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Climate Effects on the Culture and Ecology of Sugar Maple

Maple syrup is produced from the sap of sugar maple collected in the late winter and early spring, and tapping maple trees is a cultural touchstone for many in New England. The tapping season is dependent on weather conditions, and climate change may impact the sustainability of maple sugaring. Our research with ACERnet (Acer Climate and Socio-Ecological Research Network; blogs.umass.edu/acernet) is funded by the Northeast Climate Science Center (necsc.umass.edu) and addresses the impact of climate on the quality of maple sap used to make maple syrup.

Vocal communication & song learning in birds

In the Podos Lab, we study a variety of questions related to vocal communication and singing behavior in songbirds. Right now, we're working with swamp sparrows in the lab to explore the process of song learning in males (those who sing to attract mates) and song preference development in females (those who assess songs when choosing a mate). These birds were collected last summer from local field sites, and have been raised in captivity over the past months.

Global Invaders Project

Invasive species reduce biodiversity and are considered a major threat to ecosystems worldwide. Despite general knowledge of their widespread impacts, we still lack a consistent list of which species are invasive, where they have been studied, and what sorts of specific impacts have been identified. This information is critical for understanding the conditions that lead to invasion and informing effective monitoring and management.

Digital Photo processing for 3D work

The Digital Life team, lead by Professor Duncan Irschick, is looking for a dedicated undergraduate to work with photo processing and 3D modelling of various organisms as part of the broader digital life team (look at www.digitallife3d.com for more on the project). The undergraduate would be expected to work with the team on organizing photos, creating and organizing 3D models, and once proper training has occurred, on working with some live organisms to create 3D models.

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