Thursday, December 6, 2012

Where are they now!? - Matt Starr

It's been four years since Matt had his first summer in the Collin Lab.  Where is he now?

I am originally from Mankato, Minnesota
When I came to the Collin Lab I was an undergraduate student at The University of Minnesota - Twin Cities working hard on a degree in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. I had some research experience working as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in a Psychiatry lab, but little experience in Marine Biology.

My first summer I had two main goals.
The first goal was to help another student, Clair Mérot, finish up her data collection on Crepidula growth rate and sex change for various projects. The second goal was to take good care of the animals in the lab by changing water and feeding algae each morning.

Check out the papers from the project!
Mérot, C. and R. Colin. 2012. Effects of food availability on sex change in two species of Crepidula
Mérot, C. and R. Collin. 2012. Effects of stress on sex change in Crepidula cf. marginalis.

Panamá was a whole new adventure for me. 
I had no idea what life in Panamá was like. I had never experienced anything like a rainy season or the Panama Canal. It was my first time in a spanish speaking country, and only my second time being near the ocean!

I had never held a crab before...   

My first time ever holding a crab...I was 
so worried about being pinched I had 
to use an oven mit...
...or had to dodge Diablo Rojos in a rainy season downpour...
Panama City, Diablo Rojo, STRI

...But eventually I became used to the loud Diablo Rojos...

...and was even able to touch a crab with my bare hands...

...and I've been a part of the Collin Lab ever since.

I am still working with the Collin Lab but now I am taking classes for a Masters of Science degree at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Lafayette, Louisiana. I have two co-advisors, Rachel Collin and Joe Neigel, and my project is concerned with the evolution of slipper snails in the genus Crepipatella. I'm using multilocus nuclear gene sequences to study phylogenetic relationships within the group and look for evidence of selection on genes associated with environmental stress.

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