10th June 2019 – Chelsea Little, Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology)

Chelsea LittleHi there! I’m Chelsea Little. I just finished my PhD in Ecology at the University of Zurich, and during this time I was based at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. I will start a postdoctoral research position at the University of British Columbia in the fall. My journey to where I am now included an REU project as an undergrad, a stint as a research technician, and an international Erasmus masters program in Europe, after a detour through semi-professional ski racing. There’s no one “right” path to becoming a scientist!

I have a hard time defining what kind of ecologist because I have worked in a lot of study systems and am interested in many different aspects of ecology and evolution. However, all of the research I do is related to community ecology. I use this and connect to ecosystem processing of carbon and nutrients, to evolutionary biology, and to applied topics like climate change and invasive species. My PhD work was with macroinvertebrate communities in the streams and rivers of Eastern Switzerland. Before that, I worked in plant communities in the subalpine zones of the Colorado Rockies and in northern Sweden, the oak savanna of the Pacific Northwestern U.S., the alpine zone of the Swiss Alps, and the tundra of Svalbard.  I’ve also worked with colleagues on experiments using protozoans in model communities, as well as gathering data from other researchers to use in meta-analyses and reviews. What aspects of ecology do you want to talk about? I’m excited to share my experience and to chat!

Outside of my working life, I am an avid runner, hiker, and cross-country skier – being outside is part of why I became an ecologist in the first place. I also love to travel, cook, and read lots of books. I’ll use part of my time as a host to discuss work-life balance, hobbies, outdoor adventures, grad school life, living outside your home country, and feminism in science.

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