Thomas Cherico WANGER, Ph.D.

School of Engineering

Sustainability, Agriculture & Technology Laboratory

CONTACT

Email: tomcwanger@westlake.edu.cn

Website: https://tomcwanger.wixsite.com/sat-lab

Thomas Cherico WANGER, Ph.D.

School of Engineering

Sustainability, Agriculture & Technology Laboratory

CONTACT

Email: tomcwanger@westlake.edu.cn

Website: https://tomcwanger.wixsite.com/sat-lab

“The ‘five time why’ technique can provide solutions to seemingly inextricable problems. However, you need mentors and collaborators to point you towards such a technique, and the freedom, resources, and momentum to implement your solutions. At Westlake University, you find outstanding scientists from different disciplines, eager to discuss innovative ideas freely, and willing to implement great work together. With this ‘collaborative can do’ attitude, Westlake University will become a leading research and education institution in China and internationally. It is fantastic to be part of this exciting endeavor!”


Biography

Tom  Wanger is an interdisciplinary scientist, working broadly on  sustainable natural resource use and land-use change at multiple spatial  scales. Tom is a graduate from the University of Adelaide, Australia  jointly with the National University of Singapore, Singapore (PhD,  Environmental Sciences) and former Postdoc at Stanford University, US  and SLU, Sweden. In the past, he received multiple awards for example  for his work on land-use change impacts on biodiversity in Indonesia. He  is a ‘Researcher’ in the Agroecology Group at the University of  Göttingen, Germany and is the ‘Director of Research’ of AMAP, Germany  & Brazil. Besides his career in research, he held senior management  positions in international organizations and a technology start-up. Tom joined Westlake University in December 2019 as an Associate Professor  and PI of the “Sustainability, Agriculture, and Technology” lab.

 

Research

The United Nation Sustainable Development Goals  are the roadmap of how to address global challenges such as climate  change, biodiversity loss and agricultural land use change. These  challenges are all intertwined and solutions require a holistic,  collaborative, and multi-disciplinary approach.


Take  agricultural land use change for example. The growing demands on  agricultural yields to secure the required food, fibre, and bioenergy  leads not only to benefits for governments, corporations, and farmers,  but also to environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. These  trade-offs between economic, social, and ecological factors are modified  by climate change and are critical determinants of crop production  strategies and the required area. For example, the choice of chemical  inputs (i.e., fertilizers and pesticides) determines the amount of pests  in a system, resulting crop yields, income structures of farmers, but  also agricultural impacts on ecosystem services such as pollination.


The ‘Sustainability, Agriculture, and Technology’ lab is  an international team striving for excellence. Our work is global, we  embrace new technologies and methods, and we collaborate openly based on  innovative thinking. Specifically, we will focus on:


i) Ecological, social, and economic trade-offs in different agricultural production systems.  We are working on project sites in Brazil, Ghana, Indonesia, and China  to assess landscape-level effects of cocoa and rice production systems  on the environment and people. Besides ecological monitoring and  socioeconomic surveys, we are interested in understanding human health  effects of different agricultural production systems. To work on  different agricultural systems, we are building on our existing and new  collaborations in China and internationally.


ii) Opportunities in novel agricultural production systems. What  is the potential for future agricultural production systems in the  oceans, space, deserts, or in cities? Which challenges do we need to  overcome and where does it make sense to start production systems  considering our ecological, social, and economic trade-off approach?  Westlake University and in particular our affiliation with the School of  Engineering makes this an extremely exciting endeavor.


iii) Developing technology to address the above questions. We  are also interested in new technology that lets us achieve these former  two points. How can we automate pollinator detection in Brazil? Can we  extrapolate our findings from rice production systems in China to other  parts of the world? These questions require close collaborations with  technology experts, ideally within the lab.


We are also excited about pursuing high potential side projects, sometimes unrelated to our three focal areas.

If you are interested in becoming a student in our lab or if you want to discuss research opportunities as a PostDoc or (Senior) Researcher, it would be great to hear from you!

Please  send a cover letter (including your experience, motivation to join the  lab, and an idea you want to pursue), and an updated CV in a single pdf  file to Tom Wanger (tomcwanger@westlake.edu.cn).

 

Representative Publications

1. L Kehoe, et al. Wanger TC, .et al. Make EU trade with Brazil sustainable. Science 364, 341, 2019.

2. TC Wanger, Traill L, Cooney R, Rhodes JR, Tscharntke T. Trophy hunting certification. Nature Ecology and Evolution. 1, 1791-1793, 2017

3. TC Wanger, Tscharntke T, Schroth G, Klein A. Cocoa shortfall: Pollination curbs climate risk to cocoa. Nature 511, 155, 2014

4. TC Wanger, Darras K, Bumrungsri S, Klein A, Tscharntke T. Bat pest control contributes to food security in Thailand. Biological Conservation 171, 220-223, 2014

5. LA Garibaldi, et al. Wanger TC, Westphal C, Williams N, Klein A. Wild pollinators enhance fruit set of crops worldwide regardless of honey bee abundance. Science. 339, 1608-1611, 2013

6. T Tscharntke, Clough C, Jackson L, Motzke I, Perfecto I, Vandermeer J, Wanger TC,  Whitbread A. Global food security, biodiversity conservation and the  future of agricultural intensification. Invited MS for Special Issue in Biological Conservation 151, 53-59, 2012

7. J Fischer, et al., Wanger TC, Wehrden H. Conservation: limits of land sparing. Science 334, 593, 2011

8. Y Clough, Barkmann J, Juhrbandt J, Kessler M, Wanger TC, et al. Combining high biodiversity with high yields in tropical agroforests. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science – USA 108, 8311-8316, 2011

9. T Tscharntke, et al., Wanger TCMultifunctional shade-tree management in tropical agroforestry landscapes – a review. Journal of Applied Ecology 48, 619-629, 2011

10. TC Wanger. The Lithium future – resources, recycling, and the environment. Conservation Letters 4, 202-206, 2011

 

For further information please see Tom’s Google Scholar profile.