Hugo Future Imperfect Slim

Natalie Zoe Kerr

BEnvSc, PhD

Postdoctoral researcher
Duke University

I’m a population ecologist interested in life history evolution and population dynamics of plants, insects, and organisms with complex social structures. Currently, I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Morris lab at Duke University. My research is focused on building spatially-explicit individual-based models to evaluate the effects of fire on meta-population dynamics of Venus flytraps, Dionaea muscipula.

In 2012, I graduated from the University of Queensland with a bachelor of Environmental Science with first class honours majoring in Natural Resources Science. After graduating, I was a research assistant at the University of Queensland in the Buckley Lab working on various projects on ecological economics and species distribution modelling as well as helping set up a field site for NutNet in Brisbane, Australia. In 2013, I was also a field assistant at Harvard Forest, MA working on plant and insect demography projects, which is where I discovered my love for entomology before pursuing a PhD at Tufts.

In 2019, I completed my PhD in the Crone Lab at Tufts University. My PhD research involved using population models to evaluate life history strategies and trade-offs in insects. More specifically, I investigated the contribution of worker size variation in bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, colonies and how this variation contributes toward colony growth. I also investigated the demographic consequences of shifting phenology of the mustard white butterfly in response to a warming climate.

In my spare time, you can often find me gardening - both indoor and outdoor gardening. I love creating and designing native pollinator-friendly gardens for my family and friends. If I’m not gardening, I will be dancing Brazilian zouk.


PhD in Biology, 2019
Tufts University, Medford, MA United States

Thesis: Insect life history strategies in a changing world: the importance of integrating vital rates when evaluating life history trade-offs (thesis link).
Advisor: Prof. Elizabeth Crone.

Bachelor of Environmental Science, 2012
University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD Australia

Major: Natural Resource Science.
Thesis: Identifying cost-efficient approaches for managing weeds: applying an economic sensitivity analysis to matrix population models of invasive plant species (see, Kerr et al. 2016).
Advisors: Prof. Yvonne Buckley and Dr. Peter Baxter.