Ivette Perfecto

George Willis Pack Professor


Ph.D. University of Michigan (ecology, natural resources)

M.S. University of Michigan (biology)

B.S. Universidad Sagrado Corazón, Puerto Rico (biology)

3541 Dana


Ivette Perfecto is the George W. Pack Professor of Ecology, Natural Resources and Environment. Her research focuses on biodiversity and arthropod-mediated ecosystem services in rural and urban agriculture. She also works on spatial ecology of the coffee agroecosystem and is interested more broadly on the links between small-scale sustainable agriculture, biodiversity and food sovereignty. She teaches Our Common Future (a course on globalization) (Environ 270), Diverse Farming Systems (SNRE 553), Field Ecology (SNRE 556). She is co-author of three books, Breakfast of Biodiversity,  Nature’s Matrix: Linking Agriculture, Conservation and Food Sovereignty, and Coffee Agroecology.

More specifically her lab is investigating how local level multi-species interactions generate autonomous pest control in agroecosystems using coffee agroforests as a model system. In collaboration with John Vandermeer (University of Michigan) and Stacy Philpott (University of California-Santa Cruz) they established a 45-hectare plot in a shaded organic coffee plantation in Chiapas, Mexico, and are conducting research on complex ecological interactions among pests, diseases and natural enemies. In collaboration with Luis Garcia-Barrios from ECOSUR-San Cristobal (Mexico) and John Vandermeer (University of Michigan), they are developing games to help farmers and students better understand ecological complexity in agroecosystems.  Another research project examines how local and landscape level factors affect diversity and ecosystem services (pollination and pest control) in urban gardens in Southeast Michigan.  More general interests include the role of the agricultural matrix in the conservation of biodiversity, food sovereignty and political ecology in the Global South, especially Latin America.


2015-2017 Curriculum Development in Sustainable Food Systems: Increasing Number and Diversity of Students in Sustainable Food Systems Studies (USDA-HEC Program) Robert Greses, Jenifer Blesh, Karen Peterson and Susan Aaronson, Co-PIs.

2014-2016 Generation of spatial pattern and consequences for the succession of a northeastern deciduous forest in Michigan (USDA-NIFA McIntire Stennis Program) John Vandermeer, Co-PI

2013-2014 Student engagement with the local and global food system (Third Century Initiative Award, UM)

2013-2015 Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (for David Gonthier): Causes and Consequences of Biodiversity in Coffee Agriculture (DDIG-NSF)

2012-2014 Urban Gardens: spontaneous generation of spatial pattern, consequences for ecosystem and human health (MCube Award, UM)


2015 Elected Fellow of the Ecological Society of America

2012 Elected member of the Scientific Council of the Regional Institute of Biodiversity (IRBIO) for Central America and the Dominican Republic (3 year appointment).

2011 Ecological Society of America Diversity Award (awarded by the Education and Human Resources Committee)

2010 Faculty Recognition Award (University of Michigan, university-wide award)

2009 George W. Pack Professorship (permanent endowed chair)

Select publications: 

Li*, K., J. Vandermeer and I. Perfecto. In Press. Agricultural intensification increases the spatial distribution of an endogenous biological control system through the mediating role of trees in a coffee agroecosystem. Royal Society Open Science.

Goulard, F., I. Perfecto, J. Vandermeer, D. Boucher, M. J. Chappell, G. Wilson Fernandez, A. Scariot, M. Correa Da Silva, W. L. Oliviera, R. Neville, J. Moor, M. Bustamante, S. Carvalho Ribeiro, B. Soares-Filho. In Press. The doubt promise of beef production to environmental conservation: Response to Oliveira Silva. Nature Climate Change.

James, T. Y., J. A. Marino, I. Perfecto and J. Vandermeer. 2016. Identification of coffee rust mycoparasites using single molecule DNA sequencing of infected pustules. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 82 (2): 631-636.

Maas, B. D. S. Karp, S. J. Bumrungsri, K. Darras, D. Gonthier*, J. C. –C. Huang, C. Lindell, J. Maine, L. Mestre, L. Michel, E. Morrison, I. Perfecto, S. M. Philpott, C. H. Sekercioglu, R. M. Silva, P. Taylor, T. Tscharntke, S. Van Bael, C. J. Whelan, and K. Williams-Guillén*. In press. Bird and bat predation services in tropical forestry and agroforestry landscapes. Biological Reviews. 

Marin*, L., S. M. Philpott, A. de la Mora, G. Ibarra, S. Tryban and I. Perfecto. 2016. Response of ground spiders to local and landscape factors in a Mexican coffee landscape. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 222: 80-92.

View more publications here.


Track Chair for the Environmental Issues and Environmental Justice Track for the Latin American Association (LASA) (2006).