BIOL 399: Independent Research

This is one of several mechanisms in which students experience research first-hand. It involves a written contract between the student and professor, and needs to be arranged well in advance. To be eligible, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Biology majors can count a maximum of three credits toward their major requirements, and an additional three credits toward their elective credits. Students can register for any number of credits in a semester, but typically they register for 3 + 3 over two semesters, or 2 + 2 + 2 over three semesters. Somewhat bizarrely, the BIOL 399 does not normally "count" as an upper-level Biology lab. Exceptions are sometimes granted by petition.

To provide excellent undergraduate research experiences, I limit the total number of undergraduates who are members of my lab at any given time. If you are interested, it is essential that you approach me well in advance of when you would like to do a research project. For more information on my general approach to undergraduate researchers, the variety of opportunities, and my expectations for undergraduate researchers, see the Undergraduate Research page.

Successful Students will:

  • Attend lab meetings, and make presentations sometimes.
  • Live and breathe Daphnia research.
  • Keep a meticulous, detailed notebook.
  • Learn how to pronounce "cyclic parthenogenesis"
  • Have the opportunity to do field, lab, or genetic research.
  • Become even more awesome than they already are.
  • Filter lakewater, spin algae, wash glassware until they are twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.
  • Steal lab supplies from the RykLab.
  • Call Jeff by his first name.
  • Break some glassware, have a PCR fail, or mess up the concentration of a solution.
  • Synthesize ideas they've learned from many different classes.
  • Write their own Lab Haiku.

  • Actual Quotes from Undergrads in the Lab

    "Hey, why are my Daphnia dying?"

    "We couldn't set the experiment up because too many of the babies were males."

    "We couldn't set the experiment up because none of the babies were males."

    "PCR sucks when it doesn't work. When it does, it's awesome."


    "I am the champion transferer of Daphnia."