Erika L. Rodríguez López

Erika L. Rodríguez López

Profile

Hi! My name is Erika Rodríguez, I’m a biologist from Mexico City. I did my undergraduate studies at the Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM) in Mexico. In those years, I became more interested in understanding ecological interactions between organisms and their environment. At the end of the programme, I graduated doing a research thesis on how to genetically differentiate a cacti population distributed across an alluvial fan with different soil properties and water stress conditions. It was very interesting to realise how genetics was able to detect the influence of environmental patterns in sexual and asexual recruitment and even the effect of ants foraging seeds.

By the end of this project, I was still very curious about understanding how ecosystem work, but the more I learnt, more visible became the impact of humans over their capacity to regenerate. I was further drawn to what I was able to do as a biologist, given the relentless rates of environmental degradation. Following this objective, I applied to study a MSc programme in Environment and Development. During this time, it turned evident that one of the main concerns regarding natural resources depletion and lost, is food production. In order to explore the topic a little more, I developed a research project about greenhouse gas emissions produced per yield in organic agriculture, and how they compared to those produced in its conventional counterpart. As expected, these emissions were higher when agrochemicals are used in the field.

Yet, it was sometime afterward when I started online courses about agroecology that I could broaden the concept of permaculture, an approach that produces food from perennial polycltures as an ideal way to stablish beneficial relationships between other species and us. Moreover, soils where perennial species remain productive might sequester carbon up to 5 times more than annual species, and in a permanent way, given that they promote their biodiversity and structural properties. I am currently working in this topic during my PhD project at the University of Leeds.

Research interests

I’m really concerned about the current environmental crisis, and how our eating patterns are affecting the capacity of ecosystems to regenerate and maintain our current food production system. Because of this, I aim to focus my career in agroecology, a sustainable approach that relieves hunger, strengthens food sovereignty, reduces water and soil pollution, increases ecosystems health and productivity, and adapts to the new environmental conditions. More specifically, I’m willing to learn how these principles apply to permaculture edible forests, how they sequester carbon soil, and help to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Qualifications

  • PhD student
  • MSc (with Merit) in Environment and Development, The University of Edinburgh
  • BSc in Biology, Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM)
  • Graduate Diploma in Agroecology for Sustainability, Autonomous University of Querétaro (UAQ)