Prestigious NSF Grant given to Graduate Student Michael Steffen
Michael Steffen, a 4th year graduate student in Dr. Ron Bonett’s lab, has received a highly competitive and very prestigious NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant. Michael Steffen received one of only three awards given to students from Oklahoma. His grant of $13,970 was given to examine courtship pheromone evolution in Dusky Salamanders (Desmognathus).
Many species use unique protein based chemical messengers called pheromones to recognize mates. Therefore evolution of differences in courtship pheromones could cause reproductive isolation and ultimately speciation. Michael’s research will focus on Desmognathus because species of this group have recently undergone rapid evolution in ecology, body size and life history. Michael is specifically testing how convergence and introgression play a role in geographic distribution of these pheromones, and if pheromone divergence is correlated with patterns of behavioral reproductive compatibility or isolation. This grant will support travel for field work in the southern Appalachian Mountains and molecular biology lab supplies and reagents.
The Faculty of Biological Science at The University of Tulsa offers B.A., B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Biology and an interdisciplinary undergraduate program in Biogeosciences jointly managed between Geosciences and Biological Sciences.
Degree requirements are purposely flexible, providing the student with career choices in biotechnology, organismic biology, cellular biology, environmental biology, medicine, dentistry, medical technology, or further graduate training.
The undergraduate program provides a broad foundation in biological principles that will permit students to successfully pursue a variety of career options including academic work in a diversity of graduate and professional programs.
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