Irene Liang

Beach Flies of Hawaii

A provisional list of beach flies from Hawaii has been collected over this past summer. Improvement upon the phylogeny across Canacidae can be used as a hypothesis-testing framework on how flies have adapted to multiple ecological niches from saline environments to freshwater ecosystems. While many of these flies are found around the world, one lineage in the Hawaiian Islands has lost the ability to tolerate saline habitats and currently occupies high elevation freshwater streams. Organizing collection information, examining DNA sequences, and developing identification keys to this important group will bring my graduate student mentor and I closer to understanding the impressive biodiversity of these tropical islands.

Message to Sponsor

This summer has been a truly exceptional experience, especially considering the current circumstance. I am very thankful to be able to conduct research and pursue my interest in the middle of a pandemic. Through SURF-SMART, I gained first hand experience in the troubleshooting and multi-step process of bioinformatics research. I was able to connect, communicate, and collaborate with people from different fields. I grew not only as a scholar, but also as a person. As an applied mathematics major, because of this wonderful research experience stipend by the Johnson Fund, I would like to branch out and pursue an intersectional career in the field of biological mathematics and biostatistics.
  • Major: Applied Mathematics (Data Science concentration)
  • Sponsor: Anonymous
  • Mentor: Nina Pak