Mite Community Ecology of Soils & Agroecosystems

Monica A. Farfan, Ph.D. Executive Director, Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative

School of Global Environmental Sustainability

Colorado State University


I am a community ecologist and an IPM-focused entomologist and acarologist interested in the predator-prey dynamics of agroecosystems and how crop and pest management practices affect the diversity and dynamics of these communities. With this, I hope to develop I am currently the Executive Director of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative working with Scientific Chair Diana H. Wall

  • As a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Clemson University Coastal Research and Education Center in Charleston, S.C., I investigated the biodiversity, community dynamics, and non-prey food resources for phytoseiid mite communities in tomato and watermelon agroecosystems. During my postdoctoral fellowship, I worked to gain experience as an extension professional, with the goal of a research and extension appointment in the area of arthropod community ecology of agroecosystems.

Past projects:

  • I completed my dissertation in the lab of David H. Wise at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where I researched bottom-up and top-down control dynamics of predator communities using the community of soil microarthropods (mites and Collembola) as a model. I trained at the Acarology Laboratory at The Ohio State University with Hans Klompen, where I did my Masters research on the host specificity of phoretic mites on non-native millipedes of the east coast and Europe.

  • My past projects include a collaboration with researchers in environmental planning, sociology, and scientific philosophy to develop ways of integrating disciplinary thought into a trans-disciplinary research approach in the NSF-funded RESTORE project. My work focused on soil communities in restored landscapes.

  • In addition to my personal doctoral research, I was a fellow in interdisciplinary research in the Landscape, Ecology, and Anthropogenic Processes (LEAP) Integrative Graduate Education Research Traineeship (IGERT) program funded by the NSF. This resulted in a publication with Davis et al. (2012).

Previous faculty appointments:

2013-2014 - Adjunct Faculty, Environmental Science and Studies Department at DePaul University - Foundations in Environmental Studies.

2012 - Department of Liberal Arts, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) - The Dirt on Soil Science

2005 - Department of Printmedia, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) - Command-P (Digital Printing)

2001-2004 - Department of Art and Design, Robert Morris University, Chicago, IL - 2-D Design, Typography