Meet the Researcher: Katie Marchetto
Post-Doctoral Associate | she/her/hers
Katie Marchetto is part of an MITPPC-funded team led by Tiffany Wolf and Dan Larkin. Check out this profile's companion piece, "Ahead of the Herd: How Goat-Grazing is Helping with Buckthorn Control."
Can you give a quick overview of your work with MITPPC?
I’d say I'm mainly in charge of tracking the net effects of goats browsing on buckthorn demography, as my background is in doing invasive plant population growth modeling.
We’re in the process of developing a population growth model for buckthorn, which isn't available right now. However, buckthorn, in particular, has a lot of characteristics that make it not super suitable for modeling attempts. So I guess that's my most unique contribution!
What drew you to invasive species research?
As an undergrad I was looking for something else would give me actual biology experience, and there was an ad out for a research experience position, looking at invasive plant dispersal. I thought that putting thistles through a wind tunnel sounded like a fun thing to do for summer. So if I hadn't got that job, who knows what I would be doing now?
What is one thing you hope people can take away from your research project by the end of it?
I guess just being able to quantifiably know how effective goats are at controlling buckthorn and what are the impacts. The helpful thing with a population growth model is that you can actually see in a population which life stages are the most vulnerable to impact. This will help us find what age or size of buckthorn, we should be going after to control the population. Also, if can we keep the goats safe while they're out there, or try to reduce their exposure risk to meningeal worm.
When you are not out in the field or in the lab, what do you like to do for fun?
Ah, I read a lot. I also do some knitting and fiber art, using reclaimed fiber to felt nature-inspired pieces. Besides that, I run the blog Green World Hypothesis, which presents fun stories about ecology and the natural world and highlights ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle, one step at a time.
About the Author
Caro Silvola is a Communications Intern with the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center (MITPPC). She is a double major in Bioproducts & Biosystems Engineering and English Literature and is highlighting research-community partnerships in the summer of 2019. Outside of the office, Caroline likes biking, making art, exploring, volunteering in her community and participating in environmental movement spaces.