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Doctoral students awarded fellowships

May 22, 2007

School of Life Sciences' doctoral students Angela Picco and Nathan Morehouse have been awarded dissertation fellowships by the Division of Graduate Studies (DGS).

Picco, who works with professor James Collins, is studying human-mediated transport and emerging infectious diseases, and their potential role in native species declines, with particular focus on the commercial movement of amphibians, such as the tiger salamander.

The flexibility of the award also gives Picco the time and opportunity to pursue a number of related collaborative research projects, such as a study of amphibian pathogens in market bullfrogs sold for food, and a pathogen survey in the declining amphibian populations of the Sierra Nevada in California.

Ultimately, Picco would like to develop management strategies and work within a regulatory agency, such as the EPA.

Morehouse's dissertation fellowship will support his research into the evolution of sexual dichromatism in butterfly wing coloration, and examine the roles of nitrogen limitation and sexual signaling. His work borrows heavily from fields as disparate as optics, biochemistry, nutrient physiology, evolutionary biology, herbivore ecology, quantitative genetics and animal behavior, and will link two previously distinct bodies of literature – sexual selection and life history theory, and ecology and ecological stoichiometry – with the potential to provide novel insights to both.

The DGS fellowship enables Morehouse to spend his last year in the program focused on data analysis and the publication of his research results.