Who are you?
I am Bryan Frenette, a PhD Candidate in the lab.
Why did you become a scientist?
I’ve always been interested in Natural History – or examining and learning about different plants and animals. I think this deep-rooted interest is what drew me into science, and specifically into the field of ecology. Now, the work I do let’s me address the questions I’m interested in to learn more about the critters that I find so fascinating!
What are you interested in?
I study the fishes that live in grassland streams. These streams are really interesting because, for large parts of a typical year, they partially dry and stop flowing. For fish, the lack of flowing water presents a whole bunch of challenges, like becoming trapped in small pools that might become warmer than the fish prefer. My research specifically tries to address how temperature influences the biological processes of the fish that live in these harsh environments.
Why is your work exciting?
My work often puts me in beautiful stream environments across the Great Plains of the USA, sampling the fishes that live there. North America has a wonderful diversity of freshwater fishes and getting to work with these animals makes every trip to the field a treasure.
What were your childhood dreams?
I grew up surrounded by woods in Northeastern Canada and from a young age have always wanted to spend my days in the outdoors. My early career aspirations (digging up dinosaurs, becoming a vet, working with marine mammals) all shared a theme within the realm of science. When I eventually learned what a research scientist was, I think my dreams solidified into a career path.
What are your aspirations for the future?
While I really enjoy the research components of what I do, I’m also very passionate about teaching – both in the classroom and in more public settings. I’m aiming to pursue a career that lets me pursue all these interests.
What do you like to do when you’re not doing research?
When I’m not doing research, I like to spend time with my wife and kids. We spend a lot of time in the summer months tending to our vegetable garden. I like to read, typically in the sci-fi or fantasy genres. I also really enjoy tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons and play with friends and family as often as I can.