Undergraduate research in the Warkentin Lab
The Warkentin lab offers research internships at Boston University during the academic year and in Gamboa, Panama, at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) during the summer. BU students often first join the lab as volunteers, and some progress to do research-for-credit, senior theses, and/or summer research funded through the BU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. Students from any country can apply for STRI-funded Internships (deadline March 15) to work with Warkentin in her capacity as a STRI Research Associate. We have supported many US and Latin American students as Interns on NSF-funded research projects. In addition, we sometimes consider prospective interns who have funding from their own institutions or wish to volunteer. Interns participate in larger lab projects and often conduct their own smaller projects individually or in partnerships.
We will recruit US and Latin American interns to work on The Development of Adaptive Embryo Behavior project for our June–August 2016 field season.
• Prospective interns who are US citizens or permanent residents and enrolled as undergraduate students at a US university or college, or Panamanian students, should apply to the STRI-REU program. The application deadline for 2016 is is February 15. STRI will select the participants in this program in consultation with prospective mentors (i.e., Warkentin), thus students are encouraged to contact Prof. Warkentin prior to submitting their formal application to STRI.
• Prospective interns who are not eligible for STRI-REU funding, specifically Latin American students, should apply directly to the Warkentin Lab. The deadline to apply for summer 2016 internships is also February 15, 2016.
Some prior interns and their projects
2015 Interns Angelly Vázquez Correa (Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia) and Nora Moskowitz (BU) used closed-system respirometry to study developmental and environmental effects on metabolic rate of A. callidryas. They also examined the hatching decisions of embryos facing moderate hypoxia, and the developmental consequences of different embryo decisions. They presented two posters on their work at the 2016 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting.
2015 Intern Su Jin Kim (BU–UROP) and beginning PhD student Julie Jung worked together to study development of the mechanosensory vestibular system and the relationship between the onset of vestibular function and hatching responses to vibration playbacks and manually simulated attack cues in A. callidryas. They presented two posters on their work at the 2016 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting.
2015 Intern Brandon Güell (University of California, San Diego) studied the ontogeny of hatching performance, hatching complications, and risk of hatching failure in A. callidryas. He then examined the role of light cues in the spatial orientation and diel timing of hatching; he presented a poster on this work at the 2016 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting.
2014 Intern Sonia Pérez Arias (BU–UROP) measured the vestibulo-ocular reflexes of red-eyed treefrog hatchlings at different developmental stages to determine the onset of vestibular system function. She is continuing this work as research-for-credit and presented her results to date at the 2014 Congreso Latinoamericano de Herpetologia.
2014 Intern Julianna Cuccaro Diaz (Universidad de los Andes, Colombia) recorded videos of individual red-eyed treefrog embryos hatching to study developmental changes in hatching behavior and performance. She is analyzing these videos for her senior thesis and presented her results to date at the 2014 Congreso Latinoamericano de Herpetologia.
2013 Interns Whitney Houston and Kadeen Jennings (Otterbein University, Ohio) studied density-dependent digestive system plasticity and growth rates in red-eyed treefrog tadpoles. They presented this work at the 2014 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting.
2012 Intern Laura Bravo (Universidad de los Andes, Colombia) assisted with research on glassfrog reproductive biology. She developed a proposal based on her 2012 observations that won her a STRI Fellowship to return to Gamboa in 2013 to study maternal care in 4 species of glassfrogs, and has continued to collaborate with members of the Warkentin Lab.
2011 Interns Randall Jiménez (Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica) and Shane Abinette (Virginia Commonwealth University) studied interactions of red-eyed treefrogs with their aquatic and terrestrial predators. They presented this work at the 2012 SICB meeting and it formed part of a paper in Oecologia. Randall went on to study zoonosis and an introduced gecko for his MA at UNCR. Shane is teaching science.
2011 Interns Stefan Wheat (Whitman College) and Emily Cayron (Arizona State University) studied how tadpoles use chemical cues to assess risk. They presented this work at the 2012 SICB meeting. After graduation Stefan went to Borneo to volunteer with a conservation medicine program.
2011 Intern María José Salica (Universidad Nacional de Túcuman, Argentina) tested if egg dehydration induces early hatching in red-eyed treefrogs. She presented this work at the 2012 SICB meeting. She is studying reproductive ecology of Phyllomedusa sauvagii for her PhD at UNT.
2011 Interns Chelsey Jenney and Lindsay Wargelin (Otterbein University) studied the carry-over effects of larval digestive system plasticity on red-eyed treefrog metamorphs. Chelsey and Lindsay presented their work at the 2012 SICB meetings.
2010 Interns Beatriz Willink (Universidad de Costa Rica) and Meredith Palmer (Ohio Wesleyan University) studied effects of hatching timing on interactions of red-eyed treefrogs with insect predators. They presented this work in two posters at the 2011 SICB meeting and published it in Evolutionary Ecology. Beatriz did a MA at UCR on the coevolution of dart frog color and behavior. Meredith became a USGS biologist studying brown tree snakes in Guam.
2010 Interns Robin Greene and Clay Noss studied the behavior and development of red-eyed treefrog metamorphs. They presented this work at the 2011 SICB meetings. Robin went on to a MA at Arizona State, studying how introduced bullfrogs affect stream nutrient dynamics. Since graduating, Clay has worked in herpetological research and restoration ecology.
2010 Intern Sandra Schleier (University of Puerto Rico) studied effects of hatching age and predator cues on the onset of feeding in red-eyed treefrog tadpoles. She presented this work at the 2011 SICB meetings.
2009 Intern Sergio Gonzalez (University of Florida) studied how interactions between competition and predation shape tadpole growth and survival in two treefrogs. He published this work in Biotropica.
2009 Interns Becca Tarvin (BU) and Catalina Estrada (Universidad de los Andes, Colombia) studied effects of metamorph size on postmetamorphic growth rate, activity, and feeding behavior. The paper from this work is in revision. Becca is a PhD student studying dart frog resistance to their own toxins at the University of Texas at Austin. Catalina is an ecosystem conservation professional in the Departamento Administativo de Gestion del Medio Ambiente in Cali.