Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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Department of Biological Sciences
Graduate Student Research
alphabetical order by last name
"I am studying the gene expressions of Helicoverpa zea when fed soybean plants."
"I'm researching keratinophilic fungi found in the soil and guano from caves in southern Illinois. These caves harbor bats that may be infected with Geomyces destructans (the fungus that causes white nose syndrome in bats)."
"My thesis research regards fish alarm pheromone behavioral responses in native minnow and darter populations of Illinois, studying Red Shiners, Blunt-Nosed Minnows, Orangethroat Darters, and Johnny Darters. I am interested in determining the effects of varying water conditions on the behavioral alarm pheromone response."
"My research focuses on saugeye in Argyle Lake in Colchester, Illinois. Specifically I am studying the population size, mortality rates, and diet preferences before and after a fall water draw-down."
"My research is focusing on parasites (flukes) that infect bluegill found in Spring Lake here in Macomb. The focus of the project is to compare parasite loads in fish captured the fall versus fish in the spring. I will be looking at two consecutive years (fall of 2010 and spring of 2011, and then fall of 2011 and spring of 2012), with the hypothesis that higher parasite loads will be found in the fall fish because parasitized fish will not be healthy enough to overwinter successfully and will die, resulting in smaller parasite loads in the spring fish."
"I am studying the species composition of the turtle community within the New Crystal Lake Club through mark and recapture. Habitat use and movement within the lake are being monitored for each species. Finally, a radio telemetry study is being conducted on several Blanding’s turtles to determine habitat use and movement at a finer scale."
"My research investigates the variables influencing habitat choices of the North American river otter. I am using trail cameras to conduct point counts of otters along the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge and comparing relative counts against particular characteristics of each habitat."
"At the Niabi Zoo, I have completed Volunteer, Ambassador, and Docent Training, and am working on my WIU Practicum with the Petting Zoo and Birds."
"My thesis project is a comparison of fish population structure and community between Pool 19 and Pool 20 on the Mississippi River using electroshocking techniques."
"I am working with Dr. Andrea Porras-Alfaro in collaboration with Dr. Andrew Miller at the University of Illinois and Dr. Bob McCleery at University of Florida. I am studying fungi associated with bats in Illinois. Specifically my study focuses on the diversity of Geomyces species found in bat wings of healthy bats. Recently I accepted a position at the Missouri Department of Conservation."
"My research is focused on understanding how the algal community changes (species composition and relative abundance) at Emiquon, a Nature Conservancy project to restore Thompson and Flag Lakes back to their former wetland status."
"I am studying the genetic differentiation in Chelopistes meleagridis (the large turkey louse) in the midwest and how that relates to host biology. I'm now working as a Medical Research Specialist at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA and currently working on DNA polymerase epsilon."
"I am researching the effects of pathogenic bacteria on the pest Helicoverpa zea. Specifically, I am examining how key digestive and immune response genes are regulated in response to exposure from Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Serratia marcescens."
"I am studying ways to improve the transformation efficiency of bacteria of the genus Leukonostoc. Several species of Leukonostoc produce unique polysaccharides, but study of how these complex carbohydrates are produced is hindered by
low transformation efficiency. My research is focused on remedying this problem using electroporation and cell wall treatments."
"I am particularly interested in the genetic basis of susceptibility and resistance to antimicrobial agents."
Is the manager of A Zoo to You.
Osatuyi Mobayode (Desmond)
"I am studying the effect of different strains of bacteria on Helicoverpa zea caterpillars and gene expression."
"My research is looking at the effects of Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea) management, and the ecology of the federally threatened Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid (Platanthera leucophaea). I want to understand the effects of Reed Canary Grass management on population dynamics of the orchid."
"My research deals with understanding a herbivore's response to a plant with activated defenses. We analyzed the transcriptome of Helicoverpa zea after feeding on tomato leaflets with activated JA and SA pathways. This research will contribute to the understanding of how an insect responds to plant defense compounds through gene expression and the use of phytohormone treatments for plant protection."
"I research the transcriptomic response of Helicoverpa zea when infected with a baculovirus HzSNPV. I seek
to understand the global gene expression patterns of both the whole organism and the gut tissue during viral infection. This information can be applied to several different areas of entomology to potentially produce and improve methods for biological control."
"My research focuses on the genetic expression of caterpillars that feed on fungus-treated maize plants."
