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Megan O'Rourke

Associate Professor
Megan O'Rourke
401D Saunders Hall
Blacksburg, Va. 24061


I am an agroecologist in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences.  I seek to develop innovative crop production strategies that minimize pesticide use and promote on-farm conservation.  Most of my research is field oriented and conducted on-farm with farmer collaborators. I maintain research projects in the U.S. and S.E. Asia. My preference is to collaborate with interdisciplinary teams and to explore the human dimensions and policy implications of the research.


  • Agroecology
  • Ecosystem Services
  • Pollinator Conservation
  • Landscape Ecology


  • Ph.D. Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University
  • M.S. Entomology; Agronomy, Iowa State University
  • B.S. Biology, Stony Brook University

Research areas of interest include: ecosystem services, ecological pest management, pollinator conservation, and climate change. Recent research projects include:

  1. Developing integrated pest management strategies for vegetables in Cambodia, Nepal, and Bangladesh; 
  2. Modeling the impacts of landscape diversity and pollinator habitats on the production of collards, tomatoes, strawberries, and squash; 
  3. Integrating wildflowers into pasture systems to conserve pollinators; and 
  4. Using drones for wildflower surveys.
  • ALS 3404: Ecological Agriculture

Associate Professor of Agroecology | 2019-present
School of Plant & Environmental Sciences
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Assistant Professor of Agroecology | 2013-2019
Department of Horticulture
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Senior Environment Advisor | 2012-2013
AAAS Science & Technology Policy International Fellow
USAID Cambodia

Agricultural Climate Change Advisor | 2010-2012
AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

  • U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Science & Engineering (PECASE), 2019
  • VT College of Agriculture Global Scholar, 2018
  • Fralin Life Sciences Young Investigator Award, 2015
  1. Dainese M, Martin EA, Aizen M, Albrecht M, Bartomeus I, Bommarco R, Carvalheiro LG, Chaplin-Kramer R, Gagic V, Garibaldi LA, Ghazoul J. O’Rourke, M.E. et al. (2019). A global synthesis reveals biodiversity-mediated benefits for crop production. Science Advances.
  2. Seman-Varner, R., Varco, J., and M.E. O’Rourke. 2019. Winter cover crop and fall-applied poultry litter effects on winter cover and soil nitrogen.  Agronomy Journal. 111: 1-9.
  3. O'Rourke, M.E. et al. (contributing author). 2019. Chapter 2.3 of the Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Status and Trends – Nature’s Contributions to People. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). 
  4. Malacrinò, A. Seng, K, An, C., Ong, S. and M.E. O’Rourke. 2019. Integrated Pest Management of yard long bean (Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis) in Cambodia. Crop Protection.
  5. Hossain M.S., Sarkar, B.C., Hossain, M.M., Mian, M.Y., O’Rourke, M.E., Rajotte, E.G. and R. Muniappan.  2019. Comparison of biorational management approaches against mango fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis Hendel) in Bangladesh.  Crop Protection.
  6. Chaplin-Kramer R, O'Rourke M.E., Zhang W, Robinson B, Schellhorn N, Gratton C, Rosenheim JA, Tscharntke T, Karp DS. 2019. Measuring what matters: actionable information for conservation biocontrol in multifunctional landscapes. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. 3:60.
  7. Angelella, G., Scoggins, H., Stange, L., and M.E. O’Rourke. 2019. Pollinator habitat establishment and conservation value: impacts of seedbed preparation, seed mixtures, and herbicides.  HortScience. 54: 445-451.
  8. Daniel S. Karp, Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, Timothy D. Meehan, Emily A. Martin, Fabrice DeClerck, Heather Grab, Claudio Gratton, Lauren Hunt, Ashley E. Larsen, Alejandra Martínez-Salinas, Megan E. O'Rourke, Adrien Rusch, Katja Poveda, Mattias Jonsson, Jay A. Rosenheim, Nancy A Schellhorn, Teja Tscharntke, Stephen D Wratten, Wei Zhang, et al. (2018). Crop pests and predators exhibit inconsistent responses to surrounding landscape composition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 115: 7863-7870.
  9. O’Rourke, M.E., Salvador, R., DeLonge, M. 2017. Insights from agroecology and a critical next step: integrating human health.  Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. 41: 880-884.
  10. O’Rourke, M.E., and M. Petersen. 2017. Extending the ‘resource concentration hypothesis’ to the landscape-scale by considering dispersal mortality and fitness costs.  Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment. 249: 1-3.
  11. Angelella, G., and M.E. O’Rourke. 2017. Pollinator habitat establishment following organic and no-till seedbed preparation methods. HortScience. 52: 1349-1355.
  12. Seman-Varner, R., Varco, J., and M.E. O’Rourke. 2017. Nitrogen benefits of winter cover crop and fall-applied poultry litter to corn. Agronomy Journal. 109: 1-8.
  13. O’Rourke, M.E., and J. Petersen. 2016.  Reduced tillage impacts on pumpkin yield, weed pressure, soil moisture, and soil erosion. HortScience. 51: 1524-1528.
  14. Tscharntke, T., D.S. Karp, R. Chaplin-Kramer, P. Batary, F. DeClerck, C. Gratton, A. Ives, M. Jonsson, A. Larsen, E. Martin, A. Martinez-Salinas, T.D. Meehan, M.E. O’Rourke, K. Poveda, J.A. Rosenheim, A. Rusch, N. Schellhorn, T.C. Wanger, S. Wratten, and W. Zhang. 2016.  When natural habitat fails to enhance biological pest control. Biological Conservation. 204: 449-458.
  15. Foust-Meyer, N., and M.E. O’Rourke. 2015. High tunnels for local food systems: subsidies, equity, and profitability.  Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. 5: 1-12.