Women in Science: Susie Adams

Adams holds a noble crayfish (Astacus astacus) caught in an Austrian stream.

The Southern Research Station (SRS) has the distinction of having employed the first woman research forester in the U.S. Forest Service. It was 1930 when Margaret Stoughton Abell began her pioneering work with what was known then as the Appalachian Forest Experiment Station (the precursor to the SRS). Today the number of women working in science has grown across the Forest Service and here at the Southern Research Station.

Our Women in Science feature will introduce you to several researchers at SRS. Our first highlighted scientist is Susie Adams, a research aquatic ecologist for the Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research unit in Oxford, Mississippi. She earned her Ph.D. in Organismal Biology and Ecology from the University of Montana. Adams also serves as the Team Leader for the unit’s Ecology of Aquatic and Terrestrial Fauna Team.

Adams’ earlier work with the Forest Service set her on the journey that eventually brought her to Mississippi. “Upon graduating from college, I knew I wanted to be a biologist and loved rivers and streams, but I really didn’t have a specific career vision,” Adams said.

Susie Adams
Adams installs a temperature sensor in a Mississippi stream. Photo by U.S. Forest Service.

“After working on Forest Service trail and helitack fire crews in Idaho, I landed a series of summer positions on fisheries crews for the Payette National Forest and the Intermountain Research Station (now Rocky Mountain Research Station). I enjoyed research because of the variety of work, the intellectual challenge, and the fun of discovering new knowledge. Those summer positions led me to funding for an M.S. and a Ph.D. in fisheries and aquatic ecology.”

Adams has excelled in the field of astacology—the study of crayfish. Her expertise extends well beyond the southeast: she now serves as immediate past-president of the International Association of Astacology and is only the sixth scientist from the United States—and the first U.S. woman—to have served as president of the professional society since it was founded 45 years ago.

Who has inspired Susie Adams? What is a typical workday for her and her team? What unusual or exciting experiences has she had in her career? Visit Women in Science to learn more.

For more information, email Patty Matteson at phmatteson@fs.fed.us.

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