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Dr. Abby Lewis

PHD FELLOW ALUMNI    |   Global Change Center

VT Alumni May 2024,  Biological Sciences  

Advisor: Dr. Cayelan Carey


Dr. Abby Lewis successfully defended her PhD dissertation in May 2024. Dr. Lewis will be doing a "Smithsonian Climate Change Fellowship" at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, where she will be working on forecasting methane emissions from coastal wetlands across the US. 

While at Virginia TEch Abby (she/her) worked with Dr. Cayelan Carey in the Biological Sciences department at Virginia Tech.  Her research interests were broadly focused on the ecology of anthropogenic disturbance in freshwater systems.  Throughout her career, she aims to conduct research that will help understand, mitigate, and prevent environmental issues worldwide.

Abby received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Pomona College in 2019.  During her time at Pomona, she had the opportunity to conduct research projects around the world studying several aspects of global change.  One of her favorite projects involved leading a collaborative study with 15 researchers from 12 institutions to analyze the response of algae to nutrient pollution in lakes of the northeastern United States.

At Virginia Tech, Abby studied how changing levels of oxygen in a reservoir may affect carbon cycling within the system.  This research was particularly relevant because climate change, land use, and water management are altering oxygen levels in water bodies around the world.  Lakes and reservoirs play a large role in the global carbon cycle, so any changes to carbon cycling under different oxygen conditions could have important implications for our predictions of future greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Abby is excited to pursue a career in lake ecology not only because she loves the process of doing research, but also because she sees freshwater research as a powerful interface between science and society.  Many people care deeply about the importance of lakes for recreation and fishing, and all people are dependent upon freshwater resources for safe drinking water. Motivated by this desire to connect science and society, Abby is actively involved in a variety of science communication and outreach efforts on local to national scales.

Last updated May 2024.