Michael James Remke


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    Mountain Studies Institute

  • Role
    Scientist Mentor: I will mentor teams of students online

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    My current research aims to better understand plant-soil organism interactions and how they vary across plant-species and climatic environments. We use common gardens to force plants to grow in novel environments, either with or without their natal soil organism communities. The work we do aims to improve restoration and conservation efforts in the face of dynamic climates and increasing pressure from human sprawl and development.

  • Profile Question 1
    When and why did you decide to go into a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    A career in the sciences to me was enthralling because of its dynamic nature. I have always been connecting with the outdoors, but science allowed me to use creativity to ask questions designed to better understand ecosystems. I was excited by the diversity of tools available to scientists and the idea that you rarely do the same experiment twice. My life is a scientist means I am always learning, growing, and asking new questions, which means I am always doing something new. Lastly, I believe that by being plant and ecosystem scientists, we are making the world a better place. We are better learning understanding how to diagnose the health of ecosystems and more importantly, better understanding what we can do to improve their health.

  • Profile Question 2
    What is your favorite plant? Why?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    I am quite found of Orchids. These plants are unique in that they have very low photosynthetic capabilities on their own, so instead they depend on a group of fungi, known as mycorrhizal fungi, that help them gather nutrients. The relationship is odd, because the fungi obtain carbon (the product of photosynthesis) from other plants and then give this carbon to the orchid. A strange form of parasitism that is poorly understood.

  • Profile Question 3
    What lessons have you learned in your career about how science works?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    Science is more about the question than the answer. Often, when we do experiments, we find a pattern that partially, but not fully supports our hypothesis. The way we conduct science allows us to use this new information to shape and refine our future questions, but rarely, if ever, do we actually find ultimate and clear answers. The beauty of this is we always progress and appreciate the intricate workings of complicated systems more. It is also important to not get frustrated when results show little to no effect or suggest our hypothesis was wrong or not important, rather, these patterns suggest that we perhaps asked the wrong question and should instead consider something else.

  • Availability
    I am currently available for mentoring, please send me team match invitations

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?

Skills & Endorsements

  • No skills have been endorsed yet.