Transcript of 2023 Awardee Sonja Michaluk Video

2023 Awardee Sonja Michaluk Video


When I’m in my basement lab, you can usually find me sitting with the microscope studying aquatic macroinvertebrates. Macroinvertebrates are organisms that lack a backbone, and they’re a really useful tool in measuring environmental health with bioassessment because they show the cumulative effects of environmental stressors and pollutants over time.

I’ve been studying aquatic macroinvertebrates since I was six years old. When I was in high school, I created a method of DNA barcoding macroinvertebrates that allows more accuracy, precision, and statistical power. Using my method, researchers with a small sample can get big results on how human activity and infrastructure is affecting the health of our local water waste.

This can help researchers to advise on development and construction, land conservation, and enforcement of environmental regulations. We don’t live above the ecosystem that surrounds us. We are a part of it, and having robust data is really our strongest tool to live in harmony with the natural world.