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2019 Hellman Fellow

Holly V. Moeller

Building a research lab to inform ecological theory (UCSB)

As an Assistant Professor of Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology at UC Santa Barbara Holly Moeller studies how different species interact with one another in the environment and how these interactions affect ecosystem function. As a theoretical ecologist she uses mathematical and empirical methods to research how acquired metabolism (metabolic activity obtained through interaction with other species) changes the dynamics of living organisms and how ecological pressures contribute to the evolution and maintenance of these acquisitions.

Dr. Moeller used her 2019 Hellman Fellowship to further her research on marine plankton — single celled organisms that steal chloroplasts and nuclei to photosynthesize. With Helllman funding, she formed the Mueller Research Lab, and she and her team of undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral researchers collected new microbial field samples, developed new experimental methods of marking and measuring changes, and built new mathematical models for ecology and evolution.

The Hellman Fellows funding allowed us to recruit incredibly talented undergraduate researchers who continue to inspire and drive so much of our work.

– Holly Moeller, Ph.D.

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