Kate S. Boersma

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Kate Boersma

I grew up in Chicago and attended Northwestern University before moving to Portland, Oregon. For three years, I worked for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and then I entered a Master's program at the Hatfield Marine Science Center at Oregon State University in Newport, Oregon. Immediately after finishing my Master's degree, I am currently in the doctoral program in Zoology at Oregon State University. I currently spend nine months a year in Oregon and three months conducting fieldwork in Arizona at the Southwestern Research Station and http://www.nps.gov/chir/index.htm, creating a nice balance of sunshine and rain.

I became a scientist because of the questions! The world is constantly changing, and there will always be new questions to address. Additionally, it is wonderful to be in a field that encourages me to pursue creative ideas, travel to interesting places and meet inspiring people.

I study how predator extinctions and dispersal behavior affect community structure in fragmented habitats. The aquatic insect inhabitants of intermittent desert streams act as my study system. I became interested in fragmentation and dispersal in the context of marine reserve design during my post-baccalaureate and masters work. However, after meeting colleagues researching in desert streams, I realized that this was an ideal system for addressing my theoretical questions; the habitats are naturally fragmented, and dispersal among patches is limited.

In my spare time, yoga, hiking and gardening take up most of my non-academic time, and this year I hope to learn to sew … .

I am a member of ASN because the society and The American Naturalist represent the direction I would like my career to follow. My work lies at the intersection of community and behavioral ecology, and therefore I believe that it is important to foster a community of researchers whose common goal is synthesis across disciplines. ASN provides the perfect antidote to the lure of over-specialization by bridging distinct fields of science.


Oregon State University
Graduate Student
ASN Member Since:
2007