About the blog:

This blog is a professional and personal website.  I write about insect science, conservation, and natural history, as well as stories and experiences balancing family and academia in Athens, Ohio.

About me:

I am currently a visiting scientist in the Department of Biological Sciences at Ohio University.  My route to this point has been circuitous because I have taken a “break” between every academic pursuit.  To start, I received my BSc from SUNY Oneonta and, interrupted my studies with a stint in the Peace Corps (Fiji Islands) before obtaining my MSc degree at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry on the Chemical Ecology of Longicorn beetles (Family Cerambycidae).  After which, I had another break in my studies and worked as an analytical chemist at the University of Maine.  I then received my PhD at Simon Fraser University investigating the ecology and communication pathways of blow flies (Family Calliphoridae).  After graduation my family and I moved to Romania, where I was awarded a grant from the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation fund which provided support for a study on the chemical ecology and conservation of endangered European Longicorn beetles (Family Cerambycidae).  I believe these sojourns have helped me to become a better scientist and teacher, and have helped to hone my interest in insect ecology and biological conservation.

Brodie Insect Science and Consulting (BISC) Lab:

Insect ecology and conservation form the core of my applied research program. Specifically, my research focuses on understanding communication pathways in insects (inter- and intra-specific communication) and their environment (plant-insect interactions and foraging). I am interested in using chemical ecology, behavioral ecology and physiology to advance our knowledge of basic insect ecology (foraging, reproduction) in particular for pest management (e.g., blow flies), forest entomology (e.g., longhorn beetles) and pollination (e.g. native pollinators) applications, and to develop viable monitoring techniques and strategies for threatened and endangered insect species. To tackle these research avenues, I use a combination of laboratory assays, field experiments and surveys, and chemistry and chemical ecology methods (compound identification via mass spectrometry [GC-MS] and electro-antennogram [EAD]).

Blow fly (Family Calliphoridae) covered in pollen grains (Photo: Mike Hraber).
Blow fly (Family Calliphoridae) covered in pollen grains (Photo: Mike Hraber).


About my family:

My husband, Viorel Popescu, and I have been married for 8 years. We have a beautiful 6-year old boy, Octavian (Tavi), 2 dogs, 1 cat and 6 5 4 3 chickens.  (Our chickens are often food for local wildlife… we are working on on a solution to the problem.)

Viorel is an assistant professor at Ohio University (Athens, Ohio). He is an ecologist and conservation biologist, and works on a variety of conservation and wildlife issues, from  conservation planning for small hydropower in British Columbia to the ecology of Pacific fishers in Sierra Nevada, and wolf and bear conservation in Romania .  If you’re interested in Viorel’s work, I encourage you to visit his website: http://vioreldpopescu.com

Tavi is a first grader and, like most children, he loves to play and learn about new things.  All his favorite games include some sort of construction like Legos, building roads and railways for his trains and cars, but also riding his bike and, I hate to admit it, video games (Minecraft). Lately, Tavi is particularly intrigued with the military transportation (plans, trucks, and tanks) and geography.  Tavi absolutely HATES going to bed (it’s boring and he misses all the fun), shopping (never EVER going to go), and eating vegetables (yuck).

Family Photo: Viorel, Tavi, and me (Burnaby, BC 2012)
Family Photo: Viorel, Tavi, and me (Burnaby, BC 2012)

Rex (AKA Rex-a-roo) is a 9 year old mix breed dog.  My guess is he’s part red healer and kelpie but it is really open to anyone’s guess and, of course, everyone has an opinion.  Rex is medium sized with red and black brindle coat and enormous ears.  Rex is an energetic dog that loves long walks/runs, socializing with other dogs, attention, and people food.  Rex is very well trained (subjective, I know). With that being said he also has a few “ticks” like patrolling the house (high energy) and being particularly vocal (whines a lot). In fact, most people find him annoying but he suits my high energy family and life style just perfect!

Rex-a-roo (Photo: Sean McCann)

Lulu (AKA LeLu Lu Lu) is our new mixed breed puppy.  A souvenir from a Boy Scout activity at our local shelter (Tavi and I fell in love).  Lulu clearly has a little lab in her and it is reflected in her personality, she is gentile, easy going, and loves to eat garbage.  Lulu prefers to spend most of her time playing with Tavi or Rex, and chasing chickens. (She is responsible for only one of the chicken casualties.)

Lulu (Photo: Cassie Thompson) assisting with field work.

Last but not least our happy free range chickens: Xena: Warrior Chicken, Pretty Bird, Salt and Pepper, BlondieCuckoo, Goldie Hen, Dark Helmet, and Peeper. Our chickens (that have not become a meal for nearby wildlife) provide eggs for our family and the starving graduate students in the Department of Biological Sciences at Ohio University.

All of our free range chickens.

One thought on “About

  1. Bekka – what a story… I still remember the little girl in a pink bonnet who like to pick up bugs and I was shocked. I know if your grandfather had lived, you would have received that dragon fly in the display case from Mesilla. I am so proud of you an;d maybe if time allows and the Lord tarries, I can meet your extended family some day. Love you, Bekka and you are a great, mother, wife and student. Grandma Kruschke

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