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
I am a computational ecologist who uses approaches from data science to help solve problems in conservation, sustainability, and ecosystem management. I combine a background in physics and organismal ecology with influences from the tech sector and conservation NGOs to ask questions and build tools addressing problems in population ecology. I like insects, information theory, and practical answers to complex questions. I have published a surprising number of scientific papers about ladybugs.
I’m deeply into long-term contemporary ecology! I’m an associate scientist of the Long Term Ecological Research network out of the Kellogg Biological Station, and currently sit as Secretary for the Long Term Studies Section of the Ecological Society of America.
I also have strong interests in social justice in science, and believe that directly addressing diversity issues through technology and culture change benefits both scientists and science. I teach a course called Reproducible Quantitative Methods that touches on many of these topics.
Research Technician, Kent State University, Department of Biological Sciences, 2018-
B.S. Michigan State University, 2009, Environmental Biology/Zoology
I am the new lab manager and research technician in the Bahlai lab and am largely interested in how beneficial insect communities respond to changes in landscape and environment over time, especially under restoration and conservation efforts.
While attending Michigan State University, my fascination with the natural world developed into a passion for conservation, sustainability, and ecological problem solving. I began my professional career as the Landis Lab Manager in the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University, where my ever-increasing love of insects evolved into a deeper understanding of how beneficial insects shape ecosystem function and how changes in landscape composition affect these communities and the services they provide. This experience led me to my position here in the Bahlai lab, where I hope to put my knowledge to good use and make a lasting impact on many new projects on the horizon.
In addition to my love for the magical non-fictional world we live in, I am an avid reader of magical fiction and spend as much time with my nose buried in a book as I possibly can. As a Michigan native and life-long resident, I am very excited to be a new member of the Kent State University community and experience all of the new landscapes and natural features (and libraries!) that Ohio has to offer!
Master’s Student, Kent State University, Department of Biological Sciences, 2018-
B.S. Michigan State University, 2016, Environmental Biology/Zoology
I am an ecology Master’s student studying insect diversity in thin soil environments in the Great Lakes Region, including both natural and built environments (i.e. greenroofs). My broad interests include beneficial insects, conservation, and climate change. I am a Yooper who grew up on the shore of Lake Michigan in Escanaba, MI, thus my passion for the Lakes. I formed a curiosity for the natural world as a kid and continued to learn about it at Michigan State University while studying environmental biology, zoology and sustainability. The summer before my senior year I landed a job in the Landis Lab where my passion for insects began.
After undergrad I got the opportunity to work as an educational interpreter and caretaker for both insects and herps, go back to MSU and do work with native bees in the Isaacs Lab, and spend some time as a ski bum in Colorado. Now I’m very excited for my time here at Kent State!
PhD Student, Kent State University, Department of Biological Sciences, 2018-
B.S. The University of Akron, 2018, Biology
I’m a new Ecology and Evolutionary Biology PhD student in the Bahlai lab starting fall 2018. I received my Bachelors of Science in Biology from The University of Akron.
My research interests are broad and include using modeling systems to predict and track ecological patterns. I’m particularly interested in human disturbance effects on predator-prey systems and trophic cascades. I’m currently a part of a newly developed, multi-lab collaboration project called FoSTERing Citizen Science with Cuyahoga Valley National Park (or FoSTER). It includes the restoration of plots of deciduous forest within Ohio’s own Cuyahoga Valley National Park. My role within the Bahlai lab for this project is to help create and manage data infrastructure that will be used to store data and analyze patterns that emerge in measurements, taken by citizen scientists, of soil hydrology and composition, tree health, and wildlife activity. The topic of my dissertation is still being workshopped but with all of the opportunities that FoSTER offers I certainly have plenty of options to choose from.
I’m proud to be working in our state’s national park and helping to restore and conserve the ecosystems within it. With this project I am thrilled to become further involved in the Northeast Ohio community and help citizen scientists get involved with ongoing research!
I consider myself an intersectional feminist and social rights activist and do everything I can to stay involved in national and world events concerning groups of marginalization and oppression. I’m a consumer of mass media and am a self-proclaimed nerd of the realm of pop-culture. I have a fiancé whom I share my love of nerdom with, and we are the proud owners of an adorable two-year-old brown tabby cat named Albus.