Biology Professor Stacey Halpern Awarded Fulbright Fellowship

Pacific University biology professor Stacey Halpern has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar Fellowship to study factors that contribute to a plant’s invasiveness in a non-native habitat.

Stacy HalpernDr. Halpern will travel to Japan in June and spend the next seven months working alongside researchers at the Kyoto University Center for Ecological Research and the Hokkaido University Field Science Center for Northern Biossphere. There, she will explore Carolina horsenettle, native to the U.S. but invasive in Japan.

"We will look at how herbivorous insects affect the ecology and evolution of Carolina horsenettle traits that could influence the plant's invasiveness," Halpern said.

Halpern is evolutionary ecologist who studies plant-insect interactions with an emphasis on herbivory. Her research over the past decade has focused on how herbivores affect plant populations and shape plant traits, ranging from nectar in flowers to chemical defenses.

Since 2005, Halpern has studied Carolina horsenettle in Florida as part of a long-term collaboration with ecologists at Florida State University, funded by the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"This fellowship will allow me to compare what I've seen in Florida, where herbivores affect performance of the plant, as well as its demography, to what is happening in Japan."

A faculty member at Pacific since 2005, Halpern teaches a wide range of biology courses, and has mentored numerous undergraduate students through collaborative research.

The Fulbright Scholar Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and those of other nations.

Founded in 1849, Pacific University offers undergraduate and professional degree programs in the arts & sciences, business, education, health professions and optometry.

Feb. 5, 2018