Dr. Scott Ferrenberg is an Assistant Professor of Biology at New Mexico State University and specializes in population and community ecology, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. He is currently focused on disentangling the roles of biotic interactions and abiotic factors in determining species abundance and diversity patterns in dynamic environments. Dr. Ferrenberg says designing and implementing lab and field experiments in addition to data analysis are some of his favorite aspects of his work. His lab is excited about trying to manipulate pollinator access to flowers on common and rare desert plants to better understand how flower mixtures might influence pollinator behavior.
Early in his training Scott had a reporter from a large newspaper shadow him during a workday on a climate change experiment. The equipment for the experiment was located in an alpine meadow in Colorado. When the news reporter joined Scott in the field, the weather was cold and the wind was howling. Scott spent the whole day fighting through the wind to communicate the science and make profound statements about climate change. In the end, the reporter only wrote about the moment when Scott let some of his datasheets get loose from a binder and blow off into the trees below. The best advise Dr. Ferrenberg has received from a mentor is to focus less on completing projects and achieving milestones than on doing good work each day – you will go home every day knowing you’re doing your best and these other successes will naturally follow.
Scott knew he wanted to be a scientist after taking a forestry class in high school. He remembers learning to use dichotomous keys to identify hardwood trees by their leaf and bark traits. He loved the focus on small details for identification and that is when his passion for science ignited. If Scott hadn’t found his love for science he’s convinced, by his periodic daydreaming, that his love of nature and fly fishing would have lead him to become a fishing guide. Sounds like the perfect plan for retirement!