Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Kayla Dixon

Analyzing RFID Monitoring Data in Colonial tuco-tucos (Ctenomys sociabilis) housed in Semi-Natural Enclosures

Dispersal, the movement of individuals away from the population in which they were born, is a behavior found in many mammals, however the underlying neurological and physiological mechanisms behind this behavior have yet to be extensively studied. The goal of this project is to identify the internal mechanisms that govern dispersal in the colonial tuco-tuco, a subterranean rodent species that expresses high variation in dispersal behavior among juvenile female individuals. To assess individual dispersal patterns, we set up a novel and naturalistic dispersal assay using RFID monitoring to continuously track movement so that we may begin to identify predictors of dispersal behavior. This summer, I will be completing these dispersal trials and analyzing the subsequent RFID data collected in the last two testing years, an extensive data set that we have yet to develop analysis protocols for.


Message To Sponsor

Thank you so much for the opportunity to continue pursuing research this summer! I'm extremely grateful to be able to continue participating in URAP, as it has taught me so much about research and the academic field while also allowing me to develop my passion for animal behavior. This would not be possible without your support and generosity!
Major: Molecular Environmental Biology
Mentor: Eileen Lacey and Nikki Lee, Integrative Biology
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