Miranda Lee-Foltz

Exploring Relationships Between Color Variation and Genotypes in Lizards from the Pisgah Lava Flow in California

Identifying genes that are under selection is important for understanding natural selection and the relationship between genotypes and phenotypes. This summer, I will be examining phenotypic variation of lizards from the Pisgah lava flow in California in relation to a gene involved in melanin production (PRKAR1A), and how it affects lizard behavior. To do so, I will first quantify the coloration of the lizard photos using ImageJ and then relate their color to the genotypes of each lizard as well as to an additional behavioral phenotype (thermal preference). If the lab reopens, I will sequence an additional coloration gene (PREP); however, in the event that the lab is unable to open, I will quantify coloration in a set of lizards from another population with the goal of assessing how best to measure a different phenotype (throat coloration).

Message to Sponsor

Thank you so much for the opportunity to do research this summer! I am so grateful for the chance learn and improve my research skills on a project that I find interesting.
  • Major: Integrative Biology
  • Mentor: Rauri Bowie, Integrative Biology