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Emily Wedel
Graduate Student
Department of Biology
Kansas State University
Posted 11-17-21

Twitter Handle: @EcoEm10

Emily Wedel
Emily at Mthimkhulu Game Reserve, a research site in South Africa


Emily is a grassland ecologist interested in woody encroachment in tallgrass prairie of North America and tree-grass interactions in lowveld savanna. She uses physiological and trait-based methods to understand how woody plants respond to disturbances, such as fire. Her current research at Konza Prairie Biological Station involves quantifying traits related to carbon gain and drought tolerance for several dominant encroaching woody species in tallgrass prairie. The goal of this project is to assess interspecific differences in shrub physiology to understand species' rates of encroachment on the landscape. Her favorite part of graduate school is working and travelling with a supportive and fun team of collaborators.

How Emily got interested in the botanical sciences:
Emily grew up in central Kansas surrounded by open spaces and big skies. She developed an appreciation for grassland plant diversity during her undergraduate studies and was introduced to plant physiology during her MSc at Kansas State University. Emily was drawn to the versatile and collaborative nature of science, including fieldwork, teaching, data analysis, and writing. She credits her mentors from high school to graduate school for creating collaborative and fun environments that inspired her to develop her interests in plant ecology. 

Cacao Trees (Theobroma cacao)
Sunrise at Konza Prairie Biological Station, a research site in Kansas

Emily’s advice for those just starting their botanical journey:
"Take advantage of opportunities to learn about the natural history of your study system!"

Emily spends her free time relaxing with her partner, snuggling with their cat, and hanging out with the friends she has met during graduate school. She loves to bake, travel, and try new foods.

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