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Prof. Lori LaPlante Research

LaPlante LaboratoryProf. Lori LaPlante Scuba Diving

Students in my lab have general interests in animal behavior, ecology, and/or conservation. I am primarly interested in how mating signals evolve, particularly those in fish. Currently, my lab is using computer animation as a tool to identify visual cues influencing mate-choice behavior. Recently, we used molecular and genetic techniques to assess whether MHC-based mate choice occurs in Pumpkinseed, a freshwater sunfish. 

Directed Research Projects

As a student in my lab, you would have the option of working on 1) an active research project or 2) a proposed research project (see below).

Active Research Projects in Prof. LaPlante's Lab

  • Using 3D animation to identify visual cues used in mate-choice behavior
  • Seasonality of male mate choice in Pumpkinseed sunfish, Lepomis gibbosus
  • Various observational projects at the Stone Zoo in Massachussetts (you would need to provide your own transportation to the Stone Zoo)
  • Vocal communication in the wood turtle (with Dr. Wicklow)

Proposed Research Projects
I am open to students proposing their own projects as long as the project overlaps with some aspect of animal behavior, ecology, and/or conservation. 

2015-16 Research Students

Pumpkinseed

Andrew Beliveau (Biology, '17): completing his senior year
Eugenia Fandunyan (Biology, '16): 
Currently employed at ZeptoMetrix Corp 
Brian Salvie (Biology, '16): 
Currently enrolled at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine 

Research Project: "MHC-based mate choice in Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus)"

Project funded by INBRE


2014-15 Research Students

Bristol and Fandunyan 2014

Karolyn Bristol (Biology, '15): Currently training dogs for the Iditarod
Eugenia Fandunyan (Biology, '16): employed at ZeptoMetrix Corp 

Research Project: "MHC-based mate choice in Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus)"
Project funded by INBRE

 2012 Research Students

 Pumpkinseed

Taylor O'Donnell (Natural Sciences, '13)

Senior research project: "The influence of female size and nest status on male mate choice in Pumpkinseed".

2011 Research Students

Kelsey at Kimball Pond

Kelsey Dakoulas (Natural Sciences,'12)

Senior Research Project: "Plethodon cinereus chemodection structures vary dorsoventrally and seasonally"

Pumpkinseed

Sara Sterling (Environmental Sciences '12)

Currently researching mating preferences of female Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus)

 2010 Research Students

Jeffrey Czaplinski '10

Jeffrey Czaplinski (Biology,'10)

Senior Research Project: "Plethodon cinereus chemodection structures vary dorsoventrally and seasonally"
(Conducted research at Dana Farber Cancer Institute; currently enrolled in Boston University's MS in Medical Sciences Program)

Jodi Desroches '10, Chemistry

Jodi Desroches (Chemistry '10)

Erin Forbes '10

Dr. Erin Forbes, DVM (Biology, '10)

Senior Research Project (with Weathers): "Male striped salamanders prefer female striped salamanders"
Currently a veterinarian at Mountain View Animal Hospital (VT)

Colleen Weathers '10

Colleen Weathers (Natural Sciences, '10)

Senior Research Project (with Forbes): "Male striped salamanders prefer female striped salamanders"

Currently working as a research assistant at the Audobon in Florida.

  2009 Research Students

Soleil Bacque '09

Dr. Soleil Bacque, DVM (Biology, '09)

Currently a veterinarian at Crossroads Veterinary Clinic (NY)

John Gould '09 John Gould (Biology, '09)
Jamie Panunzio '09

Jamie (Panunzio) O'Brien (Biology '09)

Recently completed two masters degrees (MSES, MPA) at Indiana University

Christie Usher '09

Christie Usher (Environmental Science, '09)

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