Becky Ball is a professor of Environmental Science at Arizona State University and a co-PI on the CAP-LTER. She earned her PhD in Ecology from the University of Georgia, followed by a postdoctoral position at Dartmouth College prior to joining ASU in 2010. Her primary research interests are soil biogeochemistry (nutrient cycling) and ecosystem ecology. Her research focuses on understanding how human-induced environmental change influences soil biogeochemical processes and the soil biological communities who contribute to these cycles. Currently, her research focuses on 'extreme' ecosystems, including the rapidly urbanizing Sonoran Desert in and around Phoenix, AZ.
Human civilizations are becoming increasingly urban, pointing to the profound importance of understanding urban ecosystems. The urgency of this research imperative has motivated CAP since 1997. CAP’s central focus is to understand how human-environment interactions mediate the relationships that connect human decisions about urban infrastructure to urban ecosystem structure and function. Our goal is to advance how urban ecological infrastructure differentially affects ecosystem services and disservices across people and places. Our research efforts address broad issues, including: 1) human-environment feedbacks associated with urban infrastructure; 2) adaptive and eco-evolutionary responses of organisms to human activities; 3) urban infrastructure feedbacks to urban heat, air quality, and water; 4) how interactions with nature affect the perceptions, decisions, and wellbeing of urban residents; and 5) how governance and institutions impact and are shaped by human-environment interactions.
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