Displaying 1 - 20 of 20

Is Sharing Caring? Investigating the Role of Horizontal Gene Transfer in Insect Fitness

Ashley Elizabeth Bendl : Undeclared Summer 2020

You may have heard the phrase “You look just like your mother,” but how often have you heard “You look just like a bacteria”? The former is an example of the type of genetic inheritance most of us are familiar with, vertical, or inheritance from parents to offspring. This project, however, involves horizontal inheritance: that is, the exchange of genes between... Read More

Examining Human Toxicity of Agricultural Pesticide Use in California

Colette Cosyn-Kang : Society and Environment, Political Economy Summer 2020

Pesticide use trends in California have shifted drastically in recent decades. As neurotoxic pesticides-such as organophosphates and carbamates- have been phased out of agricultural use, they have been replaced by other pesticides such as pyrethroids, neonicotinoids, and glyphosate (the active ingredient in RoundUp). However, little is known about the relative... Read More

Puzzling Proofs: Navigating Proof Construction and Communication in Middle School

Emma Bellman : Undeclared Summer 2020

Recent reforms in STEM education argue for students’ engagement in disciplinary practices, such as the construction and communication of a mathematical proof. Researchers have argued that some of the difficulties students face with proofs in particular, may stem from their limited opportunities to engage in productive disciplinary practices, such as successfully... Read More

Moving-Image Evidence in the Turn-of-the-Century Courtroom

Jesse Clements : Rhetoric Summer 2020

New technologies such as police body cameras and deepfake algorithms have recently put questions of photography’s value as evidence in the spotlight. However, photographic technologies have been part of the courtroom since the mid-nineteenth century. This project turns to the emergence of photography and cinema as evidentiary tools in the courtroom in an attempt... Read More

Seed Germination and Microbe Occupation: How Do Seed Microbe Communities Differ across Plant Species and What Does It Mean for Plant Health?

Fernando Trent Diaz : Molecular Cell Biology Summer 2020

The development of seeds and seedlings represent perhaps the most critical stage of a plant’s life. Within and on seeds live a multitude of bacteria and microfungi that can either deteriorate (pathogens) or improve (mutualists) seedling health. Seed microbes can be transmitted from both the surrounding environment (horizontal transmission) as well as from their... Read More

The Downstream Effects of Novelty: Did the Evolution of Scale-Eating Affect Mate Preferences in a Radiation of Bahamian Pupfish?

Julia Dunker : Undeclared Summer 2020

Novel traits (i.e. new traits or behaviors that allow organisms to perform a new function) have long fascinated biologists. Their evolutionary origins, however, are poorly understood and may involve changes in multiple behaviors and traits. The effects of these changes do not occur in a vacuum and may have downstream effects on other processes—such as the... Read More

Fish Foraging Behavior in Different Stream Habitats

Phoebe Gross : Molecular Environmental Biology Summer 2020

Habitat diversity in a watershed can support diverse biological communities, as well as promote diverse traits and behaviors within a population. This project will investigate if juvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) alter their foraging behavior in different stream habitats, using underwater video footage. This work will be part of a larger study that aims... Read More

The Role of Hybridization in Generating Weird Fish Faces in Caribbean Pupfish

Takao Kakegawa : Applied Mathematics, Data Science Summer 2020

While hybridization has historically been thought to hinder evolutionary processes, the idea that it might sometimes drive evolution instead has been gaining momentum in recent years, even in modern-day humans. Hybridization can sometimes result in extreme traits not observed in the parental species that allows hybrids to occupy new environments or eat new things... Read More

Comparative Jumping Biomechanics of California Squirrels

Lia Keener : Molecular Environmental Biology Summer 2020

Squirrels are extremely agile, comprise the second-most diverse group of rodents, and have colonized a wide range of environments across five of the seven continents, making them an ideal group in which to study the evolution of arboreal locomotion. My graduate student mentor and I are interested in understanding how their form (morphology), how they move (... Read More

