I will be working this summer with Discover Life in America to help inventory and learn more about the biodiversity in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee. My name is Micah Jasny and I am currently a master’s student at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. When I was young, I fell in love with nature while camping in the Shenandoah’s, fishing, and just playing outdoors. Since then, I have dedicated myself to protecting biodiversity and preserving nature’s beauty for generations to come.
I graduated with degrees in biology and environmental science with a focus on conservation biology from the College of William & Mary and have gained experience in a variety of fields within conservation. I have worked at a conservation ranch in southern California, monitoring endangered endemic species and removing invasive Garlic Mustard and Medusahead. I have conducted field research on Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies), and amphibians in central Virginia, and have conducted a fish study for the Fairfax Park Authority.
E.O. Wilson has said, “In the same way that physiology and medicine could not have advanced (not been properly taught) without a solid knowledge of organs and tissues of the human body, serious future advances of ecosystems analysis cannot be expected to emerge without a solid knowledge of the species composing the ecosystems of interest.” I plan to spend this summer trying to discover new species to add to the park inventories in order to better understand park ecosystems and how to care for them. I also plan to help other scientists working in the park with their biodiversity surveys and scientific research. In the upcoming weeks, I will give weekly updates about my forays into the park and report back on my biodiversity research. I can’t wait to see what the Smoky Mountains have in store for me.