Dominique Turney joined INHS in October 2019 as an aquatic nuisance species specialist at the Illinois River Biological Station.
Dominique earned her bachelor's degree from Purdue University with a double major in wildlife and fisheries and aquatic sciences in May 2016. She worked on a variety of research projects during her undergraduate career including mark-recapture modeling to estimate angler abundance and evaluating anthropogenic stressors on Gulf Killifish (Fundulus grandis) resulting from the 2010 Deep Horizon Oil Spill. After graduation, she worked as a naturalist aide for the Indiana DNR under the District 1 and 4 fisheries biologists.
Dominique began graduate school at Western Illinois University in January 2018. There she studied American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) passage timing and efficiency over navigational dams in the Upper Mississippi River using passive and active acoustic telemetry.
What are you looking forward to the most in your role at INHS?
I am most looking forward to applying research fundamentals towards exciting and important projects in invasive species research. I am excited to contribute my experience, creativity, and education to this team, but most importantly to have the mentorship from researchers that I deeply respect and admire!
How old were you when you first became interested in science? What sparked your interest?
I honestly cannot remember a time that I did not have a deep appreciation for science. From a young age, I have always had an unmatched curiosity about the world and I loved interacting with nature in any way possible. My involvement in middle school science fairs is largely what sparked my interest in science. Being able to have an idea, design a project, and then execute it is one of the most rewarding experiences in science!
Who or what drew you to your field of study?
My interest in fisheries started with my fascination with aquatic ecosystems. It is interesting to me to study an environment very different than the one I belong to and to consider how environmental parameters may affect these organisms differently than myself. There is still so much we do not know about our aquatic world and the mystery of this system keeps me intrigued and passionate about conducting aquatic research.
What are common misconceptions about your career?
It drives me crazy when I hear people say that Bighead and Silver carp are yucky fish! Many people are immediately turned off by the appearance of these large fish, but truth be told, these fish are extremely tasty and worth the effort to work up. The best way to beat them is to eat them!
What do you wish more people understood about science or being a scientist?
I think Auriel Fournier, director of Forbes Biological Station, said it best when she said, “Not all scientists are stuffy old dudes in lab coats holding beakers of green liquid”. Science is a place for people of all backgrounds to come together and share a wonderful diversity of ideas! I think it is important to broaden the way we envision scientists so that more people can visualize themselves in these roles!
What advice would you give to future scientists?
Try to keep an open mind and explore every opportunity that comes your way. You never know when an experience, no matter how small, may open additional doors and lead you to a perfect career!
What is the first thing you would buy/do if you won the lottery?
Claim my winnings, then buy 12 dogs (all corgis).