Biological Sciences

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Here is an example of research created by our Biological Sciences’ Cohort:

“Exploring Female Song in Newly Recognized Species: Puerto Rican Oriole”
Susanna Campbell
Dr. Kevin Omland

John Malloy and Susanna Campbell
Susanna is flanked by fellow undergraduate researchers John Malloy and Jin Kim while conducting field work. Susanna is holding a bluebird in her hand.

My project explores male and female song in the Puerto Rican Oriole (Icterus portoricensis) in its natural environment, the dense tropical forests and adjacent edge habitats located at Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. In temperate-zone oriole species, song is mostly a male trait; however, song is often a male and female trait in tropical oriole species. Evolutionary reconstruction shows that temperate species have tropical ancestors. Thus, our analysis of the Puerto Rican oriole and other tropical species will indicate ancestral state of the common ancestor of orioles. Comparisons to extant species to the common ancestor will indicate if female song has been lost in the northern species. Our study will clarify how natural selection is causing evolutionary changes in song. We expect that the males and females of the Puerto Rican oriole are both singing. By observing and recording the orioles in their natural forest habitats, we will be able to determine the role female song plays in mate selection and how this affects the observed evolutionary shift to male-only song.

An informal portrait of Ayra
Meet Ayra. Read more about her research here!

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Benefits for Biological Sciences students:

  • Work with a faculty member
  • Experience hands-on research
  • Reinforce classroom learning
  • Prepare for work or graduate school
  • Travel to national conferences
  • Receive grant funding
  • Publish independent research
    • Documentation of female song in a newly recognized species, the Puerto Rican Oriole (Icterus portoricensis) Susanna Campbell. The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology Vol. 29:28–36. 2016
    • Parasitoid Host Choice Does Not Optimize Offspring Success. Kate Laskowski. UMBC Review Vol.8.
    • The Effects of Down Syndrome Cell Adhesion Molecule on the Cellular Immune Response of Drosophilia melanogaster.Amanda Reamy. UMBC Review vol.10.
    • The Role of RpS9 in Ribosome Assembly and rRNA Processing in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. Alana Lescure. UMBC Review vol.16.

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For more information, check out this department’s website:
Biological Sciences