Sophomore

Wine quality of emerging grape varieties for New England

The cold climate wine industry has recently boomed in the Northeastern America after the successful breeding of cold-tolerant grape varieties. These cultivars are also of interest in a broader geographic area as they are the most resilient to climate change. Cultural practices can have tremendous effect on fruit juice quality (sugar, acidity,...) and might allow to control disease by sustainable means rather than the use of pesticides. This project will quantify the effect of cultural practices on grape varieties to optimize fruit juice quality and control diseases.

Pathogens, parasites, and predators of an invasive insect

The winter moth (Operophtera brumata), an invasive insect accidentally introduced to eastern Massachusetts from Europe, has been causing widespread damage to deciduous trees and crops. I am looking for a motivated student interested in ecology, evolution, pathology, or entomology to work with me, a Ph.D. candidate in Organismal and Evolutionary Biology, on various aspects of winter moth population ecology. Projects include microscopy of diseased samples, molecular work evaluating the parasites affecting winter moth, processing field samples, and more!

The genetics of alkaloid production in tomatoes

A for-credit position is available at Caicedo Lab, Biology Department.

Traits such as bitterness are linked to alkaloids in tomatoes. Through their anti-herbivory properties, some alkaloids are thought to increase resistance in tomatoes against pests. However, little is known about the genetic basis of alkaloid production in tomatoes. Thus, this project aims at finding the genetic basis of alkaloid production and changes in alkaloid content during domestication.

DNA Extraction, PCR and Sequence Alignment of a Gall Wasp

This project will be based in an invasive insect and biological control lab. The black oak gall wasp is a stem galling insect that causes extreme oak tree mortality on Cape Cod and Long Island. The student will assist a PhD student with DNA, PCR and sequence alignment of parasitoids of the black oak gall wasp. It is not expected that the student have experience with these methods prior to hire. If the student does have experience, that will just accelerate the process and increase their independence.

Genetics and molecular mechanisms of host-microbe mutualism

The Wang Lab, located in the Life Science Laboratories, is interested in the mechanisms of beneficial host-microbe interactions. Our experimental system is the symbiosis between legumes and nitrogen-fixing rhizobia, with important economic and environmental relevance, as well as similarities to pathogenic interactions. The BURA student will be engaged in dissecting the genetic basis of the nitrogen-fixing symbiosis, in particular characterizing the defects in host mutants unable to sustain a successful symbiotic relationship.

Data Management & Analysis, Interpreting the Data You've Worked So Hard For

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. I am seeking volunteer undergraduate research assistants for Fall 2016 to assist me with my PhD research on food availability in suburban forest habitats and its effect on the behaviors of Wood Thrushes and Gray Catbirds rearing chicks.

Spiders, Worms, and Pillbugs – Oh My! Sorting Leaf Litter Invertebrates

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. I am seeking volunteer undergraduate research assistants for Fall 2016 to assist me with my PhD research on food availability in suburban forest habitats and its effect on the behaviors of Wood Thrushes and Gray Catbirds rearing chicks.

Bird TV? Behavioral Analysis of Nesting Songbirds from NestCam Footage

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. I am seeking volunteer undergraduate research assistants for Fall 2016 to assist me with my PhD research on food availability in suburban forest habitats and its effect on the behaviors of Wood Thrushes and Gray Catbirds rearing chicks.

Estrogen responsive cells in the zebra finch brain

We are interested in how hormones that are made in the brain impact neurons. In our lab we focus on the estrogen hormone known as estradiol, and determine how the synthesis of this chemical impacts audition in a small songbird known as the zebra finch. For this particular study, we are quantifying neurons that express a receptor for estradiol and asking whether these estrogen responsive cells belong to a specific subtype of neurons.

Ecology and Evolution of Primate Communities

Primates do not live by themselves in the forest. They interact with many other plants and animal species and these interactions can have important effects on primate behavior and ecology. Primate communities consist of all the primate species that interact with each other in a particular study site or area. Data are now available for several hundred primate communities from around the world. These data can be used to examine broad patterns of diversity and to test if these patterns are similar or different across continents.

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