Welcome! My name is Dr. Alex Bajcz, and I am the staff Quantitative Ecologist for the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) at the University of Minnesota-St. Paul, a position I began in June 2022. The year preceding, I was a post-doctoral researcher contributing to several MAISRC-funded projects. Before that, I was an Assistant Professor of Plant Ecology and Environmental Science at Drew University in Madison, NJ from 2018-2021, where I taught biology and environmental science courses and conducted field and lab research before deciding I wanted to return “home” to the Midwest to pursue a more Data Science-y focus.
My current work at MAISRC is multi-faceted, but it fits into three broad categories:
- Providing statistical, methodological, and computational support and guidance to MAISRC-funded research teams, especially the graduate students and post-docs on those teams.
- Collecting, wrangling, processing, archiving, improving, and analyzing data relevant to Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) science in Minnesota and making these data and insights gleaned from available to research teams, stakeholders, and the public through platforms like AIS Explorer.
- Keeping up to date with advancements in the fields of applied statistics, quantitative ecology, data science, etc. and contributing to these fields as I am able.
In the past, my research has focused on how and why plants reproduce in the ways they do (work still very relevant to what I am doing now!). In particular, I worked to determine how environmental factors (e.g., soil pH and plant density) influence the physical and chemical properties of reproductive structures produced by plants—especially fruits. What information do plants sense and integrate to “decide” how to make their fruits? What features of a fruit actually matter to its future success? And what will happen to the ways fruits are made as the environmental conditions of our planet rapidly change? These are the types of questions that motivated me! In particular, two global change processes (climate change and invasion) were centered in my work, and I bring my expertise with these processes to my current work at MAISRC.
My “oeuvre” also includes the programming language R, simulation modeling, behavioral and evolutionary biology, environmental science, and science pedagogy. Outside of academia, I am a crossword constructor; my puzzles have been published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets. I am also an avid board game player. Please check out the other pages on this site for more information on these and other topics!