Undergraduates undertake semester-long “research initiation” internships on a wide variety of projects. Sometimes they work on independent projects, sometimes as a team. Others enter the biology honors stream and conduct a year-long independent research project.
2016-2017: Anaïs Boa continued the work of Eric and others on the evolution of gall-forming, hickory-feeding Phylloxera.
2015-2016: Eric Guerra-Grenier conducted a project on the evolution of gall-forming, hickory-feeding Phylloxera.
2014: Mylène Durant worked on a four-species interaction involving ants, aphids, plants, and fungi. It has been established that plants infected with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi have a higher concentration of certain kinds of nutrients in their sap. It has also been established that aphids, who feed on plant phloem, perform better on host plants infected with mycorrhizae (a phenomenon Jean-Michel Matt sought to confirm the fall 2014). Because aphids excrete large quantities of honeydew, and because ants often tend aphids in order to consume this honeydew, Mylène wanted to know if the ants could detect a difference in honeydew quality in aphids raised on mycorrhizae-infected versus mycorrhizae-free plants. In order to conduct this research, she had to maintain all four species in the lab. She also developed an ingenious system that counts the number of ants who chose to visit the different aphid colonies.
Summer 2017: Titouan Eon-Le Guern
Winter 2017: Alexandra Kack, Samuel Charberet
Fall 2016: Mira Miron, Alexis Trépanier,
Summer 2016: Louis Babchia, Laurence Lefebvre
Winter 2016: Khalil Abas, Anaïs Boa, Jonathan Charron, Elisabeth Hardy-Lachance, Mira Miron, Alexis Trépanier, Gabriel Váradi
Fall 2015: Alexandra Angers is building our virtual collection of cyberspecimens of new species of Mindarus.
Summer 2015: Pedro Castro-Grillo returned for a second internship working on the Phylloxera project he began the previous semester. Julie-Christine Martin developed the protocols for creating aphid cyberspecimens for publication on the Internet.
Winter 2015: Laurent Montagano returned for a second internship to continue his work on aphid campaniform sensilla. These minute structures are found on several appendages (antenna, leg, wing) and are responsible for proprioception, that is, providing sensory input to the aphid as to the forces being placed on its cuticle (eg. the bending of the wing while in flight). Laurent serially sectioned the aphid appendages to examine the internal structure of the sensilla. His work was published! Pedro Castro-Grillo, Jenna Glasz, and Lucie Lecoq continued the Phylloxera work began by other students the previous semester. They found that, in general, each type of gall housed a different species of aphid, and that the same aphid species could be found on several species of hickory. There are exceptions, however, and there is at least on pair of aphid species that form similar galls but on different host species.
Fall 2014: Catherine Sirois-Delisle, having conducted work in the collection the summer prior, stayed in the lab for a second internship. She, Katherine Matteau, and Victoria Joannou began a project on the systematics of Phylloxera species feeding on hickory trees. These close relatives of aphids cause the growth of a variety of galls on their hosts, be it on the leaves, petioles, or twigs. The students focused on using DNA barcodes (Wikipedia) to disambiguate the relationships between the putative aphid species, their hosts, and the types of galls they inhabit. Jean-Michel Matte conducted a research experiment to compare the rate of growth of aphid colonies raised on plants infected with or free of arbuscular mycorrhizae.
Summer 2014: Kim Aubut-Demers and Catherine Sirois-Delisle worked on the databasing of the dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata – Wikipedia) in the Ouellet-Robert Entomological Collection. The primary databasing having been done during the initial development of Canadensys, Kim and Catherine researched the geoposition coordinates of the specimen collection localities and conducted analyses of the distribution of Odonata at the University of Montreal’s Biological Research Station. Stéphanie Mignault-Goulet worked on specimen databasing workflows with the bumble bees (Bombus – Wikipedia) in the collection. Laurent Montagano began a project examining the campaniform sensilla on aphid legs, antennae, and wings. See winter 2015 for the continuation of his project.
Winter 2014: Matthieu Tzaud worked on the anatomy and function of the springtail (Collembola – Wikipedia) collophore. The collophore is a ventral and somewhat enigmatic abdominal appendage found in all Collembola. Matthieu helped prepare a publication!
Fall 2013: Salomé Gotreau recurated the jewel beetles (Buprestidae – Wikipedia) in the Ouellet-Robert Entomological Collection. She photographed and began the process of databasing a large number of specimens.
Winter 2013: Liam Boivin, Delphine Ducros, and Marie-Ève Garon-Labrecque worked on the morphological discrimination of undescribed species of the genus Mindarus. Molecular and biological data had already established the existence of different species. These three students each focused on separate aphid tagma, that is the head, the thorax, and the abdomen, to find morphological criteria that would corroborate the other data.