Nick Barts. Photo provided by Nick Barts
Nick Barts. Photo provided by Nick Barts

I’m a queer comparative physiologist interest in how and why organisms do what they do to live in places we think they shouldn’t. On top of being a scientist, I’m also an educator, baseball and hockey lover, and pop and punk aficionado. You can find more about me, my science, and many topics I’m passionate about on my twitter and website (

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Night owl

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

Although currently not living with me, I still claim my chubby feline friend Mr. FeeFee as my own.

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

I do! I currently have a fish-shaped wine bottle opener and Erlenmeyer flask shaped salt and pepper shakers.

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?


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

I think I’d want to be a professional chef or baker!

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

I’ve always been really interested in weather, so I think meteorology could be really cool.

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

I’d love to go to Portland, it is on my travel bucket list.

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

I’d want to have the ability to control plants, because I struggle to keep most of mine alive currently.

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

Oh goodness! I’d strongly recommend listening to any of Against Me!’s music. I love Laura Jane Grace and how authentic her music is.

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

Go “hike” across the prairie and cook an elaborate meal!

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

I don’t think I could live without my Spotify playlists, books, and tacos.

15 What beverage gives you life?

Honestly? Strawberry lemonade.

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

Fahrenheit 451

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

I flipped between zoologist and history teacher.

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

My natural curiosity drives me forward in my research, and my desire to help and interact with others pushes me to be the best teacher I can be.

19 What got you excited in science?

I was always interested in knowing everything I could about the animals around me, and my childhood camping adventures really instilled an appreciation for nature in me.

20 What excites you about science now?

Science gives me the opportunity to ask questions no one knows the answer to and get creative to find that answer. What could be better!

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Syfy movies. Sharktopus is legendary.

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I can burp on command.

23 What is your favorite game?

Board game: Pandemic.
Video game: Bloodborne.

24 What is the last book you read?

A Queer History of the United States for Young People

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

Don’t be afraid to question what you know.

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

I’m terrified of roller coasters!!!!! I’m 26 years old and I’ve never been on a real one.

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

In a year from now, you’ll wish you started today

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

I usually go for a run or bake cookies

29 What is the last thing you watched?

I just finished watching season two of the Magicians.

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

I found a dried up fish tail in my backpack about a month after returning from the field.

31 What is your favorite animal?


32 What is your favorite book?

My favorite book of all time is Tweak by Nic Sheff

33 What is your favorite comfort food?


34 What is your favorite day of the year?

October 31!

35 What is your favorite plant?

I love a good fern.

36 What is your favorite science fact?

There is a group of bees that feed on rotting meat instead of pollen!

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?


39 What is your favorite sound?

Water running over rocks

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

My resilience!

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

Sacapuntas (pencil sharpener)

42 What is your proudest moment?

Being the first person in my immediate family to graduate college

43 What kind of tree would you be?

A mangrove

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

I really enjoy looking out at the rolling hills and fields in Kansas.

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

Platypuses don’t have nipples, just milk patches.

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

Sam Sharpe @plantrolemodels