So before I get into specifics, let me give you a little background information about what I do.
My official job title is not "Undergraduate
The laboratory I work in is pretty diverse as far as projects go. Most of our research is on ecological genetics and using genetics to answer questions about conservation. While a lot of labs have only one or two study organisms, we basically have everything. Birds (a ton of species from Hispanola, Eastern Imperial Eagles from Kazakhstan), amphibians (from Tiger Salamanders to whatever we find squished on the road), fish (Lake Sturgeon, my favorite sexually ambiguous fish), and mammals (hurray for Kangaroo Rats!). And our actual research is just as diverse: investigating long term population histories, genetic diversity and the effects of human structures, noninvasive ways to monitor population densities, discovering the genetic mechanisms for sex determination, the genetic basis for mate choice, dispersal...we've basically done it all.
When I started research, I have to admit that I really didn't see the point of conservation projects. I didn't know much about the fragile nature of ecosystems or why we need to protect our wealth of resources on earth, even at the very least for selfish reasons. After working in the lab for a while, I have a new appreciation for conservation. Personally, it's not the kind of research I want to be doing - I'm still a bit of a cynic about conservation, and I'm not passionate enough to devote my life to it. My cynicism doesn't make my the best spokeswoman for it, either. But regardless, I do appreciate the work done much more than I did before, and I'm glad I got what's going to be a diverse lab experience before I go devoting my life to human genetics or something (or who knows what).
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