Dr. Megan L. Larsen is a microbial evolutionary ecologist specializing in the formation and persistence of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and their toxins in response to climate change. At present, she is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Wilfrid Laurier University investigating the spatio-temporal fluctuations of cyanobacterial communities as part of the cross-institutional FORMBLOOM (Forecasting tools and mitigation options for diverse bloom-affected lakes) project.
Larsen recently completed a one-year postdoctoral position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Water Sciences Laboratory (WSL) where she provided expertise in specialized methods for water quality analysis and oversaw technical training within the facility. Her research at the WSL focused on emerging and persistent contaminants in groundwater and surface waters including pesticides, nitrates, and cyanobacterial toxins across Nebraska. Larsen received her PhD in Biology from Indiana University in 2016. Her dissertation work focused on how ratios of elements such as nitrogen and phosphorus shape the ecological, evolutionary, and molecular interactions between bacteria and phage.
Larsen is deeply committed education and professional development in STEM, data management, and R. She served as the Graduate Assistant for the Women In Science, Technology, Informatics, and Mathematics (STIM) Living Learning Community and taught professional development seminars for the community. She continues to build on these courses with new seminar courses in environmental data management and analytics for graduate students and teaches one-on-one sessions for undergraduates.
Larsen advocates for inclusivity at all stages and has recently co-hosted events with Wilfrid Laurier Univerisity’s Rainbow Centre for LGBT2S in the Sciences.
Larsen grew up in rural Nebraska where she embraced the great outdoors as rows of cornfields until she found her love for the ocean during a tropical ecology course in Belize. Swimming with bio-luminescent invertebrates eventually lead to a NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Fellowship at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan to study harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes. Upon moving to Michigan for graduate school, she developed into an avid outdoor enthusiast and is now exploring the best Ontario has to offer for mountain biking trails, backpacking adventures, sport climbing, and back country hikes with her dogs. Her most recent aspiration – an ultramarathon!