Effects of Low Flow on Sierra Nevada Stream Food Webs

Daniel Khuu : Undeclared Summer 2020

Sierra Nevada snowmelt is predicted to occur up to two months earlier by 2080, but we do not know how aquatic food webs will respond. Changes in snowmelt timing could decrease stream insect abundance and biodiversity via increased temperature and duration of low flows. This project seeks to understand how extended low flows alter stream food webs. My graduate... Read More

Beach Flies of Hawaii

Irene Liang : Applied Mathematics (Data Science concentration) Summer 2020

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... Read More

Why Self-Love & Connectedness Matters: Enhancing Positive Outcomes among Transition-Age Youth

Xiamara Martinez Peredia : Philosophy Summer 2020

This project will focus on transition-age youth (TAY) in the foster care system. TAY are among the most vulnerable young adults in our society and are at increased risk for various negative outcomes including homelessness and low educational attainment. Although the child welfare system is concerned with improving their outcomes, it has not considered how their... Read More

Developing an Air Cathode Assisted Iron Electrocoagulation System to Remove Arsenic from Contaminated Drinking Water in Central California

Meire Mehare : Chemical Engineering/NE Summer 2020

Arsenic is a toxic carcinogen causing multiple forms of cancer and low IQ in children. In California, about 55,000 people are exposed to high levels of arsenic via their community water systems. As current technologies are too costly or complex to implement, the Gadgil lab is developing an affordable and effective technology, called Air Cathode Assisted Iron... Read More

The Monoculture Effect – Host Genetic Diversity and Infectious Disease Evolution

Marina Norfolk : Molecular Cell Biology Summer 2020

Interactions between infectious diseases and their hosts underpin a vast array of ecological and evolutionary dynamics. These host-parasite interactions are thought to contribute to the maintenance of genetic diversity in animal, plant, and insect hosts. One important factor in this is called the ‘monoculture effect’ where genetically homogenous host populations... Read More

Undergraduate Research in Soil Health and Agroecology

Michelle Tampa Flores : Microbial Biology Summer 2020

This project asks, how can agriculture work for both people and in the environment? Through field, greenhouse, and lab work, this research explores how diversified farming practices influence soil health, particularly arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and wild bee communities. In the field, my graduate student mentor and I are working with small-scale farmers of... Read More

Searching for New Superconductors: Transition Metal Oxides

Wendy (Fanghui) Wan : Physics Summer 2020

Superconductors are materials where quantum mechanical interactions between the constituent electrons induce a state with zero electrical resistance. They are often used in MRI machines and precision magnetometers. However, their applicability is hindered by the requisite cryogenic temperatures. Therefore, the discovery of novel superconductors that operate at... Read More

Mussel-Inspired Polymers for Mucosal Drug Delivery

Maple Wang : Undeclared Summer 2020

Mussels have the ability to adhere to wet surfaces through the byssus, a collection of protein-based threads, that are formed by the mussel’s foot. My graduate student mentor and I will investigate the use of mussel-inspired adhesive moieties to enhance contact and retention of polymers on mucosal tissues. In particular, I plan to use our mucoadhesive drug-loaded... Read More

Adaptive Radiations in Turtle Skulls

Danielle Yang : English, Integrative Biology Summer 2020

This research seeks to understand the morphological relationship between the bony and keratinous portions of the turtle feeding apparatus, as well as their relationship to diet and habitat. I will focus on a subset of these turtles to test hypotheses at a finer taxonomic level with the goal of exploring the morphological variation within this taxon. To identify... Read More

Evolution of Elaborate Design in Weaverbird Nests

Elisa Yang : Environmental Sciences Summer 2020

Nest structures are widespread across animals and yet are one of the most understudied components of avian life history. Some of the most remarkable examples of elaborate nest design are within the Weaverbirds (Ploceidae), an Old World family of birds containing over 100 species, making them an ideal model system for studying patterns of biodiversity. While it is... Read More

A Corpus Analysis of Akkadian Metaphors

Kevin Yu : Linguistics Summer 2020

This project involves constructing an online database of metaphors in Akkadian, one of the main languages of ancient Mesopotamia. The work is part of my graduate student mentor’s thesis, which looks at distinctive literary features of Akkadian literature. We will both analyze the internal structure of these metaphors and their distribution within a corpus of... Read More