Research Project: Rule Abstraction in Honey Bees Prerequisite: Interest and willingness to work with live animal subjects; Availability during nights and weekends Description: I am interested in the shared cognitive experiences of humans and non-human animals. Specifically, I seek to discover how humans and animals learn rules and use them to produce patterns of behaviors. Previously, I have seen common rule-learning mechanisms in rat and humans. I am now interested to see if this rule-learning mechanism can be seen in an invertebrate species. This summer I will be be collecting data on rule abstraction and pattern performance in honey bees. Student experience will involve instruction in handling of honey bees along with appropriate techniques to use in a live-animal laboratory, daily interaction/maintenance of subjects and equipment, instruction in the field of comparative cognition, writing research proposals, data analysis, and production of presentations.
Research Project: Molecular ecology and evolution of aquatic insects Prerequisite: Introductory biology sequence (molecular biology, genetics, evolution, ecology); micropipetting Description: My research broadly focuses on the application of molecular tools to questions in ecology, evolution, and organismal biology. I am particularly drawn to the study of aquatic biodiversity, including the role of migration among populations in disturbed habitats. These waters have a history of pollution and physical disruption, with implications for environmental and human health. Students in my lab are involved in collection, DNA extraction, PCR amplification, and/or sequence analysis of larval insects from streams and waterways in southeast Michigan. Research projects may include the generation and analysis of DNA sequences to explore 1) genetic connections among populations, 2) detection of invasive species, and 3) the influence of heavy metal contamination.