Our lab is unified by interest in the human use and conservation of landscapes, and how those are related to cultural, historical, and political forces.  We are committed to multi-disciplinarity, with foci on cultural, ecological, geographical, and educational foundations.  As a result we practice mixed methods research, including archival work, satellite image analysis, video, semi-structured interviews, vegetation assessments, unmanned aerial vehicles (drone) photography, socio-linguistic analysis, geographic information systems, and participant observation.  We also have a strong emphasis on collaborative research, as well as making research results relevant and usable for local groups.

Click here to see other labs in UGA's Department of Anthropology.


Lab Members


Jennifer DeMoss is a doctoral candidate in the Anthropology - Integrative Conservation Ph.D. program. Her research focuses on the roles of bodily practice and nonhuman agency in socio-environmental relationships. She is currently conducting fieldwork with a nonprofit environmental education organization in Traverse City, Michigan, studying this organization’s efforts to foster emotional, social relationships with local landscapes through body and movement-centered curriculum. Throughout the course of her fieldwork, she has questioned how landscapes shape these educational opportunities, as well as the implications of pedagogy centered around concepts of settler indigeneity. Her work reflects an interest in sensory ethnography, and she uses video as a tool to illuminate moments of sensuous contact in more-than-human landscapes. Other interests include alternative educational models, environmental literacy, ethnoecology, and wild foraging. Her B.A. is from the Program in the Environment at the University of Michigan, and she has field experience in botany and forest ecology. 




Walker DePuy is a doctoral candidate in the Anthropology - Integrative Conservation Ph.D. program.  Broadly interested in how anthropology can bridge issues of sustainable resource management and conservation justice, his dissertation brings political ecology and science and technology studies (STS) together to study the multi-scalar pursuit of rights-based conservation across an Indonesian REDD+ landscape.  This work builds on research with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) on enabling conditions for participatory carbon accounting along a forest change gradient in Indonesia.  He has previously conducted fieldwork unpacking the political ecology of a highly biodiverse, post-colonial landscape in central Kenya.  Walker holds an M.S. in Environmental Justice from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology from Carleton College.



Carlos Espinosa is in the University of Panama's doctoral program in Humanities and Social Sciences.  His research centers on how different ethnicities develop forest management arrangements that strengthen forest governance at the local level and how from those models  it is possible to strengthen territorial goverance of Panama's Darién region.  Other research interests include why it has been easier for communities in the Comarca Emberá - Wounaan to adopt forest management as a conservation and development strategy, in comparison with other human groups of the region.  Carlos is a forester, and he has a Master's in ecology and conservation from the Catholic University of Santa Mariá La Antigua of Panama.  He works for WWF's office in Panama.

Carlos Espinosa está en la programa doctoral de Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales de la Universidad de Panamá.  Su investigación se centra en cómo diferentes etnicidades  desarrollan arreglos de gestión forestal  que fortalecen la gobernanza forestal  a nivel local,  y  cómo  a partir  de estos  modelos  es  posible fortalecer  la  gobernanza  territorial en la  región del  Darién  panameño.   Otros  temas  que  le  interesa  investigar  es  por  qué ha sido  más   fácil  para las  comunidades  de la Comarca  Emberá-Wounaan   adoptar el  manejo forestal  como  estrategia  de  conservación y desarrollo,   en  comparación con otros grupos  humanos  de la  región.   Carlos es  ingeniero  forestal,  cuanta con una  maestría  en Ecología  y Conservación otorgada por la  Universidad  Católica Santa  María  La Antigua  de  Panamá,  y    trabaja  en la  oficina de WWF en Panamá.


Olivia Ferrari

Olivia Ferrari is a doctoral student in the Anthropology - Integrative Conservation Ph.D. program. Her background has involved research on human impacts on wildlife populations in the UK and Latin America. Her current work focuses on how political change and conflict context in Colombia intersect with community-based environmental conservation. She earned a B.A. in Anthropology and Psychology from CUNY Hunter College, and a Master's of Research in Biodiversity, Evolution, and Conservation from University College London.



