Amara Huddleston, a graduate student in the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology (EEOB), studies the effects of climate change on both Lake Erie's food web and the nutritional values of its fish. She knows Ohio State's aquatic ecology program is giving her the tools she needs for a successful, productive research career with the U.S. Fish and and Wildlife Service.
Huddleston spends late March to the first of June with Ohio State's aquatic ecology team examining species resiliency in Lake Erie, specifically looking at walleye, the freshwater fish native to the lake.
“We want to get the whole profile of walleye — from when they begin to spawn until they’re done,” she explains.
“My research focuses on how climate change affects Lake Erie’s food web, and how climate change affects the nutritional value of the fish we eat, specifically, how it affects the levels of those fatty acids that are so good for us.”
Now, in her second year of EEOB’s master's program, the Detroit native talks about her path to the Aquatic Ecology Lab (AEL):
“At BGSU, I was in the marine biology program, which turned out to be very aquarium- focused. This didn’t really interest me as I had no desire to do that kind of work.“
Fortunately, Ohio State alumnus Jeff Miner, who had done his graduate work at the AEL, gave a talk in one of her classes.
“My interest in aquatic ecology began with Jeff. He invited me to come to his weekly lab meetings. I dived right in!”
After her sophomore year at BGSU, Huddleston interned with Miner, who gave her both research experience and a long, multi-page list of graduate programs in aquatic ecology.
So long was the list, it took her a while to get to Ohio State. But when she did, her choice was made. She would advise any student shopping for a school to make their choice based on how she made hers.
”Pick a program that makes you happy and a place where you mesh well with the people there. When I came to visit, I knew right away that I would be happy here. I felt welcome and meshed right in. I was home!”
Huddleston graduates next spring and knows she wants to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. With agencies all over the country, she will have no trouble finding her next home.