Lara Ferry, getting her motorcycle license
Lara Ferry, getting her motorcycle license

Ahead of this year’s British Ecological Society Annual Meeting, we wanted to give you the chance to get to know some of the people behind the decision letters. Today, we have  Senior Editor Lara Ferry, Professor & Associate Dean, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, Arizona State University. Lara was also recently named named a President’s Professors, an honour that recognizes ASU faculty who have made substantial contributions to undergraduate education.

What can you tell us about the first paper you published?

My first publication was a classic story, a veritable tale as old as time – submitted, rejected, submitted, rejected, submitted, rejected, repeat!

Are you a good cook? What’s your signature dish?

I love to cook, and especially to bake with my girls.  However, I am not terribly good at either of these.  This is because I am an experimentalist at heart and constantly change things up thinking it will improve the recipe.  I am about 50/50 on this – 50% of the time it is amazing, 50% of the time we order pizza.

How many BES annual meetings have you attended? Which one was the best?

I attended my first BES meeting this past year.  It was the best I have ever been to!  I am looking forward to this year immensely.

LF - seahorse flipWhat’s your favourite species and why?

Probably the seahorse, because the male rears the young.

Who inspired you most as a student?

My advisors.  I had wonderfully different advisors in my MS and then PhD programs, but each were helpful in their own way.  Both were incredibly productive and taught me the value of publishing your work through getting me to publish early.  This is not to say that I always loved what they had to say, or was overjoyed with every moment in the lab.  BUT, they truly motivated me to be a better scientist 100% of the time.

Are you attending #BES2018? If so, when is the best opportunity for people to meet you?

I will be there!  I think the coffee breaks are a safe bet.

When was the last time you had a paper rejected?

Last year.

If you could wake up tomorrow with a new skill, what would it be?

(Remembering how to) play the piano really well.

What’s your favourite sports team and why?

I am required to say the ASU Sun Devils.  I do, however, quite enjoy American college football.  I also support the Arizona Cardinals even though they are positively terrible.  And, we enjoy the Phoenix Rising, which is our emerging and very successful local semi-pro Soccer/Futbol team.

San Juan Islands. (Credit: Jonathan Miske)If you could recommend one place for people to travel to on holiday, where would it be and why?

It is hard for me to suggest just one place, but anywhere that brings peace and tranquility sounds wonderful to me.  I always enjoy a good outdoor location. Usually this is either a beach, or the mountains.   Doesn’t matter if it is winter or summer.  If you have to choose just one place, then I recommend the San Juan Islands, in the Pacific NW, off the coast of Washington state, where you can get beach and mountains in one location!

What was the first album you owned?

On vinyl:  The Fixx – Reach The Beach.  I didn’t even have to think hard on that one.

If any fictional character could join your lab, who would it be and why?

The genie from Aladdin.  I could get a lot of stuff done with my own genie.

Lara’s research is within the field broadly defined as ecomorphology or functional morphology. Her work is centered around questions that attempt to broadly address: 1) the evolution of novel and/or specialized forms or traits, 2) the biomechanical or performance consequence of changes in form; and; 3) how form, typically by interacting with other physiological, behavioral, or genetic variables, affects and can be used to predict functional ecological relationships. Her research focuses on traits associated with feeding and respiration, particularly in aquatic organisms. Lara’s website.