Aurea Siemens grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she completed her BSc degree in biology at the University of Winnipeg. It was during her undergraduate studies that Aurea developed an interest in forest ecology and tree stress physiology. In 1999, she came to the University of Alberta to begin her MSc degree in forest biology and management.
During her MSc degree, which was completed in 2001, Aurea examined the effects of water deficit stress on root water relations in trembling aspen seedlings. Aurea wanted to continue her studies of root water relations and root physiology of aspen, so she stayed at the University of Alberta, and is currently in the process of finishing her PhD.
For her doctoral research, she turned to the study of ectomycorrhizal fungi and how they may assist their tree hosts in dealing with the effects with environmental stresses. As part of her research, she examined how mycorrhizal fungi affect the growth and root water relations of trembling aspen and balsam poplar. She also examined how ectomycorrhizal fungi may help aspen cope with changes in soil pH and inorganic nitrogen fertilization, and would be interested in continuing her research on mycorrhizal-tree interactions after her PhD is complete.
Throughout her grad studies, Aurea has been actively involved in organizing and assisting with science outreach education and activities in Edmonton Public Schools classrooms through the FGSR outreach program, and through the graduate student-organized “Let’s Talk Science Partnership Program” at the University of Alberta. Currently, she is a “Planting Science” online mentor for high school plant science projects. Aurea has also previously served as a GSA department representative, and has been a member of several administrative academic committees at this university. In her spare time, Aurea enjoys hiking and sports.
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2007 edition of the Landmark Newsletter. Aurie successfully passed her PhD exam in June 2008.
Added: 18 October 2010