Professor of Applied Ecology | North Carolina State University
Most of the living world remains poorly or totally unknown. In my lab we study the species around us in our everyday lives, species we tend to think of us as well known. Most of those species are not well known and so there are many things to discover in your backyard, in your bedroom, or even on your roommate. Some days I work to study these species myself, bending down to figure out whether the fungus on my neighbor’s foot is a new species. More often I spent my time working with students and other researchers to help along their own discoveries. I also write about the world around us, which is a chance to share the stories of the scientists who have devoted their lives to understanding species, organs, cells, genes or ecosystems that influence us every day. In my building alone I am surrounded by biologists who study prairie voles, rare butterflies, fish ovaries, dinosaurs with long, long, claws, the decisions we make when threatened with death, alcoholic fruitflies, fungus farming beetles, and much, much more. It is a good job, this thing called science, silly at times, serious at others, but nearly always good.