Marney E. Isaac

Assistant Professor of Environmental Sciences


marney-isaac---webMarney Isaac, Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Agroecosystems & Development, conducts interdisciplinary research on plant strategies and the nutrient economy of agroecological systems while concurrently charting the human dimension of agroecosystem management. Her research provides insights into the ecological principles, nutrient cycles, and plant-soil interactions that govern the structure and function of agricultural landscapes, with particular attention on identification of strategies for environmental services, system resilience and sustainable livelihoods. Her research approach makes use of a diverse set of technical tools and employs various temporal and spatial scales: from mechanistic manipulative trials at the rhizosphere scale to large agroecosystem dynamics. She also supervises an international research program investigating agrarian management networks and environmental governance, with an emphasis on understanding innovation in large social-agroecological systems. She has published widely in environmental science, agronomic and multi-disciplinary journals including Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, Agronomy for Sustainable Development and Ecology and Society.

Research Statement

Innovative approaches to agricultural land management can minimize the environmental and economic risks associated with unprecedented levels of soil degradation, fertilizer use and land use change. These challenges are magnified by a global need for improved food security and a rising interest in ecosystem services. Research conducted in the Isaac Lab addresses these challenges by examining biophysical interactions and agroecosystem function in modified and diversified landscapes, particularly agroforestry systems. Our research group also illustrates the social-environmental interactions at play in such landscapes with a critical examination of socio-spatial dynamics of land management.