Undergraduate Research at the Museum of Biological Diversity

Life on the Sea Anemone Farm

Charlotte Royer.Charlotte Royer, a senior zoology major from Hamilton, Ohio, does research in Marine Biologist Meg Daly’s MBD lab. “My experiences in Meg’s lab, and in the Museum in general, have been absolutely wonderful. I have learned so much from everyone,” said Royer. I have found a great community of friends, colleagues, and mentors in the people here and will definitely miss them after I graduate!

Daly is known for nurturing her students, graduate and undergraduate, giving them enriching opportunities and connecting those who have parallel interests. Royer is working with grad student Anthony D’Orazio on a project studying anemone aggression and aggregation behaviors.

“I’m looking at whether aggregation (or clumping) in sea anemones helps prevent water loss; my hypothesis is that anemones grouped together will lose less water collectively than those separated,” said Royer.

Royer plans on attending graduate school but, “First, I really need some time off to figure out what I want to study,” she said.

It’s All in the Family

Emily Feldenkris.Molecular genetics major Emily Feldenkris met John Freudenstein, Herbarium director at the MBD, at a faculty-student networking event two years ago. “I thought his research was interesting and I liked his molecular approach to his studies,” said Feldenkris.

She is happy she followed up on that interest. For the past two years she has been working on Freudenstein’s NSF-funded project that uses DNA sequences to study relationships among leafless species in the blueberry family, Ericaceae.

The opportunity to learn from Dr. Freudenstein and his graduate students made research a lot more accessible. I’ve learned problem-solving approaches that I can apply wherever I go, and it’s great to feel that I am making contributions to the whole team, said the Cleveland, Ohio native.

After graduation this spring, Feldenkris plans to work in a clinical lab for a year or so before heading to graduate school. “Originally, I wanted to attend med school, but this experience helped me decide on grad school instead.”