Prof. Jake Ferguson
Check out the interview with one of our newest faculty members!
1. Where were you working before joining the University of Hawai'i at Manoa School of Life Science?
Before coming to UHM I was at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. We moved from there in January which was the perfect time to escape!
2. Can you explain your role with the School of Life Science?
In SLS I teach statistics courses aimed at undergraduate and graduate students. These courses illustrate the types of data and questions that are of interest to biology students by using examples from the biological literature.
3. What has been your research focus leading up to this point in your career?
The types of questions I am most interested in have to do with how we can understand, then forecast, the responses of plant and animal populations to changes in environmental conditions.
4. What brought you to the field of Biology? What is your favorite part about your job?
In high school, I became interested in how scientists used mathematics and quantitative tools to understand the world around us. I got interested in the field of Biology in college after learning a bit about how scientists were using quantitative techniques to study very complex biological systems that to me did not seem very predictable. A seminal moment in my life was a class that I took as an undergraduate from the mathematician Mark Kot that really opened my eyes to the exciting world of quantitative biology.
5. What type of things are you looking forward to being a new part of the UH Mānoa faculty?
I am really excited about learning from the diverse student body at UH and about integrating my work respectfully and consistently with native Hawai‘ian values.
6. Any closing thoughts? Plans for new research? Projects?
I am really excited about a new project surveying the predictive value of ecological models. While forecasting the risk of extinction is a common approach for managing endangered species, there has been very little work on validating these predictions. Finally, I am excited about working on the fascinating life history of freshwater fish in Hawai‘i such as the ‘o‘opu.
And of course, Go Bows!