Colin Kyle '09, Honors (click name to email)
Click on the small photo icon below or my own personal gallery:
The video playing within this page shows me in the field collecting data about oviposition. DOUBLE CLICK TO MAKE IT FULL SCREEN
Check out a summary of Colin's research on laboratory oviposition of Pomacea insularum:
Research Summary:By investigating spatial structure of an invasive population, ecologists can potentially determine population control methods. This technique may prove useful for combating the exotic invasive aquatic applesnail Pomacea insularum, recently found along the Gulf Coast. In Houston, Texas, we find P. insularum in clumped distributions around emergent structures. P. insularum deposits bright pink egg clutches above the surface of the water on emergent objects. This reliance on emergent objects for reproduction may attract them to preferred structures. To discover mechanisms underlying population distribution, Dr. Burks, James and I designed three lab experiments investigating what specific object qualities attract P. insularum (substrate material; substrate structure; exotic vs. native Texas plants). To better understand reproduction, we examined characteristics (height above water, dimensions, mass, approximate volume) and hatching efficiencies of clutches laid in experiments. We compared characteristics of lab clutches to eggs found in Houston.
Where I've been and Where I'm going:
I worked in the lab of Dr. Burks for 3 1/2 years(!), since the 2nd semester of my first year. I started out helping Matt Barnes '06 and ended up following a bit in his footsteps. I recently finished my Honors Thesis and graduated with Honors from the Department of Biology. My Thesis included the experimental work done in the lab as well as collaborative work on field patterns of oviposition. In addition, I have always had a strong interest in math and recently discovered how to blend that in with my research. I'm still working on an equation that better estimates the volume of an egg clutch. Together with a literature review, this addition helped tie together my research. In addition to the lab, I also went to Uruguay with Dr. Burks.
In the future, I hope to add a paper that describes the equation I developed and will continue to help Dr. Burks decipher the data from Uruguay. So, even though I am leaving the lab, I plan to stay invested. In the summer of 2010, I managed to find the time to create enough for an abstract for a poster at ESA.
In terms of where I have gone --- I've started a new journey as a graduate student completing my Ph.D. in Quantitative Ecology as part of the Ecology and Evolution Group at the University of Chicago. This last year I finished my coursework and my qualifying exams and can now focus on research, research and more research. My current work involves investigating gypsy moth dynamics, trophic interactions and the potential impacts of climate change with Dr. Greg Dwyer who uses mathematical ecology to explore mechanisms behind population dynamics.