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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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. […]

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