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Dr. Selena Ahmed

TEACRS Postdoctoral Fellow

My research and teaching interests are in human-environment interactions in the context of biodiversity conservation, management, agriculture, climate change and human wellbeing. I have conducted research in forest-dwelling communities in the Venezuelan Amazon, Indian Himalaya, Belize, Dominican Republic, Anti-Atlas Mountains of Morocco and southwestern China.

As a TEACRS Postdoctoral Fellow at Tufts University, I have initiated an interdisciplinary project on the impact of climate change on tea growth and phytochemical quality in China and associated farmer and consumer perceptions. This project is a collaborative effort with faculty and students in the Departments of Biology and Chemistry and the Schools of Engineering and Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts. I am conducting field studies and controlled experiments to manipulate precipitation and temperature events to anticipate how climate change will affect tea growth and quality. I am also administering surveys in tea-producing areas to document farmer perceptions of climate variability and associated resource management decisions and adaptations. This work builds on my previous research on management practices, plant species richness, genetic diversity and phytochemical quality associated with variable tea production systems in China’s southwestern Yunnan Province.

My current research on climate effects on tea quality is supported by: (i) TEACRS Postdoctoral Fellowship; (ii) a Tufts Collaborates! Seed Grant and, (iii) Program 111 in Ethnobiology at Minzu University of China / Chinese Ministry of Education.

View a slideshow of photographs of my study area in southwestern China taken by photographer Michael Freeman for our book Tea Horse Road: China’s Ancient Trade Road to Tibet (2011). This slideshow was featured in a recent Tufts Now story, "Steeped in Tradition."


Peer-Reviewed Research Papers

  1. Ahmed, Selena; Peters, Charles M; Chunlin, Long; Myer, Rachel; Unachukwu, Uchenna; Litt, Amy; Kennelly, Edward; Stepp, John Richard. 2012. Biodiversity and Phytochemical Quality in Indigenous and State-Supported Tea Management Systems of Yunnan, China. Conservation Letters. 5 (5) (In press; Published online ahead of print)
  2. Stoeckle, Mark; Gamble, Catherine; Kirpekar, Rohan; Young, Grace; Ahmed, Selena; Little, Damon. 2011. Commercial Teas Highlight Plant DNA Barcode Identification Successes and Obstacles. Scientific Reports. 1(42)
    Open Access: http://www.nature.com/srep/2011/110721/srep00042/full/srep00042.html
  3. Yang, Lixin; Stepp, John Richard; Ahmed, Selena; Shenji, Pei; Dayuan, Xue. 2011. The Role of Montane Forests for Indigenous Dongba Papermaking in the Naxi Highlands of Northwest Yunnan, China. Mountain Research and Development. 31 (4)
    Open Access: http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1659/MRD-JOURNAL-D-11-00035.1
  4. Ahmed, Selena; Stepp, John Richard; Toleno, Robban; Peters, Charles M. 2010. Increased Market Integration, Value, and Ecological Knowledge of Tea Agro-forests in the Akha Highlands of Southwest China. Ecology and Society. 15 (4): 27
    Open Access: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol15/iss4/art27/main.html
  5. Ahmed, Selena; Unachukwu, Uchenna; Stepp, John Richard; Peters, Charles M.; Chunlin, Long; Kennelly, Edward. 2010. Pu-erh Tea Tasting in Yunnan, China: Correlation of Drinkers’ Perceptions to Phytochemistry. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 132: 176-185
  6. Unachukwu, Uchenna; Ahmed, Selena; Kavalier, Adam; Lyles, James; Kennelly, Edward. 2010. Variation of Phenolic and Methylxanthine Composition and Anti-oxidant Activity among White and Green Teas (Camellia sinensis var. sinensis (L.) Kuntze Theaceae). Journal of Food Science. 75 (6): C541 – C548
  7. Long, Chunlin; Ahmed, Selena; Wang, Xiaorong; Liu, Yitao; Long, Bo; Yang, Chunyan; Shi,Yana; Li, Xingyu, Guo, Rong. 2008. Why Musella lasiocarpa (Musaceae) is used in Southwest China to Feed Pigs. Economic Botany. 62 (2)

Books and Book Chapters

  1. Ahmed, Selena; Stepp, John Richard. 2012. Green Tea: The Plants, Processing, Manufacturing and Production. In: Preedy, Victor. Ed. Tea in Health and Disease Prevention. Academic Press, Elsevier Science and Technology, Missouri. In press
  2. Ahmed, Selena; Stepp, John Richard. 2011. Pu-erh Tea: Botany, Production, and Chemistry. In: Preedy, Victor. Ed. Tea in Health and Disease Prevention. Academic Press, Elsevier Science and Technology, Missouri. In press
  3. Ahmed, Selena. 2012. Review of the Clinical Evidence on Weight Loss and Tea Consumption. In: Preedy, Victor. Ed. Tea in Health and Disease Prevention. Academic Press, Elsevier Science and Technology, Missouri. In press
  4. Freeman, Michael; Ahmed, Selena. 2011. Tea Horse Road: China’s Ancient Trade Road to Tibet. River Books Ltd. Bangkok, Thailand.

Magazine Articles and Other

  1. Ahmed, Selena; Freeman, Michael. 2012. Pu-erh Tea and the Southwest Silk Road: An Ancient Quest for Wellbeing. Specialty Tea is Hot Report; 7th Edition (Reprint)
  2. Ahmed, Selena. 2012. An Edible Educational Journey. Earth and Environmental Sciences Newsletter, Northeastern University
  3. Ahmed, Selena; Freeman, Michael. 2011. Pu-erh Tea and the Southwest Silk Road: An Ancient Quest for Wellbeing. Herbal Gram; Summer 2011: 90 (Cover Story)
  4. Ahmed, Selena. Ask Tufts Experts Column. Health & Nutrition Letter. September 2011 (Reprint)
  5. Ahmed, Selena. May 26th 2011. Ask the Expert Column. Tufts Now, Tufts University website
  6. Ahmed, Selena. May 18, 2011. Plant Talk. New York Botanical Garden website
  7. Ahmed, Selena. April 28, 2011. News From the Field. Antique Collectors Club Book Distribution website
  8. Ahmed, Selena; Blumberg, Jeff. 2011. Eggs and Evidence-Based Nutrition in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. Nutrition Close-Up Newsletter; Winter/Spring 2011
  9. Ahmed, Selena. 2008. A Cup of Diversity: Learning from the Farmers of Forest Tea-Gardens. Resurgence. 250, Indigenous Intelligence Issue for the 2008 World Conservation Congress