Students at Middlebury have a wide variety of options for engaging in research with a faculty mentor.
Informal opportunities for collaborative work can include technician positions or summer research assistant fellowships. Formal research opportunities are available to students enrolled in BIOL0500 (Independent Study). Often students who have completed 1 semester of BIOL0500 or BIOL0700 go on to enroll in BIOL0701 (Senior Thesis). Many student projects culminate in journal publications or presentations at professional meetings. For examples of student research click on the photos below.
Further information about independent research and BIOL0500, BIOL0700, or BIOL0701 can be found in the Independent Research pages of the Biology website.
You may also want to check out this NSF funded guide for undergraduate researchers: "The Web Guide to Research for Undergraduates"
Below are profiles of recent and current students and their projects.
Article on Alexa Warburton '10 and her octopus research: Warburton-Octopus Article
The sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus has always been assumed to be an introduced parasite in Lake Champlain, but recent genetic evidence suggests they may be native. Utilizing molecular and population genetic techniques, and the department's DNA sequencer, Cassidy’s data show the likelihood of multiple changes in the sea lamprey population over the past 200 years, with population size rapidly decreasing about 150 years ago, and more recently, expanding.
I've spent the last few months developing a spatially explicit population growth model of big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) in order to examine the population level impact of density-dependent seedling mortality. The seeds of a number of neotropical tree species are known to suffer increased mortality in areas of high adult conspecific density as a result of increased predation and herbivory by small mammals, caterpillars, and other invertebrates.
Alexa Warburton's ('09.5) independent research explored how the octopus (Octopus bimaculoides) is able to solve maze problems. Her work, which is among the first to examine this, shows that octopuses use both visual and motor response cues to navigate.