Sarah Jean McPeek

I am a PhD candidate in biology with Dr. Butch Brodie III at the University of Virginia. I study forager species interactions in nature. I am particularly fascinated by how plants mediate the behavior of helpful and harmful animal foragers alike, and how a plant’s responses to pollinators and herbivores are ecologically and evolutionarily entwined. I combine theoretical modeling, field biology, and most recently, laboratory chemistry to link mechanisms, patterns, and outcomes of these interactions. In my field research, I am building Amianthium muscaetoxicum, a toxic nectar-producing woodland wildflower, and its beetle foragers as a community module to study these beautifully messy interactions in the wild. I also communicate science for broad audiences via my blog page here and my podcast through the American Society of Naturalists Graduate Council here.

I recently won the Ecological Society of America Theory Section’s Volterra Award for best talk by a graduate student at the ESA 2022 meetings in Montreal!