Hi, I am Heike and currently a PostDoc in Joern’s lab. I should have written this introduction in March 2013, because this is when I started working for Joern … and now I have only three months left! My small research grant from Leuphana University is running out in February. “Working for Joern ” is actually kind of bending the truth. I am fortunate to work on my little side project, invasive species, quite independently – and when I am in need for some solid frameworking I can turn to Joern.
Invasive species have been the focus of my research since my PhD project, which aimed to identify the mechanisms responsible for the sweetbriar rose’s successful invasion in Argentina.
My predecessors wrote something about their motivation and experiences that made them choose the job they now enjoy doing. I am sorry but I probably have to disappoint you. I am just a very pragmatic person, and for me it was just always clear that I wanted to do something with nature, in nature and of ecological relevance. Always being the time that I can remember thinking about stuff like “having a job”. I guess I can offer one important moment in my life that showed me the value of nature. That was the first I left Central Europe. When I was 15, I stayed one year in the U.S. and one of the greatest things I did there was a trip to the Great Lakes District at the Canadian border. That was the first time of my life when I was in a place where we did not run into another person for two weeks, that was the first time of my life when I saw something like real wilderness. That is when it dawned on me that the forests of my childhood were just plantations, well pruned assemblies of trees.
Later, I was able to travel to South America and Central Asia and see a lot more wilderness, but also its destruction and fragility. So there you have my motivation, after all!
If you want to learn more about my work, please visit my website at: https://sites.google.com/site/heikezimm/