Welcome to the Mulder Lab!

A group of passionate scientists, educators, and advocates

What we do, in a nutshell

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We are plant ecologists who work to understand how plants interact with each other, with their environment, with the animals that consume and pollinate them, and with the people that depend on them. Major current research themes in our lab are:

  • Climate change in northern environments: impacts on plant communities: Arctic and subarctic communities are experiencing some of the fastest rates of climate change on the planet. How are plant communities changing, and how are conditions affecting herbivores and pollinators?

  • Invasive plants in Interior Alaska: Non-native plants have been expanding rapidly across Alaska (and the far north in general), likely aided by higher summer and winter temperatures, longer growing seasons, increased human activity, and more frequent and larger wildfires. How does this impact native plants, herbivores, and pollinators?

  • Involving diverse populations in scientific research: Citizen science (collaborations of scientists and non-scientists in scientific research) tends to attract populations that white, urban, and well-educated. How do we effectively involve a more diverse range of peoples while ensuring that we meet the informational needs of communities and obtain high-quality data that researchers can use?

Teaching, Public Education and Outreach, Science Communication:

  • Courses: Mulder teaches courses ranging from introductory biology for freshman to Scientific Writing for graduate students. She is also involved in professional development courses for educators.

  • Citizen science projects: We have a long history of collaborating with non-scientists, including K-12 teachers and other educators, community leaders, and youth groups. More than 1500 individuals have participated in our citizen science projects to date.

  • Fostering Science: We have developed a program that provides "science adventure camps" to youth in care of the state (in foster care and care of relatives). This program has been expanding rapidly and we hope it will serve as a model for other programs.

  • ASRA: Mulder was the Director of the Alaska Summer Research Academy for middle and high school students for 2016-2019, and most of her graduate students have taught modules in this program.

Christa Mulder and Eileen Schaub set up "open topped chambers" in a black spruce bog as part of Funky Flowers

A site with a dense stand of non-native sweetclover adjacent to native vegetation along an Alaskan road.

Setting up a field site on Hautaru Island, New Zealand

Youth in Metlakatla, AK, use a felt landscape to share their experiences with berries as part of the Winterberry Citizen Science project

Youth in Bethel, Alaska, collect data

Young participants in Project BrownDown

Youth in the Bonanza Creek Science Adventure Camp enjoy the beautiful view of the Tanana Valley from the Bonanza Creek Bluff