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.
Congratulations to Matt Austin and Lynnsey Street for receiving student research awards from the Harris World Ecology Center. Matt wrote his proposal to fund travel to a series of museums for his first dissertation chapter on comparative work with bumble bees. Lynnsey wrote her proposal to finish up the gene expression work on her memory testing with some of our evolved population of flies. Looking forward to seeing how everything turns out!
We are on a roll this week with defenses. Mellissa defended on Thursday and it was the culmination of an enormous amount of work with a 60 population experimental evolution study with some results we definitely did not predict. 5.27 million counted eggs later, and she had her result. So many congratulations to Mellissa for completing such an epic experiment, writing it up, and defending it!