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Jen-Pan Huang and Tristan McKnight receive Rosemary Grant Award


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EEB graduate students Jen-Pan Huang and Tristan McKnight received Rosemary Grant Graduate Student Research Awards from The Society for the Study of Evolution. These awards assist students in the first two years of their Ph.D programs by enabling them to collect preliminary data or to enhance the scope of their research beyond current funding limits by visiting additional field sites, or working at other labs, for example. Professor Lacey Knowles is their advisor.

Huang is studying the Hercules Beetle to test the predominance of two competing mechanisms during population subdivision. Hercules Beetles have traits with different phenotypes that are governed by genetics and induced by environmental differences. By comparing phenotypic differences in these traits across multiple closely related populations/subspecies, Huang will estimate the speed and magnitude of evolutionary changes in non-plastic and plastic components of these traits.

McKnight is exploring dynamics of parallel evolution in the ecology and morphology in a pair of robber fly lineages using a combination of phylogenetic and ecological techniques. Robber flies (an understudied group of insects) are an interesting new system for exploring the creation of local communities from regional species pools and uncovering tradeoffs involved in adaptive radiations, according to McKnight.