Environmental Change Initiative Distinguished
Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Research Associates
Three new interdisciplinary postdoctoral research associates are joining the Environmental Change Initiative this fall. Each has developed an original project building on the expertise of current Brown faculty members from different departments. The postdocs will share an office on the first floor of MacMillan Hall while working closely with partners from across campus.
James R. Hull joins ECI and the Population Studies and Training Center, working with Leah VanWey (Sociology) and Crystal Linkletter (Community Health and S4) to examine how the transition from a barter economy to a cash economy influences social networks, agricultural intensification, and labor mobility. Jim recently completed his dissertation in the Department of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was a predoctoral trainee at the Carolina Population Center. His dissertation, entitled Monetization: A Theory and Applications establishes a theoretical foundation for the sociological study of monetization and links the phenomenon to changes in social structure, lives, and livelihoods in the context of historically agricultural economies. His research interests also include the causes and consequences of out-migration at the place of origin, and the effects of social distance and spatial proximity on the processes of mechanization, intensification, and land use and land cover change. From 2004-2006, he participated in the National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship at the Carolina Population Center, designed to foster interdisciplinary communication, collaboration, and improved research into population and environment dynamics. He has also held an interdisciplinary Weiss Urban Livability Fellowship through the Graduate School at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Véronique St. Louis joins ECI as an interdisciplinary postdoctoral scientist, working with Dov Sax (EEB/CES) and Jack Mustard (Geological Sciences/CES)on a project that combines niche modeling and remote sensing to forecast extinctions from climate change. Her research lies at the intersection of landscape ecology, remote sensing, and statistics. Understanding the factors that limit the spatial distribution of species across a range of spatial scales and ecosystem types has always been at the center of her work. Her research at Brown is focused on the response of plant species to future changes in climatic conditions in the Eastern US. Specifically, Véronique is interested in understanding how ecological as well as human-induced factors (e.g., land use and land cover change) will interact to affect a given species’ ability to cope with future changes in climatic conditions, and how these factors will affect the species’ risk of extinction. She received her Ph.D. Forest Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009 as well as an MS in Biometry from University of Wisconsin-Madison, in 2009 and an
MS in Biological Sciences from Université de Montréal in 2000.
B.S. Biological Sciences, Stanford University, 2002
Ph.D. Marine Biology, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California-San Diego, 2009. Thesis: “Linking Coral Reef Health and Human Welfare.”
Sheila’s research focuses on the interrelationship between ecosystem change and human welfare. Conservation and economic development are inextricably linked, especially in developing countries where the majority of wealth is derived from natural resources. She uses theoretical and empirical methods from ecology and economics to understand this relationship and to evaluate policies relevant to conservation and development. Her current research, with Heather Leslie (EEB) and Sriniketh Nagavarapu (Economics), aims to understand the consequences of conditional cash transfers (a popular poverty alleviation policy) in the Gulf of California, Mexico on fishing, coastal ecosystems, and long-term changes in human welfare.