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Jeffrey Smith

RELP Cohort: 2020
School: Humanities and Sciences

Jeffrey Smith is a PhD candidate in the biology department at Stanford. He works both with the Natural Capital Project and the Stanford Center for Conservation Biology on understanding the impacts of human land use on biodiversity. His primary research focus is on understanding how the conversion of natural habitats to human uses (either agriculture or residential development) impacts biodiversity. Jeffrey principally studies insect biodiversity, but given their importance in food webs and ecosystems, he also considers patterns of plant diversity and bird diversity regularly. He studies these impacts using classical field research methods, emerging lab-based genetic techniques, and computer models. Recognizing the the need to scale local results to relevant to management and policy decisions, Jeffrey seeks to complement empirical work with spatial models of biodiversity; including; the distribution of species, the spatial patterns of habitat types, and variability in ecosystem structure. This work pulls both from primary data collected in the field as well as publicly available data and spans spatial scales from national (Costa Rica) to regional (the neotropics) to global.

Jeffrey holds a MESc from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a BS from the University of Delaware. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and has received research funding the NASA, the American Philosophical Society, and the Organization for Tropical Studies. He was selected a Beijer Young Scholar, an interdisciplinary group of 20 young scientists tackling the impact of globalization on the biosphere, and has received numerous awards for his writing, scientific speaking, and teaching while at Stanford.