URAP

Zheng Oong

Steller's Jay Phylogeography

The Steller’s jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) is a species of jay that shows incredible morphological diversity across its range in the North and Central America. Our previous genetic work using nuclear DNA (microsatellites) and mitochondrial DNA has shown evidence of strong genetic structure across populations. This summer, I will be working closely with my mentor to thoroughly analyze both the microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA data to better understand patterns of population differentiation within the jays. Furthermore, we will also perform analysis of morphological and ecological niche data and compare them to the molecular data. Ultimately, we want to better understand the historical evolutionary processes that led to the amount of phenotypic divergences we see in Steller’s jays today.

Message to Sponsor

The URAP summer stipend has allowed me to be able to learn and develop important skills involved in scientific research, which I have always viewed as vital in my pursuit of becoming a scientist. I am tremendously grateful for the generosity and trust the donors have shown, and I hope they will continue to give generously and contribute to the development of young minds that will no doubt help change the world, one way or another, for the better.
  • Major: Integrative Biology
  • Mentor: Carla Cicero, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology