Montana State University

Health & Human Development

Montana State University
P.O. Box 173540
Bozeman, MT 59717-3540

Tel: (406) 994-3242
Fax: (406) 994-2013
Location: 218 Herrick Hall

HHD Undergraduate Advising Office

Tel: (406) 994-4001
Fax: (406) 994-6314
Location: 121 Hosaeus PE Complex

Department of Health & Human Development

SFBS 146 Intro Sust Food/Bioenergy Sys
SFBS 298 Internship
SFBS 3xx Innovation Food Sys: Farm to Molecular Gastronomy
SFBS 491 Food System Resilience, Vulner, Transform
SFBS 498 Internship
SFBS 552 State of Environment: Pol, Mgmt, Prac


Selena Ahmed, PhD

Assistant Professor and Program Leader
Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems

301B Romney Gym
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717-3360 | 406.994.5640

My research program examines the effects of global environmental change, policy and management on food system quality and the resulting linkages to land-use strategies and community wellbeing. I have conducted research in China, India, Morocco, Venezuela, Belize, the Dominican Republic and the USA. Since 2003, I have been assessing indigenous food production and consumption systems as case studies to explore complex human-environment interactions. My focal study system is tea agro-forestry in China’s Yunnan Province. More recently, I have started to evaluate the effects of global environmental change on sugar maple quality in eastern USA and local and alternative food systems in Montana. My research is grounded in socio-ecological and chemical ecology theory and incorporates a range of methods including biodiversity inventories; farmer surveys on knowledge, management, decision-making and livelihoods; consumer sensory analysis; ethno-epidemiological surveys on dietary preventative healthcare; manipulative greenhouse experiments; phytochemical profiling of botanical quality and; crop genetic analysis. The ultimate goal of this work is to inform evidence-based management plans and policy to mitigate risk in food systems.

Programs and Research Projects

I have support from federal, institutional, and foreign awards including:

  • NSF Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems Large Interdisciplinary Research Project (NSF CNH BCS-1313775)
  • Montana IdEA Networks for Biomedical Excellence Grant
  • Chinese Ministry of Education’s Program 111 Award

Selected Publications

  1. Ahmed, S; Peters, CM; Chunlin, L; Meyer, R; Unachukwu, U; Litt, A; Kennelly, E; Stepp, JR. 2013. Biodiversity and Phytochemical Quality in Indigenous and State-Supported Tea Management Systems of Yunnan, China. Conservation Letters. 5 (6): 28-36
  2. Stoeckle, M; Gamble, C; Kirpekar, R; Young, G; Ahmed, S; Little, D. 2011. Commercial Teas Highlight Plant DNA Barcode Identification Successes and Obstacles. Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). 1 (42) DOI: 10.1038/srep00042
  3. Ahmed, S; Stepp, JR; Toleno, R; Peters, CM. 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
  4. Ahmed, S; Unachukwu, U; Stepp, JR; Peters, CM.; Chunlin, L; Kennelly, E. 2010. Pu-erh Tea Tasting in Yunnan, China: Correlation of Drinkers’ Perceptions to Phytochemistry. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 132: 176-185
  5. Unachukwu, U; Ahmed, S; Kavalier, A; Lyles, J; Kennelly, E. 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

Selected Outreach Publications

  1. Freeman, M; Ahmed, S. 2011. Tea Horse Road: China’s Ancient Trade Road to Tibet. River Books Ltd. Bangkok, Thailand. (Large format book; 340 pages; 1.6 x 11.9 x 11.8 inches; 6.3 pounds)
  2. Ahmed, Selena; Herforth, Anna. 2013. Future Food: Use Local Knowledge. Nature 499 (409) (Correspondence)
  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; Blumberg, Jeff. 2011. Eggs and Evidence-Based Nutrition in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. Nutrition Close-Up Newsletter; Winter/Spring 2011
  5. 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