A Stone’s Throw from the World | Ohio Sea Grant

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A Stone’s Throw from the World

9:24 am, Fri October 7, 2022 – Dr. Michael Monaghan’s work has taken him all over the world, from Idaho and Switzerland to Tanzania and Papua New Guinea

Dr. Monaghan at a picnic table

Dr. Michael Monaghan’s work has taken him from Stone Lab to lakes all over the world.

Dr. Michael Monaghan’s work has taken him all over the world. After studying in Idaho, Switzerland, and New Zealand, he worked as a research fellow at Imperial College London, with research trips to Tanzania, Madagascar, South Africa, and Papua New Guinea. Eventually he settled in Berlin, Germany, where he started his own lab at the prestigious Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) and became a Professor of Biology at the Free University (Freie Universität Berlin). (Of course, he still finds time to occasionally jet to Japan and Singapore for teaching opportunities).

Needless to say, Dr. Monaghan is well-travelled, with connections all over the globe. He credits much of this success to half a summer spent at Stone Laboratory in 1994.

At the time, Dr. Monaghan was an undergraduate in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University. That summer, he took a class and worked as a research assistant at Stone Lab.

“That Marine Biology course (in a lake!) is one of the main reasons I became a scientist,” Dr. Monaghan recalls. “It was my introduction to the excitement of the research process that has stayed with me since.”

an older photo from Stone Lab

Dr. Monaghan credits his time at Stone Lab with giving him his successful start in freshwater ecology.

When not studying, Dr. Monaghan spent his days working for Stone Lab manager John Hageman. He and two other students helped with the day-to-day tasks of running the lab: helping maintain equipment, preparing materials for courses and research, and going on supply runs. The job taught Dr. Monaghan the logistics of running a scientific research station—a skillset that came in handy later in his career.

That summer at Stone Lab was Dr. Monaghan’s first experience working in freshwater ecology, and he hasn’t stopped since. After graduating from Ohio State, he dove head-first into water sciences, getting his master’s at Idaho State University before earning his doctorate at the ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). From there, the waters of the world became his new office.

Even after all the places he’s worked, all the papers he has published, and all the students he has mentored, Dr. Monaghan is still thankful for that first major research opportunity at Stone Lab.

“It is a fantastic opportunity that few people have: to spend your summer on one of the Great Lakes, learning and studying,” he says. “You get a glimpse of what life as a scientist can really be like.”

ARTICLE TITLE: A Stone’s Throw from the World PUBLISHED: 9:24 am, Fri October 7, 2022
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Laura Scobell
Authored By: Laura Scobell