in the laboratory, she found that European earwig (Forficula auricularia) could serve as a novel host for the nematode. This susceptibility depended on host body size with significantly higher mortality rates seen in larger earwigs.
As a postdoc in Louise Jackson's soil ecology lab at UC Davis, Amanda is now researching the relationships between soil biodiversity and ecosystem function in riparian oak rangelands. Current projects focus on spatial variation in soil communities and the role of key plant species in promoting biodiversity (for more information see pages on Soil Biology of Native California Riparian Woodlands and Effects of Native Lupines on Ecosystem Functioning). She is also collaborating with Andrew Margenot exploring the relationship between soil biodiversity and organic matter using infrared spectroscopy.
As part of a USDA/NIFA postdoctoral fellowship, new projects are beginning in Fall 2012 on Adaptive Pest Planning: Management Strategies To Maintain Plant Health Under Climate Change
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