Gabriela Bidart-Bouzat, Ph.D., Department of Biological Sciences
One of the specific projects in this lab for Summer 2010 include assisting in the field and lab on the following project:
The general focus of the research in our lab is on plant-insect interactions. In particular, we are interested in how the chemicals produced by the plants protect them from herbivores and affect their behavior. The study that you would be helping with is looking at how the environment of a caterpillar affects where a female decides to lay her eggs (offspring). In other words, does a female moth prefer the type of plant she grew up on? More specifically, we are using plants that produce specific chemicals and looking at whether when a female moth is raised with a particular chemical, does she prefer that chemical more that plants producing chemicals different from the one she was raised on. To do this we are using plants that have been genetically engineered to produce different chemicals, allowing us to manipulate the female's larval (childhood) environment. the results from this research will help further our understanding of how plant chemistry can influence insect behavior and potentially the ecological and evolutionary relation between plants and insects.
My research program focuses on ecological and evolutionary processes mediating complex interactions between organisms and the environment. I am particularly interested in ecological interactions between plants and their natural enemies (e.g., insect herbivores) and their co-evolutionary adaptations. For example, plants have developed a wide array of defenses to withstand herbivore attack (e.g., secondary chemicals and structural barriers); likewise, herbivores have evolved offensive mechanisms, which allow them to utilize their plant hosts (e.g., feeding behavior and metabolic degradation of plant chemicals). Undergraduate students in my lab have the opportunity to participate in on-going or independent research projects, which are conducted in the Ecological Field Research station at BGSU. So, if you enjoy working outside in the summer & like plants and bugs, do not hesitate to contact me for more information.
511 Life Science Building