This past year has consisted of a number of big events, each of which should have received the attention of its own post. While some certainly will, I wanted to post a brief summary of what is new.
Round Goby Research at Stone Laboratory
I had an outstanding REU student while at Stone Laboratory who completed a research project on resource holding potential in the round goby, Neogobius melanostomus. Alex Maytin, an undergraduate student attending Boston University did outstanding work collecting fish, setting up behavioral trials, and dissecting fish. We’re currently still rescoring videos of the behavioral trials, but the results will be presented at SICB this winter in New Orleans!
Field Behavioral Ecology at Stone Laboratory
This past summer I taught Field Behavioral Ecology (EEOB 3420) at Stone Laboratory on Gibraltar Island on Lake Erie. This was the first time Behavioral Ecology had been offered at Stone in quite some time, and it was a great opportunity to develop another course of my own. In addition to learning the fundamentals of behavioral ecology, students got a chance to visit a number of the islands of Lake Erie, performed a number of field experiments while learning field research techniques, and each developed their own independent research project and presented their findings in a manuscript and through a conference-style presentation.
I had an outstanding group of students, and they seemed to really enjoy the course. Additionally, I couldn’t have asked for a better TA – Destiny Palik. Destiny did excellent work, was great with the students, and took some awesome pictures while on the island too!
After leaving Stone Lab in July, I moved west from Ohio to begin my NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology at University of California, Davis. I’m working in the lab of Dr. Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez, and we’re doing some exciting work on how human impacts have influenced the introduced western mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis, living in the Central Valley of California. I’m especially excited about this work because it will make clear links between environmental impacts and behavior by investigating how these human impacts have influenced they physiology of organisms, and in turn how these shifts influence behavior. I’m learning a new suite of lab techniques, and I’m eager to put them into practice! This project has already become extremely collaborative, and I’m excited about working with students and faculty from across Davis and beyond. Museum collections will also be a key component of this project, and I’ve already had the opportunity to visit some since beginning the postdoc. These specimens are being photographed and morphometric analyses will be performed in order to make comparisons between current and historical populations.
As lab and field work continues in association with this project, I will no doubt have plenty to share here. I’ve greatly enjoyed being part of the intellectual community here at Davis, and my research and I have greatly benefitted from being a part of it. California isn’t too bad either…