Linda Kosen is a doctoral candidate in the Anthropology - Integrative Conservation Ph.D. program. Her research is on the multiple notions of being and belonging in conservation efforts with the Hawaiian Monk Seal.  Prior to coming to UGA, Linda lived in Hawaiʻi for ten years where she worked as a scuba diving instructor on the island of Kauaʻi.  She earned a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Women’s Studies and a B.A. in Anthropology from the The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.


Lab Alumni

Line fishing

Christine Beitl completed her Ph.D. in December 2012 (co-advised by Dr. Velásquez Runk and Dr. Tucker), and is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Maine.  Her research is broadly concerned with the complex interactions between socio-political, ecological, and economic systems. She specializes in analyzing the relationship between different kinds of social organization and common pool resources of coastal and marine environments. In her dissertation research Dr. Beitl used ethnographic and fishery data, statistical analysis, and geographic information systems to evaluate the social and ecological effects of customary norms in fishing, policy change, common property arrangements and other forms of collective action on the cockle fishery and its broader mangrove habitat. The ultimate goal of Christine's research is to understand the complex causes and consequences of social-ecological change and to establish new frameworks for the study of sustainability and environmental governance. She completed an M.A. in Latin American & Caribbean Studies/ Environmental Studies from Florida International University and a B.A. in Spanish from Ohio University.



Sam Boring graduated with his M.A. in 2013.  His thesis research was entitled "Growing Ecological Citizenship: Motivations and Practices of Home Gardeners in Athens, GA."  His work grew from his interests in ethnobotany and cultural landscapes.  Before arriving at UGA he worked for the US Forest Service as an archaeologist in California.  He received his Bachelor's degree in Anthropology from the University of Florida.



Patricia Dunne graduated in 2015 (co-advised by Dr. Velásquez Runk and Dr. Brosius) and is a scientist at Conservation International.  Her dissertation research explored the challenges created by differing perceptions of the meaning and use of conservation terminology for the implementation of effective and equitable conservation and development projects. Mor specifically, Dr. Dunne traced the concepts 'climate change,'  'ecosystem services' and 'REDD' as they travel through networks of actors in Peru and the United States engaging with Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) at local, regional, national, and international scales. Prior to her graduate work, she was a founding staff member of the Beacon Institute for Rivers & Estuaries in Beacon, NY, where she designed and implemented educational programs and exhibits. Dr. Dunne completed a Certificate in Conservation Biology at the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation at Columbia University, and holds a B.A. in Film and Media Arts from Emerson College in Boston, MA.


Meek(With co-worker)

David Meek completed his Ph.D. in 2014 (co-advised by Dr. Velásquez Runk and Dr. Brosius) and is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alabama..  His research focuses on how people learn through political participation, and the potential impact this learning  has on agricultural practices, and concomitant landscape changes. Dr. Meek's dissertation was on the relationships between public policies, economic incentives, and educational processes within an agrarian reform settlement in the Brazilian Amazon.  While at UGA he completed a Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science, and also holds a M.Sc. in Environmental Studies from Antioch New England University, and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Bard College.



Catarina Passidomo completed her M.A. in 2009, with a thesis entitled "The More, The Merrier: Social Capital amongst Farmers across Three Local Foods Initiatives."  She investigated the social and economic strategies deployed by small-scale agriculturalists in and around Athens, Georgia. Dr. Passidomos received her Ph.D. in geography on race and food justice activism in post-Katrina New Orleans. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi.  Catarina also holds a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from Washington and Lee University.



Jillian Sico graduated with her M.A. in 2013, with a thesis entitled "How Humanitarian Organizations Construct and Contest the Identity of Colombian Refugees Through Visual Images."  This was based on study of forced migration from Colombia and its visual representation.  Before arriving at UGA Jillian studied visual arts and worked for an environmental non-profit organization in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She received her B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland.