Student Testimonials

Debora Goedert

Ohio University
Raney Fund Award, 2012

"Intralocus conflict and the evolution of alternative reproductive tactics in the swordtail Xiphophorus multilineatus"

student researcher

Intralocus conflict is a concept that has been explored in the context of sexual dimorphism, but that can be extended to the study of polymorphic species. As an initial step towards understanding its role in the evolutionary maintenance of alternative reproductive tactics, I am investigating which traits are under conflict in the high-backed pygmy swordtail. The Raney Award has provided me not only the financial support to collect the fish for my experiments but also great encouragement to pursue the next steps in this research topic.

Maggie Hantak

John Carroll University
Gaige Fund Award, 2012

"Chemical defense in the green and black poison frog Dendrobates auratus: Do alkaloids provide sufficient protection against color-blind predators?"

Maggie Hantak taking field notes in Costa Rica

As a first year Master’s student, the Gaige Fund Award allowed me to travel to Costa Rica and conduct the field component of my graduate research. While in Costa Rica, I conducted a research project to determine if chemical defenses in the poison frog Dendrobates auratus provide protection from two color-blind invertebrate predators, the bullet ant, Paraponera clavata, and the ctenid spider, Cupiennius coccineus. Receiving this award allowed me to gain valuable field experience as a Master’s student, which will prove invaluable as I enter a Ph.D. program.

Kayla Hardwick

University of Idaho
Gaige Fund Award, 2012

"Natural Selection and Adaptive Body Coloration in White Sands Lizards"

Kayla Hardwick holding a horned lizard

The role of natural selection in speciation is key area of study in evolutionary biology. My dissertation research focuses on parallel instances of adaptive divergence to better understand factors that facilitate ecological speciation. With Gaige award funding I was able to test the adaptive significance of differences in dorsal coloration between ecologically distinct populations of desert lizards by constructing a number of large enclosures in the field. Gaige award funding has been indispensable for improving my dissertation and advancing my career as an evolutionary biologist.

Gretchen Kroh

St. Edward’s University
Raney Fund Award, 2012

"Female fitness as a function of stored sperm in a coercive livebearing fish (Gambusia affinis)"

student researcher

Western mosquito fish, Gambusia affinis, males use forced copulations as their primary means to mate. Females have evolved the ability to store sperm from multiple males, mate multiply and reproduce several times across one reproductive season. The Raney grant will allow me to test if female G. affinis preferentially choose sperm by studying the paternity of broods from females mating with either 0, 1, 2, or 3 males. Results of this study will provide insight on sexual conflict in coercive mating systems.

Burmese python coiled on the ground
photo of a crawfish frog, Lithobates areolata
Scarlet kingsnake eating a green anole