Soil remediation, habitat restoration, biomimicry, biodiversity, ethnobotany, oil spill response, dissemination of innovation, cognitive development, organic agriculture and industrial ecology
Oil Remediation and Restoration
I design systems which remediate and transform polluted soil, such as crude oil impacted soils. These systems rely on the ability of microbes and their constituents, both naturally occurring and induced, to support natural attenuation of the environment. The goal is to develop low cost, effective processes that have the potential for replication and dissemination across both ecologic and economic borders.
My current research includes the development of technologies for use during oil spill cleanup. The focus is on the development of more efficient oil recovery equipment, such as better oil skimming and oil-water separation equipment. In the Gulf of Mexico, I am currently collaborating on a project which utilizes sugarcane fiber as a soil medium to support the regrowth of vegetation in oil-impacted marshes.
Industrial ecology is the study of the physical, chemical, and biological interactions and interrelationships both within and between industrial and ecological systems. My research helps to identify the energy flows through commercial industrial systems, such as those closely linked to agricultural. Using principles of industrial metabolism, I first identify the way these materials flow through an industrial system and are transformed or transferred with a portion dissipated as wastes.
For example, Costco Wholesale contracts a collection of dedicated growers who supply large quantities of fresh produce throughout the year. A significant portion of this produce ends up in the waste stream as "D & D" (damage and destroy). I have designed a green-waste collection program which aims to capture 100% of the organic waste, transport it away from the landfill and to local composting facilities. The waste is then thermophilically composted and a portion vermicomposted--with worm 'castings' as the end product. This organic waste is effectively diverted and converted to a value-added retail item which is offered for sale back to the customers as a potting soil. Costco growers are also participating in the program by applying green-waste derived compost to their farm as an organic soil amendment, thus helping close the sustainability circle.
National Commission on the BP Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling - December 2010 Report
National Commission on the BP Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling - January 2011 Report
Tradeoffs of Chemical Dispersant Use in Marine Oil Spills - DHSG Working Paper, 2011
Honors and Awards
- Environmental Representative - California Organic Product Advisory Board - 2011
- Environmental Science Lead - Deepwater Horizon Study Group - 2010
- Strategic Research Grant - Chevron Energy Technology Company - 2010
- Commissioner - Alameda County Recycling Board - 2009
- William Carroll Smith Fellowship - ESPM - 2009
- Best of the East Bay - Most Promising Grad Student - East Bay Express - 2008
- Schweitzer Fellow - The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship - 2008
- Eva Alexis Bansner Fund for Sustainable Development - CA League of Women Voters - 2008
- Garden Crusader - National Gardening Association - 2006, 2007
178A - Environmental Education (UCB)
102D - Resource Policy (UCB)
ENVS600 - Environmental Problems and Solutions (SFSU)