Jennifer Klutsch

Jennifer Klutsch is originally from Denver, Colorado and received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology, with a botany emphasis, from Western State College of Colorado in Gunnison, Colorado. While attending Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia on an exchange program, she enthusiastically explored the local coastal ecosystems and became interested in plant pathology and entomology.

Right after graduation, Jennifer interned and worked for three seasons for the USDA Forest Service, Forest Health Management, Gunnison Service Center as a field crew member and leader, surveying and monitoring forest disease and insect infestations throughout Colorado and Wyoming. Her time here was influential and cemented her future interests in forest health research.

Jennifer completed a Master’s degree in entomology, with an emphasis in forest pathology at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. In her joint project with the UDSA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station she evaluated fire hazards associated with southwestern dwarf mistletoe and mountain pine beetle in ponderosa pine on Colorado's northern Front Range. Here she also was an active member of the Gillette Entomology Club and organized a number of public outreach activities including a panel discussion on potential fire hazards associated with mountain pine beetle. Interacting with kids about entomology is very fulfilling for Jennifer including her participation in cockroach races and petting tarantulas.

After completing her Master’s degree, Jennifer continued at USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station with research scientists that studied forest entomology and ecophysiology. Her research led to reporting on changes in stand characteristics and fire hazard from a recent mountain pine beetle outbreak in Colorado. Furthermore, she was actively involved in gene conservation activities of high-elevation white pine species in the face of mountain pine beetle and an invasive fungal pathogen throughout the southwest of the US.

At the University of Alberta, Jennifer is working towards a PhD in forest biology and management in the Department of Renewable Resources under the supervision of Dr. Nadir Erbilgin. She is studying the interaction of the expansion of mountain pine beetle into jack pine and the native pathogen dwarf mistletoe. She is particularly interested in whether the disease will promote mountain pine beetle establishment in jack pine forest and whether mistletoe will become “foe” or “friend” of the beetle. She came to the University of Alberta because of its strong research reputation and the unique position that Alberta is in with a potential host shift of a forest insect. The resources and scientific culture at the University of Alberta allows for the opportunity for Jennifer to continue and expand on the investigation of interactions between forest insects and pathogens and how they influence ecosystems.

Jen is the primary author of three great peer-reviewed journal articles and contributed another. These papers describe various aspects of bark beetle chemical ecology, pathogenic fungal/beetle interactions, and the ecology of a forest decline syndrome in western US. She additional published two-peer reviewed chapters in federal government publications. She has several invited guest lectures, presented and contributed several conference presentations at many national and international meetings. She has received many prestigious graduate student awards, including the most recent the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, Honorary Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship, Alberta Innovates - Graduate Student Scholarship, and Department of Renewable Resources - Doctoral Student Recruitment Award. The published articles, her long list of presentations and contributions, her prestigious awards and her academic excellence when viewed together, portend a highly productive and creative scientific career and a potential leader in forest biology.

In addition to her academic achievements, Jennifer has always been interested in outdoor activities and has competed in high school, university, and international cross country running competitions. Her interests in hiking and camping have been assets in a number of research projects that have required extensive data collection in mountain study sites. Travel is also a key interest for Jennifer and she looks forward to continuing the exploration of other lands, cultures, and foods. In Edmonton, she is enjoying the lively arts and culture scene and has volunteered and attended a number of art openings and events. Furthermore, the Edmonton’s River Valley is where you will find Jennifer during many sunny days.

Added: 4 October 2012