Stefan Bengtson


Academic background

With both parents researchers in biology (I have vivid early memories of cutting up defrosting squid bits to feed to flounder at 8:30am) I initially wanted to get away from the subject (though not because of the squid…which probably explains a lot). I began by pursuing economics and environmental science (I had notions of a practical solution to climate problems), but a second-year course in animal diversity heavy on dissections fascinated me and brought me back to the fold. I did continue a minor in economics because I feel it has something to offer to the discussion of human-environment issues.

I have spent my academic career so far at Queen’s University, earning a B.Sc (Honours) in biology in 2009. As an undergraduate, I applied (unsuccessfully) to work in the Nelson lab as a summer work experience student. Things might have ended there, but I applied for and received an undergraduate research scholarship to help the Nelson lab develop a novel aquatic mesocosm. After a summer of building and field testing, I volunteered to completely redesign the mesocosm. This was evidently enough for Dr. Nelson to offer me the chance to pursue a master’s degree in his lab. My path during my master’s was no less circuitous than the path leading up to it and I have learned many things that are not (at first glance) specifically related biology (and lots more that are). My recently completed (!) master’s thesis employed a Daphnia-algae system to partition genetic and environmental variation in life history traits across a gradient of food quality. The project involved being paranoid about phosphorus contamination (it’s everywhere!) and keeping hundreds and thousands of individual Daphnia organized. I collected data on individuals every other day for more than a year.

All work and no play makes Stefan a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Stefan a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Stefan a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Stefan a dull boy.

 

When I’m not in the lab, I

love to cook. It’s relaxing and takes my mind off of more complicated matters. Plus I think that someone who is competent in a kitchen will be competent in a lab environment. Here are some of my favourite recipes.

I also play soccer and volleyball, and have recently taken up curling. I should try to find some pictures.