Undergraduate research assistant positions are available for the Fall 2022 semester. Positions will begin the first week in September with the option to begin sooner. All positions are based in the Gratton Lab in Moore Hall, with some lab work happening in Russell Labs (depending on the project). Optional field work opportunity around southern Wisconsin in early September. No experience required!
You will work closely with graduate students Jade Kochanski or Ben Iuliano, both of whom have experience mentoring undergraduates in the lab and field. Compensation is 1-2 course credits (independent study) for 5-10 hours per week. There may be opportunities for hourly pay (~$15/hour) in future semesters and summers. Students from underrepresented backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Together, we will select a topic, do background readings, develop research questions and hypotheses, collect and analyze data, then discuss and share the findings. We will also work with you to support your individual learning goals.
- No experience or coursework required
- Interest in ecology, biology, entomology, population genetics, sustainable agriculture, conservation or related fields
- An enthusiasm and willingness to learn
- Attention to detail and ability to stay focused on tedious or repetitive tasks
- Ability to work independently and with others
- Enroll in 1-2 independent study credits
To apply, send a single PDF document with your resume or CV and a short statement of interest (~1 paragraph) to Jade at email@example.com AND Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Potential Project Ideas:
Bumble bee conservation, working with Jade Kochanski.
- Topic: Genetic diversity/population structure of specific bumble bee species
- Data available: Tarsal clippings (tissue samples) from summer 2021 and 2022
- Methods/duties: Mostly wet lab work. Students will use PCR and other techniques to extract and amplify DNA from bumble bee tissue samples to be used for population genetics and genetic diversity estimates. Students will gain experience with the data analysis software and R. Potential to do some field work in late August and early September to the field to collect more tarsal clippings.
- Topic: Landscape context
- Data available: Site locations, number + species of bumble bee, eventually genetic info.
- Method: Hand digitize habitat types in the landscape. Look at relationships between bumble bees and landscape. Learn about landscape ecology metrics.
- Topic: Bee functional traits
- Data available: Pictures of bumble bees to get body size (ITD).
- Method/duties: Use computer software (like ImageJ) to measure the intertegular distance (ITD) using photos of various bumble bee species, including the endangered rusty-patched bumble bee. Look for relationships between body size and variables of interest including time of year, growing degree day, floral resource availability (richness and amount), etc.
Lady beetles & other predatory insects, working with Ben Iuliano.
- Topic: Effect of intercropping on insect populations
- Data available: Sticky card samples and sweep net counts from research plots (collected Summer 2021 & 2022).
- Methods/duties: Count insects on sticky cards, explore relationships between different insect groups and cropping patterns.
Please reach out with questions or for additional information.