Abby Lewis

Biological Sciences

Abby Lewis is a Ph.D. student with Dr. Cayelan Carey in the Biological Sciences department at Virginia Tech.  Her research interests are broadly focused on the ecology of anthropogenic disturbance in freshwater systems.  Throughout her career, she aims to conduct research that will help understand, mitigate, and prevent environmental issues worldwide.

Abby received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Pomona College in 2019.  During her time at Pomona, she had the opportunity to conduct research projects around the world studying several aspects of global change.  One of her favorite projects involved leading a collaborative study with 15 researchers from 12 institutions to analyze the response of algae to nutrient pollution in lakes of the northeastern United States.


At Virginia Tech, Abby is now studying how changing levels of oxygen in a reservoir may affect carbon cycling within the system.  This research is particularly relevant right now because climate change, land use, and water management are altering oxygen levels in water bodies around the world.  Lakes and reservoirs play a large role in the global carbon cycle, so any changes to carbon cycling under different oxygen conditions could have important implications for our predictions of future greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Abby is excited to pursue a career in lake ecology not only because she loves the process of doing research, but also because she sees freshwater research as a powerful opportunity for interface between science and society.  Many people care deeply about the importance of lakes for recreation and fishing, and all people are dependent upon freshwater resources for safe drinking water.  Motivated by this same desire to connect science and society, Abby currently writes for the international envirobites blog ( which translates scientific articles for a non-technical audience, and she has collaborated to host science education workshops and begin developing a citizen science insect monitoring program at Pomona College.  She is excited to continue working on communicating science and finding interdisciplinary solutions to environmental issues through the Interfaces of Global Change graduate program.