American Society of Naturalists

A membership society whose goal is to advance and to diffuse knowledge of organic evolution and other broad biological principles so as to enhance the conceptual unification of the biological sciences.

Kate S. Boersma

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Kate Boersma
Kate Boersma

I grew up in Chicago and attended Northwestern University before moving to Portland, Oregon. For three years, I worked for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and then I entered a Master's program at the Hatfield Marine Science Center at Oregon State University in Newport, Oregon. Immediately after finishing my Master's degree, I am currently in the doctoral program in Zoology at Oregon State University. I currently spend nine months a year in Oregon and three months conducting fieldwork in Arizona at the Southwestern Research Station and, creating a nice balance of sunshine and rain.

I became a scientist because of the questions! The world is constantly changing, and there will always be new questions to address. Additionally, it is wonderful to be in a field that encourages me to pursue creative ideas, travel to interesting places and meet inspiring people.

I study how predator extinctions and dispersal behavior affect community structure in fragmented habitats. The aquatic insect inhabitants of intermittent desert streams act as my study system. I became interested in fragmentation and dispersal in the context of marine reserve design during my post-baccalaureate and masters work. However, after meeting colleagues researching in desert streams, I realized that this was an ideal system for addressing my theoretical questions; the habitats are naturally fragmented, and dispersal among patches is limited.

In my spare time, yoga, hiking and gardening take up most of my non-academic time, and this year I hope to learn to sew … .

I am a member of ASN because the society and The American Naturalist represent the direction I would like my career to follow. My work lies at the intersection of community and behavioral ecology, and therefore I believe that it is important to foster a community of researchers whose common goal is synthesis across disciplines. ASN provides the perfect antidote to the lure of over-specialization by bridging distinct fields of science.

Oregon State University
Graduate Student
ASN Member Since: