I met Monika Egerer through Colby Anton (previous podcast interviewee about studying cougars in Yellowstone) , both are PhD candidates in the Environmental Studies at University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC). I am excited to share Monika's work with urban garden ecology because urban gardening can bring quality food and quality of life to neighborhoods where affordable fresh food is not readily available. This is so important in our world of conservation and the world's growing population.
Monika's research with Dr. Stacy Philpott's team at UCSC on urban ecology and biodiversity of urban gardens in the California central coast encompasses many fields of study including the human experience. This research is conducted in 25 gardens that vary in local management practices and landscape. The goal is to understand the ecological interactions and processes in urban gardens such as pest control, pollination and climate regulation.
Monika is also actively involved with the creation of a film along with Small Pumpkin Production's, Michelle E. Aquilar (and team), called "No Place to Grow" which she talks about in the podcast. This documentary follows a group of Latino farmers who find themselves representing a movement to save green space in a fast growing neighborhood.
And did you know that bird loss on the Mariana Islands is leading to the loss of fruit production, specifically chili peppers? Ms. Egerer also discusses her work with this project about how the loss of birds on Guam is leading to this ecosystem service loss because birds are no longer dispersing the seeds. Here is a link to the paper about this topic published in the journal, Ecological Applications this year.