Chris is an ecologist and plant biologist who has worked in the tropics of Peru and temperate forests of the eastern United States. Chris has been involved in a diverse array of research throughout his career, which has spanned a range from social science to ecosystem ecology to molecular biology. His master’s research at the University of Florida compared perceptions and attitudes about forests between young adults in the United States and the Peruvian Amazon. His doctoral work examined the role of insect herbivores on ecosystem processes like nutrient dynamics, which was part of a larger collaborative project with another GE instructor, H. Bruce Rinker. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Penn State University, where he focuses on understanding how airborne volatile compounds emitted by plants in response to herbivores affect ecological interactions.
When Chris can get a break from lab and field research, he enjoys working as an environmental educator and naturalist. In Peru, he served as a liason and naturalist guide at Zungarococha Lodge near Iquitos. While there, he helped develop and lead extension workshops through the CET Foundation. He also served as an instructor for CET workshops at Yacumama and Explorama lodges in the Peruvian Amazon. He also worked as an environmental education instructor at the McDowell Environmental Center in northern Alabama, where he frequently could be found with students exploring streams looking for invertebrate insects indicative of high water quality.
Chris is very interested in developing scientific and ecological literacy in people of all ages. Participants in his workshops can expect to engage in hands-on research projects to investigate field ecology using both observation and experimentation.