Melis Akman

Profile

  • Time Zone
    Pacific

  • Organization
    UC Berkeley

  • Employment Status
    (not set)

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    My main research interest is to understand the evolutionary and ecological mechanisms that lead to functional and phylogenetic diversity; specifically by studying the genetic basis of diverse and important adaptations in flowering plants in relation to the environments they inhabit. By better understanding the causes and consequences of these adaptations, my long-term research goal is to improve predictions of plant distributions in future climate scenarios.

  • 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):
    I have always been amazed by the variation we see around us. During secondary school I decided I wanted to pursue a science career because all the science classes I took made me very curious and want to learn more. At high school, after I learned about Darwin's theories, I knew that I wanted to study biology. It was not before my university graduation that I knew I wanted to work on plants as they appeared mysterious and often ignored despite their importance.

  • Profile Question 2
    Can you share a funny/interesting lab or field story?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    I was sampling plants in South Africa at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. And I was planning on finishing my sampling in a total of 3 weeks. At the end of my first week, I saw a very large snake, staring at me. I am not particularly scared of snakes but I knew that there would be some venomous ones there, so I asked the rangers to be sure. They assured me that it was a harmless tree snake. "Ok." I said and continued my usual sampling. The next day I saw a more experienced ranger who approached me and asked if I was the one who saw the snake. I nodded and he said that it was a Cape cobra and if he ever bites me I should shout as load as possible so the rangers can hear and save me. I finished my sampling that very week, 1 week ahead of my plans thanks to that snake. I am grateful to him for giving me more time to hang around in Cape Town. I never reached that sampling speed again in any of my experiments.

  • Profile Question 3
    What is best about being a scientist?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    You get to see many amazing creatures, places and meet awesome people who do their jobs with great commitment and joy.

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?
    1

Skills & Endorsements

  • Challenges Student Thinking
    Barbara A Zemcik
  • Encouraging
    Barbara A Zemcik
  • Experienced
    Barbara A Zemcik
  • Knowledgeable
    Barbara A Zemcik
  • Responsive
    Barbara A Zemcik