When I first enrolled at Clark, my interest in the biology department was sparked by neuroscience. After three years of taking as many different biology courses as my schedule would allow, I have gained an eclectic mix of field and laboratory experience in areas ranging from ecosystems to cellular mechanisms. I retain an interest in neuroscience and have added to that an interest in evolution. For this reason I am very pleased to have been offered a Lise Anne and Leo E. Beavers, II Endowed Fellowship allowing me to work toward understanding the evolution of the stress response in the threespine stickleback fish. Specifically, I will evaluate the relationship between opercular beat rate and cortisol levels (a stress response hormone) to determine if opercular beat rate can be used as a proxy for cortisol levels. This is of particular interest to me, academically and morally, because measuring opercular beat rate is non-invasive procedure, and could prove to be an important metric for evaluating genetically based differences in stress responses when looking at different stickleback populations
At the same time, I am very interested in stream ecology and plan to execute a survey and/or manipulative study of the effects of large woody debris on benthic invertebrates in local streams. Ideally, I would like to conduct this project over a relatively long time scale to incorporate any seasonal variation. I will be monitoring this project over the summer while I am at Clark, studying the male stress response of threespine stickleback. Ultimately, I will make a choice of direction but for the moment I am very pleased to be supported to explore my interests before deciding which to pursue for my 5th year BA/MA research.
Outside the lab:
Outside of my multiple interests in biology, I also enjoy baking, photography, hiking, and running. I love being outdoors and watching animals (and even plants too), and being able to euphemistically refer to those activities as “lab work” allows me to combine my academic interests and leisure activities.