PhD Candidate, supervised by Professor Andrew Balmford,
Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge
Erasmus is a PhD student in the Department of Zoology and he interested in how we can reduce the environmental impact of agriculture - in particular, meeting the growing demand for meat and dairy products while minimising impacts on biodiversity and the environment. He has ongoing projects evaluating sustainable pathways for beef and soy production in Brazil, and pork production in the EU and China.
Livestock products provide one-third of all protein consumed by man, but have a substantial and increasing environmental impact. Livestock production occupies 30% of the planet’s land, produces 14.5% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and drives deforestation and biodiversity loss in the tropics, through the expansion of cropland and pasture for animal feed.
Areas of interest include the environmental impacts of alternative animal feed sources (e.g. food waste or insects), the environmental and economic trade-offs incurred in different meat and dairy production systems, and the efficacy of and potential for government- or market-led interventions, such as the Brazilian Cattle Agreement and Soy Moratorium, to reduce the impacts of agricultural production.
He qualified as a veterinarian from the University of Cambridge before beginning a BBSRC-funded MRes and PhD program in food security in October 2013. During his veterinary degree he spent one year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and worked as a research assistant on the Conservation Evidence initiative (www.conservationevidence.com), collecting and summarising information on the efficacy of bird conservation interventions. He also completed undergraduate research projects at the Cornell Laboratory of Reproductive Biology and the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, where he worked on finch trichomonosis, an emerging infectious disease of European garden birds.