Research Projects by Subject
Note: Each research project will involve background reading for the interns provided by their mentors. Each research project will involve a final presentation by the interns.
Interns are expected to work collaboratively on the same project and/or data set. This may preclude rising seniors from submitting papers based on such projects to the Regeneron Science Talent Search competition.
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
|Code||Research Project Descriptions|
The Effect of Fluctuating Selection on Diversity
Primary mentor: Ben Wasserman
Faculty advisor: Prof. Eric Palkovacs
Location: Long Marine Lab
Number of interns: 2
Project description: Evolutionary changes can happen very fast if natural selection is constant, but can be slowed, stopped, and even reversed if environmental conditions are fluctuating. We are investigating the evolutionary responses of threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) fish to living in an ever-changing environment. Due to the seasonal pattern of rainfall in central California, sand bars form at the mouths of rivers and streams during the dry season, disconnecting these estuaries from the ocean. Stickleback in these environments show a diversity of forms usually found isolated in either fresh or salt water. The mentor's research group addresses whether it is the fluctuations in estuary environment that main diversity of these normally uniform traits.
Tasks: The SIP interns will assist in measuring armor traits in stickleback caught at different times of the year. This includes staining, measuring, and photographing fish. There will also be opportunities to assist in ongoing field work to collect samples. URL: https://wasserman.sites.ucsc.edu/ Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis; field work