Junior Scientists Take on Invasive Ants in New York City

Two junior researchers, Stephen Coyle (a rising college sophomore, top) and Kevin Catalan (a high school student, bottom), have been hard at work at Fordham University in New York City looking at how different colonies of invasive ants have been affected by Superstorm Sandy. I sat down with them virtually to discuss their exciting research in the lab of our collaborator, Dr. Sergios-Orestis Kolokotronis.

Kevin, I’ll start with you. Maybe you can tell me a little bit about yourself and what is it that you do?

Kevin: I’m a student at the Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics.  I’m a rising […]

By |August 26th, 2014|ants, Q & A, Student Features, Urban Ecology|0 Comments

Behind the Science: Painting ants and cracking acorns

Stepping into the lab last week, you would have no idea that the summer — for our undergraduates, at least — is winding to an end and that the academic school year is about to start. Last Tuesday I found Joe Karlik and Hanna Moxley, both rising seniors, busy running research trials and starting new experiments in the lab.

Joe Karlik has been trying to figure out why Temnothorax curvispinosus (also known as acorn ants) often stick their larvae and pupae, known as “brood,” to the roof of the acorns nuts in which they live. Why hang […]

By |August 19th, 2014|ants, Behind the Scenes, Student Features|0 Comments

Meet the Worker Bees: Hanna Moxley

Here’s another installment in our summer series, Meet the Worker Bees, where we introduce the undergraduate students, high school interns, and research technicians who make our research engine hum. Meet Hanna Moxley, a senior at NC State majoring in human biology, from Stanfield, North Carolina.

How did you decide to major in Human Biology?

I was freaking out when it was time to apply to colleges. At NC State you have to declare your major. I thought biology was really interesting in high school and so I thought, I’ll go in with biology. I’m glad […]

By |June 18th, 2014|ants, Education, Student Features|1 Comment

Meet the Worker Bees: Shaliek Morgan

Today we continue our summer series, Meet the Worker Bees, where we introduce the undergraduate students, high school interns, and research technicians who make our research engine hum. Meet Shaliek Morgan, originally from Brooklyn, NY, who is a junior at Shaw University majoring in biology. Shaliek is working with Dunn Lab post docs De Anna Beasley and MJ Epps and faculty mentor Eric Butler from Shaw University on an NSF-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) project.

What got you interested in Biology?

I had a lot of questions; I would look outside and wonder How is […]

By |June 10th, 2014|ants, Education, Student Features|1 Comment

Meet the Worker Bees: Liza the Urban Buzz Intern

Summer is nearly here which means the field season is now in full swing! Last week Lauren began a new photo series on the blog called Behind the Science, highlighting our research team in action. In addition to a rockin’ crew of post docs and graduate students, our team also includes a dedicated corps of undergraduate students, high school interns, and research technicians. And so this summer we’ll continue a feature we started last year called Meet the Worker Bees, profiling all the folks who make our research engine hum in the summertime.

Today we want you to meet […]

By |June 2nd, 2014|Education, Student Features, Urban Buzz|0 Comments

Swimming in Feces

Some food, er feces, for thought. Above is another thought-provoking figure from the students in Rob’s Community Ecology of Humans class. Data analysis by Ryann Rossi, Michael Just, and Benjamin Hess. Visualization by Neil Mccoy.

Did you miss last week’s figure about the movement of trash? Check it out now.

By |May 29th, 2014|Science Art, Student Features|5 Comments

The Birth of a Zombie Wasp

Graduate student Emily Meineke had one of those ‘OH S&^%!’ moments while in the lab the other day. Best part is she caught it on film.

Emily studies scale insects, small bugs that spend most of their lives sucking the juices from willow oaks. She’s also interested in the insects that attack scales. You can imagine that a scale insect stuck on a branch sucking plant juice is an easy target for a predator.

Scales are particularly vulnerable to attack by parasitoid wasps. Female wasps lay their eggs inside the scale. The scale essentially acts as a womb for […]

By |May 22nd, 2014|Nature in Your Backyard, Student Features, Urban Ecology|0 Comments

Where Does Our Trash Go?

Each day we throw away our trash, but once it leaves our hands, where does it go?

