Student Research Spotlight
Undergraduate Student Researchers Spotlight
The OUR wants to put a spotlight on the amazing pursuits of undergraduate students conducting research in the field/lab. These students have received funding form the Office of Undergraduate Research to help aid them in carrying out their pursuit of research.
“The undergraduate research I did with the OUR grant looked at monitoring pesticide resistance in the tobacco budworm (Heliothis virescens), through both phenotypic and genotypic data. We were fortunate enough to have a large collection of historic samples that have been field collected in Louisiana and Texas from 1997 to 2012, and were able to genotype over 700 historic samples and see that, over time, the frequency of both of the historically significant alleles associated with pyrethroid resistance decreased over time. That made us wonder: were tobacco budworm becoming more susceptible to pyrethroids again? We worked with 9 local North Carolina farmers and field stations, as well as another field station in Mississippi, to collect roughly 2000 eggs and caterpillars this summer and 120 adults. We reared the eggs and caterpillars to adulthood and exposed them to a known dose of a commonly used pyrethroid (cypermethrin), to record the average phenotypic response of these individuals. Afterwards, we isolated these samples’ DNA to determine if they carried either of the known historically significant resistance alleles. We’re still in the process of phenotyping (and then genotyping) the last of our collected samples, but we hope to show if these historically significant alleles still confer some resistance to pyrethroids, and if there is a new allele that has become significant in pyrethroid resistance.
Undergraduate research was hands-down my best experience at NC State! I have already seen the value of my degree and the real-world skills I have been learning, and have connected with mentors who have empowered me not only to learn about real-world issues outside the classroom, but be a part of the solutions. I have been blessed to find a position that has excited me, challenged me intellectually, and pushed me towards my passions.”
-Alexandra DeYonke, Senior, College of Sciences
“My research is to understand the size of home range and habitat use of a bird called the Hermit Thrush by using radio telemetry. It is important to understand a species of bird like the Hermit Thrush because they have extended their breeding range into the mountains of NC within the the last 30 years and the reason is not understood. Hermit Thrushes are expanding their population and range, unlike many species. Radio transmitters that weighed about 1 gram were tied to the backs of the birds. The transmitters emit a radio signal that could be picked by receiver up to half a mile away. The birds location could be found using the receiver and over the course of a few weeks, I was able to gather multiple locations to map out the size of the home range and gather observations.”
“Hermit Thrushes are very tolerable and tough animals. The birds handle the stress of being handled and caught very well because the are able to still fly once we release them from our hands. The weight of the transmitter does not affect their activity because it is under five percent of their body weight, which is a percentage accepted by the scientific community as safe for any animal. Also, the thread that wraps attached the transmitter to the birds body degrades and falls off after a month or two.”
-Edward Landi, Sophomore, College of Natural Resources
If you would like to share photos and/or a brief story of your experience, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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