Avalon C.S. Owens is passionate about lights -- living lights, especially bioluminescent firefly beetles, and the artificial light that humans impose on the environment. Avalon is working to better our understanding of how artificial light at night affects firefly populations, and what adjustments we might be able to make to our lighting practices that can help humans and fireflies peacefully coexist for many generations to come. Fireflies are small, but Avalon believes that they can inspire profound environmental progress: conservative lighting practices that protect charismatic flagship species such as these will benefit all nocturnal creatures, many of which are in dire need of dark nights.
Post-graduation, Avalon hopes to continue researching and documenting the myriad ways in which artificial light at night impacts nocturnal (and diurnal) flora and fauna. She is also committed to turning her scientific recommendations into real world results, through public outreach, private consultation, and policy advocacy. Light pollution brought about by improper lighting practices is expensive, wasteful, unsightly, and damaging to human health. It is also one of the few anthropogenic disturbances that could be reversed in an instant, without any residual effects. Because of this, Avalon is hopeful that she will witness major changes to the nocturnal landscape within her lifetime.
Avalon obtained an A.B. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University, and an M.S. in Entomology from National Taiwan University. She serves on the board of the Zoological Lighting Institute, and has recently finished a term as president of the Cambridge Entomological Club. In her spare time, Avalon enjoys hiking, playing board games, making YouTube videos, and building things.
Fellow at a Glance
Rowland Institute of Science, Harvard University
Conservation Science & Biology