Robert Gooding-Townsend is a master’s student in mathematical biology working under the supervision of Chris Bauch and Madhur Anand. Prior to his graduate work, he completed concurrent Bachelors’ of Knowledge Integration and Applied Mathematics at the University of Waterloo. His primary research area is forest dynamics and models of land cover change. Current models of the forest transition – in which countries move from net deforestation to net forest cover gain – focus on economic factors. However, forests also have ecological feedback mechanisms, which have had a lesser role in existing models. Incorporating these feedbacks into models of land cover change shows that there may be unforeseen threshold effects in this complex system.
Previous research interests include synthetic biology, models of the dynamics of scientific communities, and investigations into the practice of interdisciplinarity. His interest in the role of science in society extends beyond academics as well. He is the Science in Society editor for the blogging platform Science Borealis, a runner-up of the Canadian Science Policy Conference’s Youth Policy Award, and an amateur science comedian.