Mite Natural Enemies: Predators Far and Near

"He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess..." -Jack London, The Call of the Wild

Monica A. Farfan, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow

Clemson University, Coastal Research and Education Center, 2700 Savannah Hwy. Charleston, SC 29414


I am a community ecologist and agricultural acarologist interested in the dynamics and food webs of mite predators. As a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Clemson University Coastal Research and Education Center in Charleston, S.C., I research the biodiversity and alternative food resources for phytoseiid mite communities in tomato and watermelon agroecosystems. During my postdoctoral fellowship, I am working to gain experience as an extension professional, with the goal of working partly in extension and teaching in the area of community ecology of agroecosystems. I enjoy drawing and painting, and my art centers around human-nature relationships in distress.

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.

Past projects:

  • 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