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Students

Colby Behrens
colbybb2@illinois.edu
Examining genetic mechanisms influencing behavior in three-spined stickleback fish (Advisor: Alison Bell)
Samantha Capel
scapel2@illinois.edu
(Advisor: Ken Paige)
Hannah Darcy
hdarcy2@illinois.edu
(Advisor: Phil Anderson)
Kim Drager
kdrager2@illinois.edu

I am interested in the nest architecture of soil dwelling ants (both ancient and modern) and how nest structure varies between ant species and geological environments.  Most of my work utilizes ant nest casts using molten metal, plaster, or acrylic as a medium. I use three-dimensional scans of nest casts to measure geometric properties of ant nest architecture, which can be used as references for identifying ant nests preserved in the fossil record. Three-dimensional scans are also used as inputs for modeling ant nest effects on physical, chemical, and hydrological properties of the surrounding soil. (Advisor: Andy Suarez)

Michael Grispo
grispo2@illinois.edu
It is of no doubt how sight is important in the fitness of organisms from aquatic to terrestrial. The lens plays an essential role in refracting light onto the retina to produce clear images, requiring lens proteins (crystallins) to be densely packed together while maintaining transparency. Proteins, especially closely related proteins, at very high concentrations tend to aggregate, falling out of solution. Lens crystallins evolved not only to refract light, but to also maintain solubility extremely crowded conditions. While mammalian lenses are quite dense, teleost fish lenses are substantially more dense and are far more tolerant of cold temperatures -- resisting cold cataracts well below freezing conditions. I aim to address how the teleost fish crystallins have evolved to maintain solubility at very high concentrations while also resisting cold cataracts at extremely cold temperatures. (Advisor: Chris Cheng)
Christopher Holmes
cholmes4@illinois.edu
My research focuses on the role of zooplankton dispersal and subsequent colonization on community assemblages in aquatic ecosystems. Studying these metacommunity dynamics will help us understand how zooplankton populations will respond to habitat alteration and how overall ecosystem biodiversity will be affected. (Advisor: Carla Caceres)
Cody Jones
cpjones2@illinois.edu
(Advisor: Ken Paige)
Shelby Lawson
slawson3@illinois.edu
Behavioral ecology, breeding strategies, mate choice, vocal communication/perception in birds (Advisor: Mark Hauber)
Alec Luro
alecl2@illinois.edu
Behavioral & cognitive ecology, evolution, avian brood parasitism and species recognition in birds (Advisor: Mark Hauber)
Joshua (Miles) Mesa
jmmesa2@illinois.edu
My research focuses on plant-animal interactions with an emphasis on the plant compensatory response following herbivory. Currently, I am testing whether plant compensation and resistance are molecularly interdependent and therefore positively correlated with one another. This is in contrast with the classic view that plant compensation and resistance are redundant strategies for defense against herbivory and should be mutually exclusive. (Advisor: Ken Paige)
Niraj Rayamajhi
nirajr2@illinois.edu
My research interest lies in population genomics of natural populations and computational biology (Advisor: Julian Catchen)
Angel Rivera-Colón
angelgr2@illinois.edu
Research Interests: Genomics, genome evolution. (Advisor: Julian Catchen)
Bradley Scott
brscott2@illinois.edu
(Advisor: Phil Anderson)
Lynette Strickland
lrstric2@illinois.edu
I am interested in molecular and genomic evolution, essentially, the changes within the genome and/or accompanying proteins, that facilitate the phenotypic and morphological adaptations of an individual, population, or species to their environment. Currently, I am studying the genetic and developmental mechanisms of color variation in Cassidine beetles, it's ecological significance and how color polymorphisms are maintained in populations. (Advisor: Carla Caceres)
Andrew Wszalek
wszalek1@illinois.edu
(Advisor: Ken Paige)
Veronica Yoon
eyoon8@illinois.edu
I am currently studying the evolutionary biology and physiology of the most derived species of Antarctic fishes (Notothenioidei: Channichthyidae) through the analysis of genetic data. (Advisor: Chris Cheng)