- As a Ph.D. student in the Heffernan Lab, Chelsea studies ditches and other artificial aquatic systems. She seeks to understand their ecological role and what determines it. More broadly, she is interested in how water connects landscapes, and the interdependent persistence of nature and humans in human-dominated ecosystems. Chelsea is a Virginia Master Naturalist, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, and Earth Stewardship Initiative Fellow. Before Duke, Chelsea worked for Chesapeake Environmental Communications, The Nature Conservancy, Archbold Expeditions' MacArthur Agro-Ecology Research Center, White Mountain Research Station, and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. She got her BA in biology and environmental studies from Carleton College in 2010, and originates from the salt marshes of southeastern Virginia.