Mellissa Marcus, MS

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!


Congratulations to Priya, PhD!

We were all so happy to see Priya Maharaj successfully defend her dissertation last Tuesday. Priya worked with Godfrey Bourne on color-mediated foraging in two passionflower butterflies in Guyana along with some behavioral work at the Butterfly House here in St. Louis. Priya also worked on bumblebee color-mediated foraging in our lab and we are looking forward to finishing up that paper in January once she gets settled into her new job back in Guyana. CONGRATULATIONS!!

(I totally had to steal this picture from FB since I didn’t manage any pictures of my own!)


Ben’s Successful Defense!

Lots of congratulations to Ben Abts, who successfully defended his master’s thesis today!! He gave a great talk on his work on forgetting and the value of social information in foraging bumble bees. Ben was the lab’s first official Bee Czar, helping undergrads and high school students in learning to wrangle bees in experiments. He is going to finish up a small experiment now to add to his thesis, and it should make for a great paper!


Biology Research Symposium 2016

The Biology Graduate Students Association organized the annual research symposium for the department and Andreia from our lab served on the organizing committee (great job!). We had some nice talks from the lab: Matt gave the newest results from a cool foraging experiment on bees and Lynnsey gave a nice overview of her project comparing long term memory and anesthesia-resistant memory in our evolved flies. Hannah won the undergrad section of the 3 minute competition and, among other interesting prizes, got a salad shaker for the second consecutive year. Impressive. Finally, Ben and Itachi got to show off their posters to department colleagues. Nice day of science.



Powdered Flies

We annoyed some flies this week. The plan was to powder them and then track them via camera traps. Usually what happens is that flies groom all the powder off except for a bit at the top of their thorax, and then they are easily seen in a group. That did not happen with our newer evolved populations: these flies groomed everything off within 24 hours. So it is back to hand painted flies for us.