Dr. Michelle LaRue is a research ecologist at University of Canterbury who studies spatial and population dynamics of penguins, seals and cougars. You can find out more about her research and science communication at her website: https://www.drmichellelarue.com/ or on twitter (@drmichellelarue).

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early Bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

Larry, the German Shepherd

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

If you count animal photography as science-themed, then YES

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

Sometimes I can speak Spanish OK-ish

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?


9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?


10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Minneapolis, Minnesota to see my family

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

To extinguish hunger

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

Endurance by Alfred Lansing

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Drink coffee and then be outside for the rest of the day, preferably in the wilderness

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

Coffee, a dog, comfortable shoes

15 What beverage gives you life?

Coffee. Obviously.

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

I don’t know if I read this in school, but A Wrinkle In Time

17 What did you want to be be when you grew up?

A zookeeper

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Needing to know what’s going on; curiosity itself is what drives me

19 What got you excited in science?

Seeing the passion in my professors’ lectures & how much fun they were having

20 What excites you about science now?

The idea that I could have that same impact on other people

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Chrissy Teigen’s Instagram

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I have always, always been adept at creating a monstrous mess when I cook or bake

23 What is your favorite game?


24 What is the last book you read?

I constantly start books & don’t finish them. So the last one I read the most of was How to Win Friends & Influence People

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

To take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, no matter how seemingly large or small

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Probably bungee jumping

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Be true to yourself – the rest will fall into place if you’re patient and persistent

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Walking in the quiet, outside, and breathing fresh air

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I can’t get enough of that show.

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Probably some kind of food item that was long past its sell-by date. That’s gross, I know.

31 What is your favorite animal?

I have always loved horses

32 What is your favorite book?

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

A Minnesota hotdish of some kind

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

Summer solstice

35 What is your favorite plant?

Not much better than very old burr oak tree

36 What is your favorite science fact?

That emperor penguins starve themselves for months while incubating their eggs in the coldest, harshest conditions on earth. Incredible.

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?


39 What is your favorite sound?

I absolutely love bluegrass played on the fiddle

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I am 100% trustworthy

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?


42 What is your proudest moment?

Arriving at McMurdo Station to do field work with my team – as principal investigator

43 What kind of tree would you be?

A redwood

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

New Zealand is absolutely beautiful in every way

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I used to be terribly afraid of bees but am not anymore.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Tayler SantaMaria (@itatiVCS)