Powell, Scott (Active)
George Washington University
Entomology/Community ecology
Scott was born April 11, 1975, in London England. From growing up catching animals and getting covered in mud in local parks, he ventured off to university in the tropical climate of Florida. Scott earned a Bachelor’s degree in biology from Florida State University in 1997, with an honors thesis on behavioral dominance and social organization in trap-jaw ants under the guidance of Walter Tschinkel. This experience cemented an endless love of ants. Scott went on to a Master’s degree at the University of Connecticut, where he again studied dominance and organization in ants, but also had life-changing exposure to Neotropical field research as an assistant of Carl Rettenmeyer. Following the completion of his Master’s degree, Scott won a Short-Term Fellowship from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama to study army ant evolutionary ecology. This work continued in his Ph.D. research at the University of Bristol in the laboratory of Nigel Franks, but with more than 700 field days spent at the Smithsonian’s Barro Colorado Research Station in Panama. After completing his PhD is 2005, Scott was awarded a small research grant to explore a new research direction studying the evolutionary ecology and community ecology of turtle ants in the Neotopical savanna of Brazil. This new direction then grew into an Independent Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, UK, between 2005 and 2008. Two collaborative research projects on turtle ant ecology and behavior followed, with Robert Marquis at the University of Missouri St. Louis and Anna Dornhaus at the University of Arizona, respectively. This busy time was spent living between Brasília, Brazil and Tucson, Arizona. Scott joined the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences at the George Washington University in 2012, where he teaches courses in introductory ecology, community ecology, and the ecology and evolution of societies. Scott remains obsessed with ants. His primary research focus is on how ecological interactions shape trait evolution in social insects, and how traits mediate assembly in contemporary ant communities. Scott’s fieldwork spans sites in Brazil, Panama, Florida, and local eastern oak forests. Scott currently lives in Takoma Park, with his wife Beatriz and daughter Luna.