Dr. Christie Bahlai
Assistant Professor, Kent State University, Department of Biological Sciences, 2017-
Ph.D. University of Guelph, 2012, Environmental Biology
Mozilla Fellow for Science 2015-2016
Christie Bahlai is a computational ecologist who uses approaches from data science to help solve problems in conservation, sustainability, and ecosystem management. She combines a background in physics and organismal ecology with influences from the tech sector and conservation NGOs to addressing problems in population ecology. She likes insects, information theory, and practical answers to complex questions. Her current research focusses on developing tools to support information synthesis in temporal ecology.
Christie has strong interests in social justice in science, and believes that directly addressing diversity issues through technology and culture change benefits both scientists and science. She teaches a course called Reproducible Quantitative Methods that touches on many of these topics.
Lab Manager and Research Technician
Research Technician, Kent State University, Department of Biological Sciences, 2018-
MLIS Student, Kent State University, School of Information, 2019-
B.S. Michigan State University, 2009, Environmental Biology/Zoology
Julia is the lab manager and research technician in the Bahlai lab and is a graduate student in the iSchool here at Kent State working towards her MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science). As a long-time member of the scientific community, Julia combines her knowledge and experience in the sciences with everything she’s learning in the MLIS program. As a graduate student on the Youth Engagement Pathway, Julia builds science literacy in her community through effective and engaging programming and collaborations with community organizations. Connecting children and teens to the diverse array of available outdoor spaces in their communities, whether natural or highly urbanized, is a major tenant of this goal. In her free time, she loves to hike, swim, and just exist in nature, adventuring around both new and long-treasured places, spend time with her friends and family, and read. In addition to her love for the magical non-fictional world we live in, she is an avid reader of magical fiction and spends much of her time buried within the pages of a book. She is a proud nerd as well as a geek and loves sharing her passions with others.
PhD Student, Kent State University, Department of Biological Sciences, 2018-
B.S. Michigan State University, 2016, Environmental Biology/Zoology
Katherine (Katie) Manning is an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology PhD candidate. She studies insect ecology in urban and natural systems, with a focus on investigating the effect of frame-of-reference on scientific findings, especially in terms of insect collection methodology. Her dissertation work explores this with field work on green roofs and natural analogs, biodiversity monitoring calibration, and literature-based work examining insect population trends. She is experienced in the areas of beneficial insects, native bees, insect biodiversity, living architecture, ecosystem services, community and urban ecology.
Past positions include research assistantships in several labs at MSU – Dr. Rufus Issacs (Entomology), Dr. Doug Landis (Entomology), and Dr. Richard Hill (Integrative Biology), as well as staff entomologist and educator at the Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House and Insect World.
In addition to research, she enjoys taking on roles within the university to advocate for fellow grad students by serving on the university’s Graduate Student Senate and the department’s Biology Graduate Student Council.
PhD Student, Kent State University, Department of Biological Sciences, 2018-
B.S. The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, 2018, Biology
Christian’s research focuses on using citizen science to answer broader questions regarding the distribution, abundance, phenology and natural history of odonates (damselflies and dragonflies). She is currently analyzing factors impacting usage and accuracy of citizen science, with particular interest in underserved and/or rural regions. Her broad research interests include biostatistics, entomology, and wetland ecology.
Christian received her BSc from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, where she studied Biology.
Lama Tawk Cota
Ph.D. Student, Kent State University, Department of Biological Sciences, 2019-
M.L.A. Kent State University, 2019, Landscape Architecture
M.S. American University of Beirut, 2014, Environmental Sciences
In her current work at the Bahlai Lab, Lama is investigating green roofs ecosystems and landscape designs for their potential to inspire and improve the function of urban ecological systems. With a background in landscape architecture and environmental sciences, Lama is pursuing her doctoral studies to advance science within design practice. Moreover, she is working closely with the Novel Ecology and Design Lab, and looking into natural ecosystems’ transferability onto living architecture. Born in the United States, she has resided and practiced landscape architecture in California, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Ohio. She is the author of many ecological maps and the proud member of the World Bank’s Women for Resilient Cities Network. Having spent her childhood on the beaches and ski slopes of California and Lebanon, thinking about how her hometowns are changing due to climate change keeps her up at night.
Ph.D. Student, Kent State University, Department of Biological Sciences, 2020-
B.S. Zoology – May 2020
Harlee is a PhD student in the Her PhD project focuses on how we can measure biodiversity responses to restoration in a sustainable way, specifically through insect monitoring. Through her project, she will be working alongside the Forest, Soils, and Trees Ecosystem Restoration (FoSTER) project in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Northeastern Ohio. She wants to make strides in understanding the impact of human interaction/restoration practices on insect communities as well as assessing how we can measure the insect communities. Through her work, Harlee uses the latest tech to build more automated, cheaper and easier to use biodiversity sampling methods. In her research, Harlee tests the efficacy of non-lethal camera trapping methods with model-based classification algorithms in comparison to classic methods of insect trapping.
Research Technician, Kent State University, Department of Biological Sciences
2019 Botany Instructor, Adjunct Faculty, Kent State University, Department of Biological Sciences
2017-2019 M.Sc. University of Guelph, 2006, Botany
I am a research technician in the Bahlai lab, and a botanist specializing in Great Lakes habitats. I am the person who, during a meeting of zoologists, will always ask, “but what about the plants?”. As such, I help members of the Bahlai lab broaden their understanding of the ecological interactions in their study systems. I help anyone in the lab or department with research planning, field work, and lab experiments.
I have spent nearly 25 years working in conservation and restoration biology as partof the American Chestnut Recovery Team in Canada, the Cliff Ecology Research Group at the University of Guelph and as a Conservation Biologist for the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Midwestern Ontario. I have also worked in pollination biology (bee, ant, and wind) and as part of the International Barcode of Life Consortium (exploring DNA barcoding of plants).
I am currently testing how to use citizen science as well as automated data collection to characterize changes in plant, insect, bird, and bat communities at wildand disturbed habitats in North-East Ohio.
I am a type of Canadian called a “Guelphite”, meaning I am from Guelph, Ontario, Canada. I enjoy looking at birds, bugs, and plants (especially weeds), as well as spending time with my friends and family.