About me

As of spring of 2022, I am currently a Metagenomics Data Scientist at Bayer Crop Sciences. However, I maintain an active research affiliation with the University of Colorado Boulder’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, and this website is primarily about my public-facing research and outreach in my academic capacity. All views expressed are solely mine.

I am driven to explore:

I explore physically, whether in the mountains on ski, bike, or climbing vertical rock, or at new field sites to study biological diversity in the heat of Arizona’s monsoon or the chill of Antarctica’s Dry Valleys.

I explore intellectually, seeking to discover the importance of random chance in biological diversity and the results of biological invasions as opposed to predictable processes of predation or competition. This is especially important now because human activity is causing us to lose diversity in many places, and we need to better understand how to preserve it.

I study these questions across the tree of life, including in viruses, bacteria, microscopic animals such as rotifers and tardigrades, pocket mice, bunchgrasses, and trees. See my Google Scholar page for my most up-to-date list of publications and my Research Projects page for summaries of ongoing research.

I explore not only for myself, but to bring what I find back to others, and more importantly, to bring others along with me and launch them on their own journeys. I was a part of piloting and launching the University of Arizona’s Sky School program, and am currently on the leadership board of Girls On Rock in Colorado, and encourage everyone to check out those programs!

I love to discuss my research with people in real time, whether on person or online, and I love teaching – especially outdoors – and mentoring others in conducting their own research, so please reach out if you are a teacher or otherwise need a scientist 🙂 It is important to me to continue making space in science and outdoor exploration for people who have historically been excluded because of their identities.

My postdoctoral work was in the lab of Steve Schmidt at University of Colorado Boulder. My doctoral work was advised by Peter Chesson at University of Arizona.

You can reach me by email: pacificasommers [at] gmail [dot] com.