Marina LaForgia

Profile

  • Time Zone
    Pacific

  • Organization
    UC Davis

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I work primarily in California annual grasslands but I am broadly interested in community ecology and population dynamics. My research questions focus on understanding how species interactions alter an organism’s response to the abiotic environment through indirect effects as well as how populations persist under a variable climate through specialized life history strategies such as seed banks. I'm also interested in how projected increases in climate variability feeds into these, affecting both species interactions and persistence. I currently have three projects: a natural experiment that involves watering soil cores to characterize the seed bank of an annual grassland before and after the recent extreme drought, a manipulative field experiment that alters rainfall and grass presence to understand the effect of competition and climate on native forb, and a modeling project that seeks to forecast native forb population response to future climate variability.

  • Profile Question 1
    What is the coolest thing you have discovered or learned about plants?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    The coolest thing I have learned about plants is how they are able to stay dormant in the soil as seeds for years. There have been many studies where seeds that are over 100 years old have been successfully germinated. In fact, the oldest known seed that was germinated and grown into a full plant that produced viable seeds was 32,000 years old.

  • Profile Question 2
    What is a typical day like for you?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    My typical day depends on the time of year. Currently the majority of my time is spent analyzing data in R, with about an hour or 2 reserved for email. I also typically have at least one meeting per day, either with my advisor, other faculty members, or current collaborators. If I am gearing up for a new field season I spend most of my day in the lab coordinating undergraduates, prepping seeds, and grabbing any last minute field equipment. During my field season I am typically out in my study site 2-3 days every 2 weeks, where I track germination, mortality, and flowering in native wildflower populations.

  • Profile Question 3
    Can you describe your attitude toward science when you were in high school?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    When I was in high school I loved science, particularly ecology. Unfortunately I was not aware of any resources that would help me talk to people in that field of work so I thought of my love of ecology as more of an interest rather than a career. I had a very limited view of what a career in any science would be, I mostly pictured men in lab coats, though what they actually did I couldn't say. When I chose my college major, I actually decided to study economics, simply because that seemed more rational for whatever future career I would eventually pursue. I wish someone had told me about how varied and multifaceted a career in science could actually be.

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

  • In addition to English, I am comfortable communicating with students in the following languages:
    (not set)

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?
    2

Skills & Endorsements

  • No skills have been endorsed yet.