Abby Walden


Contact Information

I am a senior and am interested in climate change, ecology and invasive species. I want to study environmental or climate science in college and hope to pursue related research and contribute to conservation efforts. I am also interested in the policy and environmental justice sides of climate action and advocacy.

Current Research Project

Currently I am working on a project with Allaria petiolata, commonly known as garlic mustard.  I have gotten samples from many latitudes of its invasive region including New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. I will perform PCR with primers that are created for a gene that has been sequenced and compared between its native European and invasive regions in the US and compare the sequences between US regions to look for evidence of local adaptation. I am also working on a parallel project growing garlic mustard seeds from Hungary (native) and California (invasive) alongside broccoli as a native US control plant in different soil types (sterile and nonsterile). I will collect data on the growth with and without nutrients in the soil as well as observe interactions with soil organisms. The goal is to better understand the invasions of garlic mustard and its success as well as how that might continue as global warming continues and the regions it persists in warm.

Future Presentations

Northeastern Plant, Pest, and Soil Conference — January 2022

Mercer Science and Engineering Fair — March 2022

New Jersey Junior Science and Humanities Symposium — March 2022

Top Left: garlic mustard in the wild; Right: sterile samples; Bottom Left: samples in potting soil with nutrients