My research background is in plant ecology and evolutionary biology with a particular emphasis on invasive plants and their impact on native plant and animal communities. Invasive species are important to science because they challenge long-held assumptions about how organisms adapt to their environment, how natural communities are assembled, and how natural diversity provides resistance and resilience in the face of change. My writing has taken basic concepts from ecology and evolutionary biology to explain how the process of food production in modern agriculture has changed and how it adheres less and less to natural biological principles. My objective is to raise awareness of the hazards inherent in ignoring the rules of evolutionary biology when it comes to food and health.
My goal in writing is to inform the general public about science, particularly the basic principles of evolutionary biology, and how science can be applied to understanding everyday life and, in fact, how it is essential that consumers begin to do that regularly. As our societies experience ever more rapid change and we are caught up in that change without being able to keep pace, I think it is absolutely essential that we understand the principles that underlie and influence change. When it comes to the environment and food production, it is biological principles that we must focus on.
It’s my opinion that it is the obligation of every scientist to write for the public and to write in easy and accessible prose. Scientists are dedicated to the discovery of new information and that information often has very important ramifications for the public. However, most research is read by a relatively small cohort of other researchers and we rarely reach outside of our specialized groups. As members of society who have devoted our lives to science and who understand it better than the rest of the public, we are obliged to make our world understandable to those who want to know more, but who may not have the time or desire to know it to the same degree as the practicing scientist. A science-literate society is a safer society.
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