Fraser McKee - Ph.D. Candidate



Brian Aukema


Nottawa, Ontario, Canada

Research Topic

The biological and ecological factors contributing to the current outbreak of eastern larch beetles in northern Minnesota.

Why Insects?

The study of forest entomology is, for me, the perfect balance between an academic pursuit and a job that allows me to get out of the office and spend time in remote areas while conducting fieldwork. Although insects are important and fascinating components to countless facets of ecology, the potential that forest insects have for acting as disturbance agents that influence forest “health”, structure, nutrient cycling, and ecosystem function is fascinating. I am drawn to the study of insects because of the enormous diversity in the types of projects and studies that can be undertaken ranging from highly practical to strictly intellectual interests.

Why University of Minnesota?

The University of Minnesota has a top-ranked entomology program with faculty members that have received numerous awards for teaching and research excellence. The department is exceptionally friendly and interested in the work being performed by each student. Also, Minnesota as a state offers a variety of ways to enjoy life and have outside of work including many outdoor and recreational activities. The Twin Cities themselves always offer a variety of interesting activities ranging from museums and culture to exciting nightlife.


To get a research position at a mid-sized university while also working for a federal or provincial forest research and management organization.

Favorite Insect


Other interests/hobbies

Camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, canoeing, swimming, and hockey

Coffee or tea?