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Green background with text 'Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve Lunch with a Scientist 2023' next to image of lichen with frost

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Additional information

Who? The program and content level is designed for adults, ages 16+ recommended.

When? The series is scheduled for the second Tuesday of every month, 11:30AM - 1:00PM. The 2023 series will be virtual during the winter months (January - March, November - December), and offer a hybrid option during the growing season (April - October). 

Where? During winter months, the program will be virtual only, using a Zoom webinar format. Click this link to pre-register and access the webinar for the monthly talk:

During the growing season, the program will be hybrid. Those wanting to participate in person can join us in the Lindeman Center located at 2660 Fawn Lake Dr. NE, East Bethel, MN, 55005. No registration is required to attend in person. Those wanting to participate virtually will use the Zoom webinar format. Click this link to pre-register and access the webinar for the monthly talk: The presentation will be streamed live from Cedar Creek. See additional information below.

Additional information for hybrid participants: The hybrid option from April - October will include a guided outdoor field tour related to the research for in-person participants only. No registration is required for in-person participants.

Need help with Eventbrite or Zoom?

Instructions to navigate Zoom can be downloaded here: Registration tutorial

Instructions to navigate Zoom can be downloaded here: Joining a Zoom webinar

Questions can be directed to Kara Baldwin at sends e-mail)

Recordings of past programs can be viewed here.


2023 Lunch with a Scientist Speakers

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2023 Lunch with a Scientist Speakers

January (Online)

Nutrient Cycling in Water

Ever wonder how nutrients, like phosphorus, move through the environment? The January 2023 Lunch with a Scientist will kick off with Dr. Seth Thompson. He will discuss his research relating to geochemical processes within freshwater systems. Seth’s work focuses on aquatic bacteria, their role in transforming phosphorus in freshwater systems, and how microbes break down organic matter. In addition, he considers how global change and environmental factors influence nutrient cycling within inland waters.

About the Scientist

Dr. Seth Thompson received his PhD in Limnology and Oceanography from the University of Minnesota in 2019. In addition to exploring phosphorus biogeochemistry and dissolved organic matter in freshwater systems, Seth is active in research related to environmental education and equity in STEM fields. He completed a post-doc focused on educational research in 2020. He currently serves as the Director of Outreach in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota. In this role, he organizes the Market Science program and works with scientists to connect, collaborate, and engage communities in science research and science-based activities.

February (Online)

Patterns of Ecosystem Change

Change is constant, which is also true of habitats and ecosystem communities. Our Lunch with a Scientist lecture for February will focus on patterns of ecosystem community change within abandoned farm fields and the mechanisms behind these patterns. The end of the presentation considers how to use models to predict changes in ecological communities in Minnesota and beyond. 

About the Scientist 

Adam Clark received his PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of Minnesota in 2017. His dissertation work, conducted at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, explored how interactions among prairie plant species and their environments influence ecosystem properties. During his postdoc at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research in Leipzig, Adam continued to explore ways to quantify stability and coexistence in real-world ecosystems. Since 2020, Adam has worked as an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Biology at the University of Graz in Austria. His research currently focuses on how ecological communities are able to persist across space and time, using both empirical data, and theoretical models.

March (Online)

Light, Soil, Action!

Through the Forests and Biodiversity (FAB) experiment at Cedar Creek, researchers are gaining an understanding of how trees interact with one another. One of the strongest interactions between neighboring trees is shading, which can cause trees to compete for light energy or to shield each other from stress caused by excess light. The March Lunch with a Scientist program welcomes Dr. Shan Kothari, an ecophysiologist, to discuss his research on light's role as both an essential resource and stressor for trees, as well as other recent results from FAB. 

About the Scientist 

Shan Kothari comes from Michigan and finished his PhD in 2020 at the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at the University of Minnesota, during which he lived, did fieldwork, and mentored interns at Cedar Creek for three summers. Currently, he is a postdoctoral researcher at Université du Québec à Montréal in Montréal, Canada.

April (Online and In-Person)

Lichens as Indicators

Lichens are a fascinating example of symbiosis in ecology. In lichens, algae and fungi support each other to survive in unique habitats and locations. Lichens also can inform scientists about environmental quality and climate change. Join us for April's Lunch with a Scientist when we host Dr. Natália Koch as she describes the unique characteristics of lichens but also their utility in science as environmental indicators.

About the Scientist

Dr. Natália Koch's research focuses on community ecology, functional traits, and biomonitoring with an emphasis on lichens. She explores the relationships of different lichen species and traits with environmental changes and how these traits can be utilized to monitor changes. She earned her PhD in Ecology from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul and currently is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota exploring the patterns of ecophysiological functional traits of lichen symbioses related to human-caused environmental changes. You can learn more about Natália's research through her research gate webpage and can follow her on Twitter and Instagram via @natimkoch.  

May (Online and In-Person)

Noxious Weeds in Anoka County

Some non-native species can have lasting impacts on public and private lands as they have a survival advantage and can out-compete native species, and take over landscapes. These problematic species, noxious weeds, need to be managed to restore habitat and ecosystem functions. The May Lunch with a Scientist is pleased to welcome Carrie Taylor to discuss invasive species in Anoka county as well as methods for controlling invasive species. 

About the Scientist

Carrie Taylor is a restoration ecologist at the Anoka County Conservation District. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geological Sciences from Indiana University and a Master’s degree in Land Rehabilitation from Montana State University. Carrie is responsible for natural resource monitoring, inventory, assessments, and planning. She also facilitates the Anoka Cooperative Weed Management Area and coordinates and implements ecological restoration projects in the District including at Cedar Creek. 

June (Online and In-Person)

Fire and Tick Ecology

Program Description Coming Soon

About the Scientist

Chris Wojan is a PhD student in the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Program at the University of Minnesota, where he studies the ecology of parasites - particularly ticks. Prior to starting at UMN, Chris earned an MS at New Mexico State University studying the dispersal of brush mice, and then worked as a field researcher for various organizations, including the Jornada Experimental Range, the National Ecological Observatory Network, and Indiana University.


July (Online and In-Person)

Drones and Monitoring Forests

Our ability to infer about tree communities and their ecological processes relies on our capacity to observe them. Our Lunch with a Scientist lecture for July will focus on integrating remote sensing technologies with ecological experiments to better observe and infer structural and chemical changes associated with forest communities. This lecture dives deep into how drones are used to monitor the Forests and Biodiversity (FAB) experiments at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve and the ecological understanding we are gaining by doing so.

About the Scientist

J. Antonio Guzmán Q. received his Ph.D. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Alberta, Canada in 2021. His dissertation focused on integrating novel remote sensing techniques to evaluate the variability, presence, and contribution of lianas and trees in Tropical Dry Forests. Shortly after his Ph.D. convocation, Antonio started to work as Postdoctoral Associate at the ASCEND institute (Advancing Spectral biology in Changing Environments to understand Diversity) at the University of Minnesota. His research currently focuses on using remote sensing to quantify elements of tree communities (e.g., species, structure, chemistry) and their processes (e.g., diseases) across space and time.