History

STRI Opens Tropical Field Research Opportunity
for PhD Students

Why are some female bees loners?
Kate Ihle, a post-doctoral STRI associate working with Arizona State University, is seeking the answer. She started by studying changes in gene expression and hormone levels linked to reproductive cycle behaviors including nest building and egg laying.
The fun stuff comes next: Ihle's studies will take her from observation to experiment when she starts manipulating these signatures to better understand what makes some bees prefer going it alone.
How did camels arrive in Panama?
Tiny camels once roamed what is now the Panama Canal area. Twenty million years later, Aldo Rincon, STRI intern and graduate student at the University of Florida, stumbled across their remains - literally. Walking through grass he was startled by a snake and rolled downhill, finding fossils of the first known camels from the Canal area.
Why compete and cooperate at the same time?
Greater Anis nest in groups. But until all females in the group lay their first egg, they will toss from the nest eggs laid by the others. When many pairs share a nest, the odds that a bird bird may be more preoccupied with tossing eggs than laying her own are higher, which could lead to nest failure. So why share a nest? The group's ability to fight off predators like snakes and to share nest construction, incubation and chick feeding, appear to be worth the trade-off, says Christie Riehl, STRI post-doctoral fellow on Barro Colorado Island.
How many species are there in the world?
Kirsten Miller brings a crossbow to the debate on global species numbers. The PhD from London’s Imperial College used a bow outfitted with a fishing-reel to string beetle traps through the jungle canopy on Barro Colorado Island.
A Deep Marine Connection
STRI fellow Carlos De Gracia, funded by Panama's National Secretariat for Science and Technology (SENACYT), catches deep-sea and open ocean fish in unusual places: in fossil-bearing outcrops in the Caribbean tidal zone. He claims a Central American record for the most-complete marine vertebrate fossil yet discovered, a 2.3-meter marlin excavated last year near the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal.

Whether trekking through old growth tropical rainforests, diving on coral reefs in the emerald waters of the Caribbean, or digging for fossils on the banks of the Panama Canal, fieldwork is integral to breakthrough research at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

STRI, the world’s leading tropical sciences platform, is offering Ph.D genomics students at the University of Illinois a singular opportunity to work in the vast outdoor laboratories of biologically rich Panama with STRI mentor scientists.

During a full semester in Panama, students will conduct research at STRI
facilities and explore how the fast- evolving field of genomics applies to research on climate change, adaptation, ecology and behavior. This potentially career-defining experience can lead to further Ph.D research at STRI, under the guidance of some of the world’s most preeminent tropical biologists.

The STRI-UI joint doctoral program was made possible by a National Science Foundation grant for an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT). For more information, contact STRI’s office of academic programs or visit UI’s IGERT information page: http://sib.illinois.edu/igert/

STRI-IGERT Mentors

AnnetteAiello
Annette Aiello
John Christy
John Christy
Rachel Collin
Rachel Collin
Jefferson Hall
Jefferson Hall
E. Allen Herre
E. Allen Herre
Carlos Jaramillo
Carlos Jaramillo
Nancy Knowlton
Nancy Knowlton
Harilaos Lessios
Harilaos Lessios
Owen McMillan
Owen McMillan
Luis Mejía
Luis Mejía
Aaron O'dea
Aaron O'dea
Rachel Page
Rachel Page
Dolores Piperno
Dolores Piperno
Oscar Puebla
Oscar Puebla
Mark torchin
Mark Torchin
Benjamin Turner
Benjamin Turner
William Wcislo
William Wcislo
Donald Windsor
Donald Windsor
Klaus Winter
Klaus Winter
Joseph Wright
Joseph Wright