Well, we survived a day at the state capitol for the University of Missouri’s Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol. Michael Austin presented a poster on some of our work on generalization of learning in evolved populations of flies, which he has been coordinating. We spent the day in the rotunda between the representatives’ and the senate chambers. It was budget day so the place was packed with politicians and lobbyists along with the undergraduate researchers. Hopefully some of the politicians were impressed with the great work the students have been doing.
More good news on small grants. Matt Austin was awarded the Mickey Scudder Scholarship in Field Biology from the Webster Groves Nature Study Society. This will help fund Matt’s field work on bumble bees over the summer, and make some neat comparative work possible.
Lots of congratulations for Michael Austin and Pablo Iturralde, who have both been awarded research grants from the Harris World Ecology Center. Michael is working on measuring the economic and fitness costs paid by flies using their experimentally-evolved preference, and Pablo is working on transcriptomics of experimentally-evolved enhanced learning.
Lots of congratulations for Michael Austin, who was awarded an undergraduate research fellowship from UMSL’s College of Arts and Sciences! He has been working steadily in the lab on his projects as well as keeping all the flies alive on our evolved populations, which is no small task.
Spring semesters are when we teach Intro to Animal Behavior and the lab that goes along with it. We have had our interesting times in the past with crayfish husbandry, but this time we finally have the new aquarium system working in our favor thanks to an enormous amount of effort from Pablo (super TA) and Adam (awesome undergrad). Once we get the old paddlefish tanks in the basement working well again, and a little aquaponics setup in place for lettuce for crayfish snacks, our system will be complete. The crayfish are used in a set of experiments on dominance and conflict, which is pretty much the classic use of crayfish in undergrad animal behavior labs. Plus the students really enjoy it.