Lisa Schulte Moore

Associate Professor of Natural Resource Ecology and Management

Background: I have in-depth training in landscape ecology, particularly as applied to forest and avian ecology. Since moving to Iowa in 2003, I've jumped with both feet into the study of agroecology and am having a blast learning about these intricately coupled human and natural systems. For more info, see my brief resume.

Research Interests: I study human-landscape interactions. More specifically, my research adresses the ecological and social facets of sustainable land management through the lens of coupled human and natural systems. Several current research projects address the strategic integration of perennials into agricultural landscapes to meet multifunctional societal goals. Other projects address the establishment of establishment of restoration baselines and impacts of restoration practices.

I use a combination of historical investigation, field studies, modeling, and both quantitative and qualitative inquiry. While my research spans local (1-10 km2) to regional scales (10,000-100,000 km2), my focus is on informing landscape (10-10,000 km2) management. The strength of my research lies in synthesis and integration; I make use of extensive collaborative networks to bolster the disciplinary breadth and rigor of my work.

Strengths: Learner, Achiever, Focus, Futuristic, Analytical

Honors: I was awarded ISU’s Early Career Award in Teaching in 2007 and am currently a Fellow with Stanford University’s Leopold Leadership Program, a member of the “Rapid Response Team” of the Ecological Society of America, on the editorial board of Landscape Ecology, and on the board of trustees of the Iowa Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.  

Career Goals: To make a difference and have fun doing it.

Personal Interests: Pete, Freddy, Raymond, and Inga - particularly when I get them outdoors.

Potential Students: Would you like to pursue a graduate program through the lab? For information on my suggested application process, mentoring philosophy, and expectations of graduate students in my lab, please visit the “Joining the Lab” page.

Contact: lschulte <at> iastate <dot> edu; 515-294-7339; 142 Science II


Usman Anwar

M.S. Candidate in Sustainable Agriculture

Working thesis title: Soil moisture dynamics of biomass cropping systems 

Co-Advisor: Matt Helmers

Background: I earned my BS in Biology from the University of Iowa. I have research experience in a somewhat unrelated field, but think it has prepared me for what I'm doing here.

Research Interests: I will be focusing on the water quality impacts of different biomass production systems. My goal is to assess differences in nutrient loss through leaching between alternative cropping systems at various landscape positions; as well as to understand cropping system impacts on water infiltration and soil moisture. Additionally, I'll be working with InVEST to model alternative land use scenarios in an agricultural watershed, aimed at achieving improvements in downstream water quality. This will include formulation of an example "payment for watershed ecosystem services" framework. By understanding the impact of different land-use practices and cropping systems across landscapes, I aim to develop a watershed conservation model that more efficiently captures multiple benefits for private land owners and society.

Personal Interests: I'm evenly matched in my affinity for indoor and outdoor activities. I like biking and hiking and volunteering at community gardens or farms. I also like to sprint the 100m and I train for that often (I've never done it competitively, but I'm always up for a challenge). When inside, I like to read non-fiction books (mostly, unless you can convince me to read a novel) and practice piano. I also love music and cooking new things.

Contact: uanwar <at> iastate <dot> edu; 515-294-2957; 38 Science II


Carrie Chennault

M.S. Candidate in Sustainable Agriculture

Working thesis title: The impact of People in Ecosystems/Watershed Integration, a simple ecosystem services tradeoffs model, on student learning.

Co-Advisor: John Tyndall

Background: I earned my BA in The Plan II Honors Program and my BBA in Accounting, both from The University of Texas at Austin.  My undergraduate thesis looked at the range of business sectors in which women entrepreneurs participated over the course of American history as a basis for a comparison of women entrepreneurs currently in these sectors.

Research Interests: I am passionate about the interplay of social justice, equity, and human well-being factors with property/ownership rights and business activity.  How we understand and prioritize these issues as a society will affect the sustainability of our planet and species. Through my graduate research, I hope  to address how society evaluates trade-offs between current levels of agricultural production and long-term availability of natural capital in an economic framework, including how the philosophical underpinnings of economics as an academic discipline shape society's inherent understanding of those trade-offs. Creating broadened or alternative lenses through which people and institutions view ecosystem services benefits may serve as a potential path for landscape ecologists, agroecologists, and conservationists to more effectively communicate the individual and larger social impacts of land use decisions.

Personal Interests: When I am not in the lab, I enjoy exploring my new home here in Iowa.  I especially like trips to the farmers market in the summer to stock up on fresh produce and visit with the farmers who grow my food. In the winter, I spend my time mostly indoors at the gym, reading fiction literature, cooking delicious hearty winter soups, and spending time with friends.  My favorite athletic/wellness activities are swimming, cycling, and Pilates.

