SURF

Palveen Sekhon

Understanding Defensive Strategies: The Consequences of Losing Legs in Daddy Long-Legs

One crucial topic in ecology is understanding how animals respond to environmental pressures. My research aims to study the behavioral ecology of animal defenses in an evolutionary biology framework. Specifically, this project focuses on voluntary release of legs by arachnids. Although beneficial in the short term, this behavior can carry important negative consequences in the locomotion, physiology, and behavior of animals. Daddy long-legs are ideal for this research because of their unique morphology and behavior. Their accessibility also offers the possibility of performing extensive fieldwork and laboratory experiments in the Berkeley area.

Message to Sponsor

This experience allowed me to gain so much knowledge of my field in a way that I didn't think was really possible as an undergraduate. Between working very closely with graduate students so that they seemed more like peers, to having my voice heard in an academic setting, I gained so much appreciation for my field of study, as I was able to specialize in my areas of interest. Working with graduate students also allowed me to learn more about future academic possibilities that I wasn't really aware of, and helped me form new decisions as to what I will do after my undergraduate studies. I feel more confident in my future, and I am very grateful for everything that I was able to gain from being a SURF-SMART Fellow.
  • Major: Molecular Environmental Biology
  • Mentor: Ignacio Escalante