New Face: Elizabeth Stacy

As a child, Elizabeth Stacy enjoyed examining the woods behind her farmhouse in Massachusetts and seeing nature specials on PBS, which cultivated her love of biology. As a graduate student, she went on bold trips to tropical locations that were often in civil unrest, all in the name of research study. Stacy concerns UNLV after 12 years at the University of Hawaii Hilo. She completed her postdoctoral work at Concordia University (Montreal) and her Ph.D. at Boston University.

Growing up

I grew up in an old farmhouse in Massachusetts, an hour west of Boston, and invested summertime getaways camping on the coast of Maine. I had a goat, ducks, and bunnies, and established some respectable painting and spackling skills, due to the fact that old homes are constantly in need of repair work it seems.


Its diversity and upward trajectory. I believe ultra-diverse universities like UNLV lead the way for understanding throughout ethnic backgrounds and cultures, something that is sorely required in this nation. And the drive toward Top Tier status under the brand-new leadership is extremely appealing to me.

Exactly what about UNLV strikes you as various from other places you have worked?

Its size and energy. I’m getting used to the larger classes, and I like the super-sized energy that includes them. I’m thrilled to be communicating with more students every year and look forward to engaging more undergraduates in my research study program.

What inspired you to obtain into your field?

I have actually constantly loved nature, and as a kid I invested a great deal of time investigating the woods behind our home and viewing nature specials on PBS. Biology was my preferred topic in high school and easily my very first choice for a major at college. I guess I have an explorer in me too, because early on I got hooked on the concept of exploring the biology of poorly understood parts of the world– namely tropical rainforests or deep oceans.

Your research

I am an evolutionary/tropical biologist, studying how speciation operates in trees, mostly. I am captivated by the origin of Earth’s enormous variety of tree types (~ 100,000 types), the majority of which remain in the tropics. Trees form the backbone of lots of terrestrial neighborhoods, and yet little is learnt about how they happened. My work centers on a Hawaiian tree species complex that records numerous phases of divergence, from hybridizing varieties of the same species to highly isolated types. My laboratory utilizes this group as a design for understanding how differential regional adjustment throughout heterogeneous environments results in morphological divergence and the advancement of reproductive isolating barriers (or the inability for diverged populations to make practical, fertile offspring with each other). At that point, speciation has actually happened.

What do you discover most interesting about your field?

I thrive on brand-new information from any of my lab’s tasks, however I think I am most delighted about the prospects of untangling the molecular basis of regional adjustment and reproductive seclusion. We are venturing into the world of genomics, and the interface of genomic research studies and our field- and greenhouse-based research studies assures to yield essential insights into divergence and speciation.

Inform us about a time in your life when you have actually been daring.

As a college student working on tropical trees, I took advantage of every chance I discovered to check out or work in tropical nations. I didn’t speak the language of any of these places at the start, and in some locations, there were terrorist groups or civil unrest (Peru, Sri Lanka). Looking back, I can see why my mom was anxious! But if I needed to do it all over once again, I would.

Inform us about an object in your workplace that is considerable to you.

I have a couple of empty Brazil nut pods on my window sill, total with holes chewed by agoutis (for seed elimination). They are souvenirs from my first genuine tropical forest expedition– to the Peruvian Amazon in 1990. That fall, I had actually volunteered on a research study of Brazil nut tree ecology to identify through real field experience if I wanted to pursue tropical forest research studies. I was connected right away on the immense variety of tree types in the Amazon and have actually been working to comprehend the origin of the world’s estimated 100,000 tree types since

Outside work

Talk about evolution;–RRB-, sing badly, and attempt to keep in shape!

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