Summer Science Research Program – Exploring the diversity of parasitic nematodes

I remember, like, growing up, I was actually really afraid of bugs, but now I’m kind of like, I’m like, the bug girl in my family. My students and I have been working on this for more than a decade, and have been collecting all kinds of valuable data that extend our knowledge simply of what’s out there, and what sort of baseline diversity we can find in places like this, the Bohannan Preserve. The goal by the end of the year is that I really want to get published in a credible scientific journal, because I definitely want to become an entomologist, and I want to go to graduate school, and at least with, you know, for research purposes. It’s important to have experience doing what you would be doing in graduate school prior to actually applying. This kind of research is particularly valuable at a school like Ohio Wesleyan because it gives them a chance to get out into the field and to combine work in the field with laboratory research. That gives an opportunity to assemble large data sets. Basically, the main theme of my project is to map the biodiversity of invertebrates, not only invertebrates that are found free-living in forest preserves, but also invertebrates that are found actually inside of other invertebrates. So, in other words, parasites. You have to have a sense of humor doing fieldwork, I think. It’s not all about standing there with the clipboard recording numbers, or collecting things. We joke around a lot in the field, and so we’ll play tricks on each other every now and again, and it’s an eye-opening experience. I’m just, it’s sort of been like, an obsession that’s built up. Just the feeling of doing dissections, and finding things, it’s absolutely incredible, and the feeling is unsurpassed.

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