Carissa Aoki, PhD

Carissa Aoki is an applied ecologist working at the intersection of landscapes, disturbance and risk. She is particularly interested in bringing anti-racist principles to the teaching of science, including the use of interdisciplinary stories to bring non-traditional content into the curriculum.

Carissa’s primary work has been in forest ecosystems, working on wildfire and insect outbreaks, and more recently on the working clam flats of coastal Maine. She has also worked with colleagues from the Baltimore Ecosystem Study/US Forest Service on issues related to urban forest ecology in Baltimore, and she continues to think about Baltimore’s many neighborhoods and the influence of redlining on contemporary socio-economic and ecological outcomes.

Carissa received her B.A. in Women’s Studies from Yale University, her M.S. in Forest Sciences from Colorado State University, and her Ph.D. from Dartmouth College’s program in Ecology, Evolution, Environment, and Society. Degrees in both the humanities and the sciences drive her interests in the languages and knowledges of the disciplines and the ways in which practitioner knowledges speak to those within academia. The latter has engaged her in projects that are stakeholder driven, and that can translate research into usable tools for resource managers and the general public. In one project, she developed a statistical model to predict southern pine beetle outbreaks, then worked with DALI Lab at Dartmouth College, whose students developed an online web app that enables state and federal forest managers across the southeastern U.S. to use the model’s predictions to make management decisions in their area. Carissa is also interested in the use of interdisciplinary spatial data, and the use of GIS (Geographical Information Systems) software to tell stories about both rural and urban landscapes.