Contact: carriemc <at> iastate <dot> edu; 515-294-2957; 38 Science II


Rayma Cooley

M.S. Candidate in Forestry

Thesis title: To be determined

Advisor: Peter Wolter

Background: I joined the U.S. Navy after high school and served as a Photographer's Mate during my time there, traveling extensively through various Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries. Following my discharge, I earned my BA in Environmental Studies and Planning with an emphasis in conservation and restoration from Sonoma State University in Rohnnert Park, CA.  My interest in ecology burgeoned when I worked as a wildlife technician for the University of Washington, surveying for the threatened Northern spotted owl, Strix occidentalis caurina, in Shasta Trinity National Forest, CA.  I have also worked as a wildlife technician surveying for threatened Mexican spotted owls and other species of state and federal concern, and as a forest fuels crew leader examining the effects of various fuels treatments on fuel loads for the USDA Forest Service in Lincoln National Forest, NM.

Research Interests: Through my collective experiences, I have developed a passion for landscape ecology and forestry.  I am interested in how an ecosystem is functioning in its entirety, and the drivers that keep it in a constant state of flux.  My graduate research examines landscape patterns created by a large-scale, high severity wildfire that occurred in the boreal forest ecosystem of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in north-eastern Minnesota.  My research relies heavily on remote sensing technologies, GIS, and on-the-ground field work.  I hope to better understand how various drivers, like severity and dominant pre-fire tree cover type, affect forest response.  I hope I can contribute to a better understanding of spatial responses of underlying forest landscape structure, fire disturbance, and future patterns of ecosystem recovery, that forest managers can utilize to make more informed decisions.

Personal Interests: I'm happiest when I'm moving, whether that be hiking, biking, or taking a stroll through the farmer's market.  I'm passionate about where my food comes from and how it was raised.  I also enjoy cooking, photography, traveling, collecting wildflowers for pressing, painting, and writing.

Contact: racooley <at> iastate <dot> edu; 515-294-1387; 34 Science II


Maeraj Sheikh

M.S. Candidate in Sustainable Agriculture

Thesis title: To be determined

Background: I received my B.S. in Environmental Science with a concentration in Soil Science from University of California-Riverside in 2012. I have an extensive research background in microbial techniques, restoration ecology, and soil biogeochemistry. In addition to my research experience, I have had comprehensive interdisciplinary training on alternative energy systems, natural resource management, environmental policy, ecology, and the effects of global climate change. For more info, please see my CV or visit my website.

Research Interests: I am interested in asking questions that investigate how growing demands for food and energy production will be met while addressing challenges of sustainable production and global change. How can we meet the demands of a growing human population while maintaining ecosystem function and environmental quality? This is a complicated problem that must be examined not only from an environmental perspective but also cross-examined through social, cultural, political, and economic lenses. As a matter of high research priority, I believe that finding solutions to how humans can exist in harmony with their environment is at the crux of the most pressing environmental issues of our time. My goal as an environmental scientist is to work towards developing practical and integrative solutions to food security, energy, and climate change issues.

Honors: I received the NSF GRFP award in 2013 and am looking forward to investigating and assessing different bioenergy pathways through applied research with the goal of helping create sustainable landscapes with balanced outcomes for energy production and food systems.  

Personal Interests: I love meeting new people--I am a true extrovert! My hobbies include traveling, cooking, hiking, doing yoga, and throwing themed parties.  

Contact: maeraj <at> iastate <dot> edu; 515-294-2957; 38 Science II


Emily Zimmerman

Ph.D. Student in Sustainable Agriculture

Woking dissertation title: Payment for ecosystem services in the Big Creek watershed, Iowa

Co-Advisor: John Tyndall

Honor: ISU Plant Sciences Institute Fellow

Background: I received my B.S. in Biology and Global Resource Systems from Iowa State University in 2011 and an M.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan in 2013.  As an undergraduate, I balanced my two majors by doing research in community ecology, specifically on biodiversity in grassland ecosystems, and in food systems, specifically on the evolution of human diets in the Mediterranean.  Spurred by my interest in biodiversity, my M.S. research focused on assessing the qualitative and quantitative relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function in natural, heterogeneous ecosystems across large spatial scales. For more info, see CV.

Research Interests: My research interests are focused at the intersection of conservation and the production of food, fuel and fiber.  Broadly, I am curious about the relationship between agricultural landscapes and the natural environment.  More specifically, I am interested in a landscape-level, systems approach to quantitatively and qualitatively understanding the relationship between land use and ecosystem services in multifunctional agricultural landscapes.  In addition to understanding the biophysical science, I also hope to understand how ecosystem services in multifunctional agricultural landscapes can be valued through a social and economic framework to engage stakeholders and encourage effective conservation practices.

Personal Interests: I am most at home outside; I enjoy many outdoor activities – kayaking, hiking, biking, skiing, but my favorite pastime is running.  I also like to travel, particularly to places with delicious food.  I spend a fair amount of time reading, drinking coffee, and cooking. 

Contact: emilyz <at> iastate <dot> edu; 515-294-2957; 38 Science II


Undergraduate Research Assistants

None at the moment