Lisa Schulte Moore

Associate Professor of Natural Resource Ecology and Management

Background: My passion is ecology for people, prosperity, and the planet. My depth training and experience is in landscape ecology and natural resource management, particularly as applied to agricultural, forest, and avian ecology, although I also draw strongly upon the social sciences in my work. Iowa has been home for over a decade, but I spent the early part of my career studying Great Lakes forests. I am also co-owner of my family farm near Eau Claire, Wisconsin. For more info, see my brief resume.

Research Interests: I study human-landscape interactions. More specifically, my research addresses the ecological and social facets of sustainable land management through the lens of coupled human and natural systems. Several current 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: Iowa State University Early Career Award in Teaching (2007), Teaching Award of Merit from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (2007), Stanford University Leopold Leadership Fellow (2013), and Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow (2014). I am also 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: Email; 515-294-7339; 142 Science II


Carrie ChennaultCarrie Chennault

Ph.D. Student 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

Honor: ISU Brown Graduate Fellow

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


Julia DaleJulia Dale

M.S. Student in Wildlife Ecology

Working thesis title: Estimating the effect of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contour strips on grassland birds

Co-Advisor: Bob Klaver

Background: I earned my B.S. in Biology and Psychology from Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. While an undergraduate, I was a member of the Honors Program, and my senior honors thesis focused on building mutually beneficial partnerships with wildlife. Since graduation, I have held temporary wildlife positions in Colorado and Iowa, and have worked with a variety of taxa including birds, reptiles and amphibians, butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, and both small and large mammals.

Research Interests: My interests center on wildlife ecology in our changing landscape. I am concerned with how humans can continue to derive benefits from our natural resources while mitigating the damage done to wildlife and our environment at large. I am specifically interested in how agriculture and conservation can, and must, work together. Through my research at Iowa State, I aim to explore how birds adapt to anthropogenic landscape changes.  

Personal Interests: In my free time, I can be found camping, canoeing, birding, skiing, and hiking. I also enjoy gardening, spending time with my pet chickens, and indulging in good cup of coffee and a good book. 

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


Nisha Kothari

Masters in Information Systems Student

Background: My interest in business and passion for technology encouraged me to pursue Masters in Information Systems at Iowa State University. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and gained professional experience and opportunity to sharpen my technical skills by working with Accenture. I have shown my ability to adapt to new situations through various roles and responsibilities I undertook. I firmly believe that amazing things happens with people who work hard and are kind to others.

Research Interests: I have keen interest in business management and technology. My research interest is to measure innovativeness using neural network. With the help of technology, via neural network techniques we can differentiate between innovators and adaptors which can further help managers to find individuals key strength and assign them roles accordingly.

Personal Interests: I like listening music, hanging out with friends, and eating. I love interacting with new people! 

Contact: Email; 515-294-2957; 38 Science II


Maeraj Sheikh

M.S. Candidate in Sustainable Agriculture

Thesis title: To be determined

Honor: NSF Graduate Research Fellow

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 Agriculturef

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

Assata Caldwell

B.A. Student in Biological & Pre-medical Illustration

Background: I was born and raised in Iowa.  I chose to go to Iowa State University to pursue design, but was later introduced to scientific illustration and loved it.  While studying here at Iowa State University, I have learned about both traditional and digital illustration.  I have been given the opportunity to participate in two Biological Pre-Medical Illustration galleries and have had the opportunity to show my work at a private gallery in Iowa City.

Personal Interests:  I love to do anything outdoors.  I love to hunt and fish, and having a place to do those things are very important to me.  These passions have led to my interest in natural resources.   I am a former Miss Iowa for Dream Girls USA and a former LULAC Queen for the League of United Latin American Citizens.  I enjoy competition and enjoy pageants.  I also love to run and weightlift.

Work interests:  I believe visual media is one of the best learning and communication tools.  My goal is to use my skills to better educate and better share information and ideas with others.  I hope to one day be published in a medical journal or medical textbook.