We are thrilled that grad student Jill Lee passed her master’s thesis defense this week!!! Once she turns in her final revisions, she will complete her degree!
Jill gave a great talk on her work, “The effects of overshadowing in Drosophila melanogaster with experimentally evolved preference.” Jill took some of our experimentally evolved fly populations and then tested whether the resource preference that we evolved for where females choose to lay eggs then affects learning when multiple stimuli are present. Will a stimulus with an evolved preference be more likely to overshadow a stimulus without that same history? The short answer is: its complicated. The evolutionary background of the flies influences their learning, but only in interactions with aspects of the learning scenario such as whether the pairing was aversive or appetitive, and whether the test featured an experimentally evolved stimulus with a more novel stimulus, or the same two options the flies were experimentally evolved with.
Congratulations Jill on persisting in your research work through a global pandemic and while working full time!