I recently had the honor of being interviewed for Nature Careers. It was an exciting opportunity to talk about what it’s like working on Project Baseline and some of the challenges facing young scientists as we look for permanent jobs. You can find the article by following this link: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v523/n7562/full/nj7562-629a.html or by viewing the PDF in my “Documents” tab.
I am primarily interested in plant ecology and evolution. Of particular interest to me is how plants respond to disturbances such as the invasion of exotic plants, anthropogenic disturbances and pollution, and climate change on both the population and community level. I have diverse experience as a field ecologist and see the value in applied research with a solid foundation in basic scientific principles. My focus is on wildland systems because I think that it is important to understand how natural communities function and how they may respond to perturbations. These systems often bear the brunt of human activities and ecosystem and human health depends on their functionality.
As a postdoctoral scholar, I am working on a nation-wide project called Project Baseline with Susan Mazer at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The goal of this NSF-funded project is to create a research seed bank that will archive seeds of wild, geographically widespread species that can be used by future biologists to study the evolution of wild plant populations in response to environmental change.
In addition to research, I have a strong commitment to teaching and outreach. Throughout my career, I have consistently interacted with students and the public to increase awareness and understanding of the natural world. I believe that communicating information both within and outside of the scientific community are both important aspects of science.