Born in Romania, Alina’s early childhood memories revolve around feeding wildlife, exploring forests and beaches, and bringing home any wild animal she could find. This included snakes, frogs, mice, birds, and polecats – much to her mother’s chagrin. Her love of the natural world led Alina to study population and community ecology in diverse ecosystems, including yucca–yucca moth pollination system, mycorrhizal fungi associated with jack pine, the impact of escaped farmed Atlantic salmon in Pacific coastal streams, and species recovery efforts for the Vancouver Island’s Western bluebird populations.
As a science communicator, the prevalence of pseudo-science and fake science on social media led Alina to study the barriers to effective science communication. Her thesis research was nominated for the Governor General’s Gold Medal in research excellence.
Alina is now a Ph.D. student in Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, where she is looking at changes in wildlife communities in response to climate change and human land use, as well as public attitudes to the value of conservation.