From 2014 through the present, I have worked with Katie Guilbert and some amazing groups of 8th graders from Bella Romero (Greeley, CO) to conduct research projects during an after school program.
For the first year (2014-2015), we chatted about basic guppy biology as well as the effects of domestication on animals. The students then developed some questions and hypotheses about how exploratory behavior in guppies might be affected by domestication and predation. They designed an experiment, built a test apparatus, wrote a protocol, and then conducted the experiment. They plotted their data using Excel and we ran a simple ANOVA using JMP. They made a poster and presented their research at a local scientific conference, the Front Range Student Ecology Symposium at CSU. They did a fantastic job reporting their significant findings, and I am so very proud of the work that we did together. *Pictures*
For the 2015-2016 year, I had an amazing group of students, many of whom had already worked with guppies. That meant that they were able to work much more independently, asking interesting questions and building elaborate set-ups to test their predictions. They presented their research at the Front Range Student Ecology Symposium and won first place in the graduate student category! * Pictures*
In the 2016-2017 year, we had a small but committed group of scientists interested in exploring habitat preferences in guppies. The students designed two experimental tanks to test preferences for plans vs. open water and light vs. dark. They expected wild and domestic guppies to have different preferences. Check out their poster below to see what they found…They presented their research at the Front Range Student Ecology Symposium *pictures*
We have a great team this year (2017-2018), and it’s made up almost exclusively by girls! We are investigating differences in cognition between domestic and wild guppies and between males and females. The cognitive task is to see if guppies can learn to fear a toy zombie through associative learning. I can’t wait to see what we find! Here are some updates of the team designing our experiment and collecting data.