Chemosensory Behavior in Neonate Mexican Garter Snakes
Elsie Carrillo- Mehta Lab and Norris Center Museum of Natural History
Positions: 1 interns
Tentative dates: Summer 2022; mid/end June- August 1 (dates flexible)
Project Location: CBB/ Ocean Sciences Campus (in lab)
Project Background: Chemosensory behavior in snakes is an important aspect of their foraging ecology. Chemosensory studies have been used to determine prey preference of individuals of different life history stages and ontogenetic changes in diet. For this project, we are interested in mentoring an intern to study the chemosensory preferences in Mexican garter snakes, a non-venomous species of snake whose foraging ecology has not been well-studied. The intern will learn how to prepare a variety of prey stimuli to quantify the behavioral interests of 10 neonate garter snakes. This experiment will enable us to understand if this species has a preference for particular prey and how much individuals vary in their chemical preference for terrestrial versus aquatic prey.
Intern duties: Our intern should also be willing to read the primary literature, conduct experiments, analyze video data, learn how to conduct statistical analyses, interpret their results and present their data.
Intern qualifications: We are looking for an enthusiastic and motivated intern who does not have a fear of snakes or is willing to overcome their fears and learn how to carefully handle and work with neonate snakes. Our intern will be respectful, willing to work in a Team environment, be independent when needed, have good communication skills and be well-organized. Our intern should also be willing to read the primary literature, conduct experiments, analyze video data, learn how to conduct statistical analyses, interpret their results and present their data.
Do you recommend the intern(s) volunteer in your lab during Spring quarter?Yes. Working in our lab in Spring quarter is highly recommended so that they are aware of the mannerisms of the snakes.