Impressive dissertation defense

Ickert-Bond Lab: systematics meets ecology, paleontology, and genomics

Impressive dissertation defense

I am excited to share the recording of the public defense by our Ph.D. student Else Demeulenaere last Wednesday. It was a gang buster event with 115 zoom attendants, representing many different communities, kinds of disciplinary expertise, leadership roles, geographies and time zones. Else is part of a joint Ph.D. program with the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Guam. Else has been pursuing her graduate studies through this program, working with faculty in biological sciences and social sciences at both institutions. Else has masterfully integrated these various fields, and her ability to navigate between the different methodologies and meaningfully connecting the findings achieved through the work in each of the contributing fields. Large chunks of her dissertation have already been peer-reviewed and published (see below for links to her works) and two additional chapters are in the final stages of manuscript preparation. A true masterpieces in so many different ways. Enjoy!

Else used a latte house, an important symbol for the CHamoru people, to depict how the different chapters of her dissertation inform the needed policy change to protect endemic species, biocultural diversity, and sacred places. The latte house can be used to metaphorically describe the process of building a successful Indigenous governance structure that results from the integration of traditional and scientific knowledge systems to produce a co-production of knowledge that ultimately will decolonize policy and guide policy change for conservation of biota.

Link to the recording


Demeulenaere, E., & Ickert-Bond, S.M. 2021. Origin and evolution of the Micronesian biota: Insights from molecular phylogenies and biogeography reveal long-distance dispersal scenarios and founder-event speciation. Journal of Systematics and Evolution (submitted).

Demeulenaere, E., Lovecraft, A.L., Yamin-Pasternak, S., & Ickert-Bond, S.M. 2021. Whose Policy? The need for improved fit between biocultural rights and the U.S. endangered species act in the Mariana Islands. Policy Studies Journal (submitted).

Demeulenaere, E. 2021. Prutehi Litekyan: A Social Movement to Protect Biocultural Diversity and Restore Indigenous Land Sovereignty on Guåhan. In: Indigenous Peoples, Heritage and Landscape in the Asia Pacific: Knowledge Co-Production and Empowerment, edited by Stephen Acabado and Da-wei Kuan. New York and Milton Park: Routledge.

Demeulenaere, E., Yamin-Pasternak, S., Rubinstein, D.H., Jernigan, K., Lovecraft, A.L., Ickert-Bond, S.M. 2021. Indigenous spirituality surrounding Serianthes trees in Micronesia: traditional practice, conservation and resistance. Social Compass: 1-14. [Link]

Demeulenaere, E., Rubinstein, D.H., Yamin-Pasternak, S., Lovecraft, A.L., and Ickert-Bond, S.M. 2021. Recollections of Fadang and Fanihi: The taste and smell of CHamoru bygone foods and the challenge of endangered island species. Pacific Asia Inquiry 11 (11): 80-105. [Link]

Demeulenaere, E. 2020. Workshops advocate traditional ecological knowledge at the legislature in Guåhan. Plant Science Bulletin 66(1): 9-12. [Link]


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