Last semester, Rob Dunn’s Community Ecology of Humans class tackled this question and a number of other questions about the waste generated by humans and the process by which it breaks down (called decomposition). Graduate students Ryann Rossi and Shannon Brown were particularly interested in the transport of waste to the final location where it decomposes. They led the in-class research team that generated the figure above. Here’s what they had to say about the figure:

We know trash is moved around, and yet we […]

By |May 21st, 2014|Student Features, Urban Ecology|1 Comment

For the Birds

**Today’s installment of Nature in Your Backyard is brought to you by Joseph Kirollos, a senior at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. He’s a student in the Science Communication Seminar, led by NCSSM Dean of Science, Dr. Amy Sheck.**

For many years now, my dog’s food bowl has been a must-see summer attraction for the various songbirds that roam my neighborhood. It has become a sort of watering hole, to which flocks of everything from woodpeckers to towhees to cedar waxwings find refuge, nourishment, and, of course, the company of fellow birds. Naturally, as […]

By |February 10th, 2014|Nature in Your Backyard, Student Features|0 Comments

Nature in Your Backyard: O Christmas Trees!

**Today’s installment of Nature in Your Backyard is brought to you by Madeleine Gonzalez, a senior at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. She’s a student in the Science Communication Seminar, led by NCSSM Dean of Science, Dr. Amy Sheck.**

I grew up in Jefferson, a small town in western North Carolina that you probably haven’t noticed, but one who’s main agricultural product you most certainly have. Jefferson, you see, is a leading producer of live Christmas trees.

In fact, from my childhood backyard, you can see rows and forests of Fraser fir and white pine trees. They […]

By |January 24th, 2014|Nature in Your Backyard, Student Features|0 Comments

Nature in Your Backyard: Invasion of the Ladybugs

**Today’s installment of Nature in Your Backyard is brought to you by Addie Jackson, a senior at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. She’s a student in the Science Communication Seminar, led by NCSSM Dean of Science, Dr. Amy Sheck.**

While at home over winter break, I woke up in the middle of the night to a startling sensation of something crawling on me. After frantically jumping up and turning on enough lights to illuminate my entire front yard, I discovered the source: two ladybugs taking a stroll across my arm.

Ladybugs – particularly a kind called the […]

By |January 16th, 2014|Arthropods, Education, Nature in Your Backyard, Student Features|2 Comments

Meet the Worker Bees: Q & A with Joe Karlik

Our lab has been buzzing with research activity this summer. We thought it would be fun to sit down with a few of the worker bees — undergraduates, high school interns, and research technicians — to ask them some questions and learn more about their work.

Joe Karlik

Major: Biology and Physics; Senior

Position in lab: Research Technician; started May 2013

Joe has been involved in field and lab work ranging from the construction of ant colony nest boxes to the collection, feeding, counting and monitoring of ant individuals from 6 different species.

Describe your project/research: I am working on a project studying how temperature variation affects […]

By |August 15th, 2013|Q & A, Student Features, Your Wild Life Team|0 Comments

Meet the Worker Bees: Q & A with Mary Vincent

Our lab has been buzzing with research activity this summer. We thought it would be fun to sit down with a few of the worker bees — undergraduates, high school interns, and research technicians — to ask them some questions and learn more about their work.

Name: Mary Vincent Undergraduate Mary Vincent sorts ants collected from the field for placement into the Phytotron, Dunn Lab, NCSU

Degree: Major in Zoology, Minor in Environmental Sciences

Year in School: Junior

Career Goal: Graduate School, M.S. Genetics

How long have you been working in our lab? 5 months, since […]

By |August 13th, 2013|Feature, Q & A, Student Features, Your Wild Life Team|0 Comments

Meet the Worker Bees: Q & A with Moriah Barrow

Our lab has been buzzing with research activity this summer. We thought it would be fun to sit down with a few of the worker bees — undergraduates, high school interns, and research technicians — to ask them some questions and learn more about their work.

 

Name: Moriah Barrow
Degree: Engineering (undeclared)
Year in school: Sophomore
Career Goal: Product Engineer / Physical Therapist
How long have you been working in our lab? About 8 months; started in January 2013

Describe your project/research: My Project uses the pladmodium of the slime mold Physarum polycephalum to model hurricane evacuation routes in the southeast United States. Using slime molds is a really
By |August 6th, 2013|Q & A, Student Features|0 Comments

Meet the Worker Bees: Q & A with Shelby Anderson

Our lab has been buzzing with research activity this summer. We thought it would be fun to sit down with a few of the worker bees — undergraduates, high school interns, and research technicians — to ask them some questions and learn more about their work.

Name: Shelby Anderson Shelby Anderson at microscope

Degree: International Relations and French

Year in school: Post-Baccalaureate

Career goal: Physician

How long have you been working in our lab? 7 months

Describe your project/research: I am currently sorting and identifying arthropods that were collected in New York City, from the medians of […]

By |August 1st, 2013|Feature, Q & A, Student Features, Your Wild Life Team|0 Comments