"At Lincoln Park Zoo, I've volunteered for the Education department both at Farm-in-the-Zoo as well as at main zoo, facilitating cart-based chats as well as some animal encounters with the domestic farm animals. I completed an internship in winter 2012 in the Education Department, working mainly with Public Programs and helping to prepare for upcoming events as well as the zoo's summer camp for middle school aged students. I'm currently working at Lincoln Park Zoo as Guest Engagement Leader, narrating both gorilla and seal training sessions via microphone, facilitating the daily Meet an Animal encounter mainly with reptiles, as well as giving informal, conservation-focused chats around various zoo exhibits."
"I study Drosophila with a potassium ion channel mutation. The faulty channels leak current, which hold the neurons near the activation threshold, causing hyperactivity in motor units. I am investigating the effect of these mutations on the flight pattern generator which controls the activity in the indirect flight muscles. Indirect flight muscles are not directly attached to the wing hinge, but create an oscillation resonance in the thorax of the fly, which allows it to beat its wings at extremely high frequencies. Mutants with the most severe form of this mutation are unable to establish or maintain flight. These flies also display numerous spontaneous action potentials in indirect flight muscles during non-flight activities."
"I am studying public engagement in conservation biology within zoos and aquariums by evaluating the educational effectiveness of biological topics in informal learning environments."
"I plan to 1) document the species diversity of bees, wasps, and beetles in a west-central Illinois mosaic deciduous forest, 2) to determine if the different forest habitats in a mosaic forest harbor different species assemblages, 3) observe if hymenopterans
and coleopterans are affected by forest canopy cover, amount and type of understory vegetation, soil moisture, and resulting microclimatic conditions that vary with forest habitat type, and 4) assess if there are different species assemblages among the different vertical strata."
"I am working with the fungus Beaveria bassiana and determining its effects as both a pesticide and a fungal endophyte."
"I am interested in bioacoustics in marine mammals."
"I am studying the nest characteristics of the very common gray squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis, in a select forest preserve in south suburban Cook County. Characteristics include: nest size, height, support, activity, and density and nest tree species, diameter at breast height, condition of tree and condition of trees surrounding the nest tree."
"My thesis involves investigating options for protecting the welfare of horses that do not have an owner willing or able to maintain their care (commonly referred to as 'unwanted' or 'surplus' horses). I am developing an educational website as well as a survey of Americans' opinions on this topic."
"My focus deals with the development science resources for the education of exceptional children, specifically children with behavioral, learning, and attention disorders in grades 6-12 dealing with the Next Generation National Science Education Standards."
"My research focuses on plant-fungal interactions and the study of fungal diversity. Specifically, I am examining the symbiotic associations formed between endophytic fungi and plants. I am interested in the mechanism of transmission and function of fungal endophytes."
"I am researching the symbiotic relationship between the fungal endophyte, Phialocephala fortinii and corn. Specifically I am interested in the transcriptome analysis of the corn to find out what genes are being stimulated and repressed in response to exposure to the fungus."
Joseph Van Dyke
"My research examines the evolutionary pressures that necessitate the development of larger, more complex mushroom bodies and their associated subcompartments in social and solitary Hymenoptera, specifically in the species Apis mellifera, Bombus impatiens, Polistes fuscatus, and Vespa germanica."
"My thesis research focuses on the relative abundance and feeding habits of bowfin Amia calva, spotted gar Lepisosteus oculatus, and largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides at The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, Tennessee’s Reelfoot Lake, and four S.E. Wisconsin lakes. Additionally, my research incorporates the influence of an invasive species known as the common carp Cyprinus carpio which has the ability to negatively impact our aquatic resources. The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve has seen an increase in common carp over time while Reelfoot Lake and four S.E. Wisconsin lakes have maintained healthy ecosystems with common carp for many years. So, I am testing the hypothesis that bowfin, spotted gar, and largemouth bass are controlling common carp population growth through direct predation which may reveal a mechanism as to why Reelfoot Lake and four S.E. Wisconsin lakes continue to maintain healthy ecosystems."
"My thesis concerns the difference in parasite infection between two Montana rodents. I study parasite taxonomy, host choice, and virulence and more generally, I'm interested in behavioral ecology, ornithology, general ecology."
"I am studying the diversity of fungi associated with seven bat species in southern Illinois."
"I use the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana to evaluate the role of a major chloroplast receptor atToc159 in cold-induced lipid synthesis and desaturation. I hypothesize that the atToc159 receptor is a major route in the import of enzymes that are required in lipid biosynthesis and desaturation."
"I am studying tail-flagging behavior of white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus. My study has two goals; 1. to determine if tail-flagging is used for conspecific communication, and 2. attempt to explain the evolution of the behavior from an evolutionary context by mapping the presence/absence of tail-flagging behavior onto a phylogenetic tree."