Erica Rosenblum, Professor

Closed (1) Measuring the evolutionary responses of mammal communities to climate change

Applications for Spring 2019 are now closed for this project.

Understanding how communities of species responded to climate change in the past is crucial to predicting the future impacts of current climate change on biodiversity. In this project, we focus on communities of mammal species worldwide that experienced varying intensities of climate change in the past 140,000 years. We are interested in quantifying diversity at two levels (phylogenetic and functional) in these communities. Our goal is to determine how variation in climate influences phylogenetic relationships among mammal species within a community as well as their roles within those communities.

Specific duties will include:
(1) working with GIS data, phylogenies, and species trait data
(2) statistical data analysis
(3) coding in the R programming language

Learning outcomes include:
(1) Understanding and participating in original scientific research
(2) Introduction to phylogenetic theory and methods
(3) Training in macro-ecological and macro-evolutionary data analysis methods
(4) Becoming familiar with eco-evolutionary, biodiversity, and GIS databases and data sets
(5) Contributing toward and potentially sharing authorship on a scientific paper, Post-Doc

Qualifications: We're looking for a student who (1) is responsible and reliable, (2) has strong attention to detail, (3) has strong communication and organization skills, (4) is willing to learn, (5) has an interest in ecology and evolution, and (6) is familiar with basic programming in R although we will train a student who doesn't have previous coding experience but is otherwise the right fit. Familiarity with basic principles of statistics is desirable but not required.

Weekly Hours: 3-5 hrs

Related website: http://lucyaptran.weebly.com/
Related website: http://nature.berkeley.edu/rosenblum/

Closed (2) Landscape genetics of Panamanian amphibian species

Applications for Spring 2019 are now closed for this project.

Panama is home to 214 amphibian species that are phylogenetically and ecologically diverse. In this study we will compare the genetic diversity of multiple sympatric amphibian species found in Panama. We are interested in how certain life history characteristics (i.e. breeding habitat, body size, reproductive mode) are related to gene flow across a landscape in Panama. For this study, we will use DNA collected via non-invasive buccal swabs to compare the genetic diversity of multiple Panamanian amphibian species. We will then conduct spatial analyses to determine which landscape features correlate with patterns of genetic diversity.

Specific duties will include DNA extraction, designing/creating PCRs, troubleshooting PCRs, DNA sequencing, population genetic analysis, spatial analysis of genetic variation.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Allie Byrne, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: Strong interest in molecular biology, genetics and molecular lab work is required. Strong attention to detail and great note-taking skills are required. Previous lab experience running PCRs or other DNA sequencing experience is highly preferred. Experience using R and/or ArcGIS is preferred but not required. In general, we always seek applicants who are passionate about genetics, evolution and/or animals (especially frogs).

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs

Related website: https://nature.berkeley.edu/rosenblum/

Closed (3) Lizard exclusion and trophic cascades in a desert dune community

Applications for Spring 2019 are now closed for this project.

Trophic cascades are permutations across at least two links in a food chain, and are most frequently invoked when there are shifts in the primary trophic level (plants) caused by changes at least two trophic levels above plants. The strength of any trophic cascade following changes
in a species or guild is a way to gauge the importance of that group in a community. Although the importance of trophic cascades has been demonstrated in many ecosystems and with many taxa, the effect of desert reptiles on lower trophic levels remains generally unexplored.

For the last two years, we have been running an experiment where lizards are excluded from portions of desert in White Sands, New Mexico. These desert patches are then compared to others where lizards are present. Response variables include plant cover, plant reproduction, plant growth, plant community composition and arthropod community composition.

Specific duties will include identifying arthropod specimens to Order (whole specimens from sticky and pitfall traps), analyzing photographs of quadrats (plant response variables), and prepping data for analysis. Duties may be tailored to the experience and interest of the URAP researcher. Work will take place in labs in Hilgard Hall.

Applicants can expect to strengthen skills related to identifying arthropods, managing data, and collecting plant ecology data.


Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Clay Noss, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: Strong interest in ecology, evolution, botany and/or entomology is required. Strong attention to detail and great note-taking skills are required. Previous experience identifying arthropods is preferred but not mandatory. In general, we always seek applicants who are passionate about ecology, evolution, plants and/or animals.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs

Related website: https://nature.berkeley.edu/rosenblum/

Closed (4) Conservation genomics of an endangered California amphibian

Applications for Spring 2019 are now closed for this project.

Genomic approaches in conservation biology are integral in the recovery of threatened species. Mountain yellow-legged frogs were once one of the most abundant vertebrates in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Over the last few decades, these amphibians, which play important an important ecological role in California's montane communities, have been lost from more than 90% of their historical range. Using DNA from non-invasive skin swabs, this project will be completing a comprehensive range-wide population genomic study to aid in recovery efforts among state and federal management agencies. Through spatial and population genomic analyses we will identify the major conservation management units and assess population diversity to inform conservation strategies on the ground.

Specific duties will include DNA extraction, sample quality control, troubleshooting PCRs, genomic library prep, and population genetic analysis

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Andrew Rothstein, Graduate Student

Qualifications: Strong interest in biology, genetics, and/or molecular lab work is required. Strong attention to detail and lab notebook skills are required. Previous lab experience running PCRs or other genomic sequencing experience is highly preferred. Experience using R and/or other programming language is preferred but not required. In general, we always seek applicants who are passionate about genetics, evolution, and/or conservation biology.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs