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Meet our new faculty: Margaret Metz

August 21, 2014

The following Q&A is part of a series created by the college dean’s office to introduce new faculty. Get to know Assistant Professor of Biology Margaret Metz, who joins the faculty this fall, in the interview below.

Education: B.A. (1998) Princeton University; Ph.D. (2007) University of California at Berkeley

Research and teaching interests: Plant community ecology, disease ecology, tropical ecology, environmental science, biodiversity.

What most excites you about joining the Lewis & Clark community?

I am excited about the group of colleagues I’ll be joining in the department of biology, and the opportunity to mentor, teach, and get to know the students at Lewis & Clark. I loved my liberal arts education, and I am happy to be returning to the small class sizes and close-knit community of a liberal arts institution. I also love the emphasis Lewis & Clark places on studying abroad.

Describe the current trajectory of your scholarly research.

I am interested in the mechanisms that determine and maintain diversity in both temperate and tropical forests. In Ecuador, I have a long-term project examining the role that seedling dynamics and natural regeneration play in maintaining forest diversity in a highly diverse western Amazonian rainforest. Closer to home, I am studying an emerging infectious disease that has killed millions of trees in the coastal forests of California and Oregon. In both cases, I’m interested in the relative importance of environmental variation, disturbances, and the interactions among species in driving forest dynamics and diversity.

What kind of hobbies or special activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I love cooking (and eating), reading, watching crime dramas on television, and spending time with my family.

What were your childhood goals/aspirations?

I was convinced I’d be a marine biologist or a lawyer.

What are you listening to in your car right now?

I flip between NPR and alternative rock stations.

What was your favorite childhood story?

I spent a lot of my childhood curled up with books. Now, I enjoy rediscovering many old favorites with my kids. Current picks are the stories of Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel.

Biology Department