Arctic adventures from Northern Alaska, where we’re exploring the role of wolf spiders in the ecosystem (and discovering lots of other tiny wonders of the tundra along the way!).
Kiki Contreras (Research Assistant)
I’ve spent most of my life in and around Seattle, WA, where as a child I learned to appreciate and study nature through bug-catching, frog-chasing, bird-watching and tidepooling. I took my love of the natural world with me to Durham, North Carolina to study biology at Duke University. Invertebrates really fascinate me, and I’ve had the opportunity to study them all over the country. I’ve spent time with clams and shore crabs in the San Juan Islands, Washington and all kinds of marine invertebrates on the coast of North Carolina. My studies took a terrestrial turn when I became a work-study student in Amanda’s lab at Duke, which led me to Team Spider and the arctic. I loved it so much here last summer that I decided to come back, but not before a short stint in western Montana studying grasshoppers. When I’m not catching bugs or digging for clams I like hiking, SCUBA diving, cooking, and exploring Seattle's live music scene.
I’m looking forward to another summer at Toolik and am really excited to share the research and stories of what it’s like to live and work in the arctic with you. By the end of the summer you’ll have a good idea of just how beautiful and special this place is, and hopefully you’ll think spiders are as cool as we do!