I’m Auriel Fournier and I’m currently pursuing a PhD in Biology at the University of Arkansas through the Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.
My research is looking at marshbirds, specifically rails and trying to better understand their autumn migration and habitat use as it relates to active wetland management, especially in mid-latitude states in the U.S., like Missouri.
My professional interests focus around wetlands and birds, especially migration but also delve into remote sensing, GIS, stable isotopes, statistical modeling, detection probability, field and quantitative method development, reproducible science and programming. My work aims to answer questions to inform conservation and/or management of species and bring together multiple data sets and stakeholders to answer them. I got my start in field biology but also enjoy the challenge of understanding data through statistical and modeling, particularly when those methods are used to study species who present challenges such as very low detection probability.
I believe that the only way we can maintain our natural resources and have them in the future is to connect the public to them, and show them how valuable they are while also collecting data so we can make science based conservation decisions. We need to connect everyone with our natural resources and we need diverse stakeholders to be invested in our environmental future. Because of this I judge in the local science fairs, presenting on my research to local groups and high school students and helping lead educational programs at the state park while also trying to help affect change towards making science as a whole a more inclusive place to be. We need a diverse workforce studying and managing that environment (and I mean more then just gender diversity). I work towards raising the field of ecology’s awareness of the detrimental impact of things like unpaid internships and unfair hiring practices which discriminate against many who want to enter our field.
My goal is to do work that promotes bird conservation and to help connect the people around me with the natural world. I love spending time in the field, and I love writing code, so I’m trying to weave together a career to help birds and keeps me doing my two favorite things.
I also really enjoy teaching people about programming and statistics. I used to be afraid of both and now I am in love with them. I am an instructor for Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry and I love sitting down with most anyone to teach them about R, reproducible research and statistics.
If you are a teacher, I’m always happy to speak to your class or organization about bird migration, ecology and conservation (in person or over Skype).
Feel free to contact me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on twitter @RallidaeRule
My project has been highlighted in several blog posts and podcasts
Show me the rails - University of Arkansas Field Notes Blog
Working the Night Shift - University of Arkansas Field Notes Blog
Arkansas grad student hopes to track birds as they migrate through Missouri - St Joseph News-Press
Other Places to find me
Non-Peer Reviewed Writing
R in Ecology: Domino Data Blog
World Wetlands Day: The Hunter and the data cruncher: Science Borealis
Why is there error in statistics: Science Borealis
Family Ties and Grad School Whys : Gradhacker
The Rallidae Rock : NemesisBird
Wetland Management for Rails and Finding Tips : NemesisBird
How Long Do Indigo Buntings Live? : NemesisBird
Turning Over the Keys: When it Becomes Your Field Work : Dispatches From The Field