Lauren Zerbib

The Effect of Birth Order on the Induction of Mixis in the Rotifer B. calyciflorus

The basis of sexual reproduction is a perennial topic of interest in evolutionary biology. The rotifer, Brachionus Calyciflorus, is an interesting system to compare sexual and asexual reproduction because it is cyclically parthenogenetic, meaning it alternates between generations produced sexually and asexually. By understanding the mechanisms controlling the timing of sexual reproduction in such organisms, we can better understand how natural selection determines the balance between asexual and sexual reproduction. In this study I look at the contributions of three related factors in determining the proportion of sexually reproducing daughters a female produces. This study aims to answer how birth order, days since mictic egg and generations since mictic egg and/or their interactions, best explains the patterns of mixis inducibility.

Message to Sponsor

Staying in Berkeley over the summer to pursue my interest in the evolution of sexual reproduction is a wonderful opportunity. I have great mentors from the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology who are enthusiastic about me investigating my own question in the subject of evolution. I will not only use this research to complete my Senior Honors Thesis in Integrative Biology, I also hope to publish my research in a scientific journal at its completion. Conducting independent research is a major step for my future as a science researcher and will significantly help my chances of being accepted to a graduate school next year. Thank you SURF!
  • Major: Integrative Biology
  • Mentor: Craig Moritz, Integrative Biology