Senior

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.

Bird TV? Behavioral Analysis of Nesting Songbirds from NestCam Footage

Research in the Warren lab focuses on the impacts of urbanization on wildlife. Suburban development changes habitat structure, influences resource availability, and affects wildlife behavior. As food availability in a habitat changes, animals must make foraging decisions to optimize the use of their time and energy while still avoiding predator detection.

Growth and development of plant roots

My laboratory is looking for an undergraduate research assistant. We study the mechanisms underlying plant growth, using roots as experimental material. We grow plants in the green house to collect seed, and we grow plants in the laboratory on agar medium in Petri dishes to characterize the roots. We are using a vareity of genetic and physiological approaches. The research assistant will help us on a basic level (making medium, harvesting seed) but also in a more specialized way, making various kinds of measurements on the roots through the microscope.

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.

Circadian rhythms and estrous cycles

A master circadian pacemaker in the hypothalamus controls not only rhythms of sleep and wakefulness but also neuroendocrine functions including the estrous cycle in mice and hamsters. By studying mutants and conditional knockouts, we examine the roles of specific genes and their protein products in the brain circuitry that generates the preovulatory surge of luteininzing hormone (LH) from the anterior pituitary. Projects require handling of animals in order to track estrous cycles, ovariectomy, hormone assays, PCR genotyping, and immunostaining (with quantitative neuroanatomical analyses).

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.

Understanding snake-like body forms with 3D modelling

The Irschick lab at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst is looking for an undergraduate to continue our work on the evolution of snake-like body forms, such as found in skinks and other similar animals. This work is part of a broader NSF-funded project to examine the evolution of Philippine skinks and the general snake-like body form they use. The student will also be looking at larger snake-like forms, such as from larger snakes.

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