Student NameKayli Sieber
Faculty Mentor NameChristine Miller
CollegeCollege of Agricultural and Life Sciences
MinorEntomology and Nematology
Research InterestsI am interested in researching almost any aspect of life, down to the tiniest microorganisms. My goal is to constantly learn more about the world around us, and to then share what I have learned with others. Research provides a means by which I can accomplish this.
Academic AwardsCALS Deans List Fall 2018
Hobbies and InterestsReading, Playing Dungeons & Dragons, Cats, Watching Science Fiction and Anime

Research Project

Nutritional impact on the magnitude of reproductive trade-offs in Narnia femorata

Organisms have a limited pool of resources that they can invest into their life history traits. These resources are allocated between metabolically expensive traits, including those that function in reproduction. Pre-copulatory reproductive traits (e.g. weapons) function in intraspecific competition to achieve access to females. Post-copulatory reproductive traits (e.g. sperm quality) function in enhancing fertilizations. Males cannot invest optimally in both traits, and thus a trade-off may exist between them. The pattern of this trade-off seems to be highly variable, as previous studies are performed under controlled conditions; whereas in nature, the environment varies greatly, and thus so can the pool of dietary resources available. As resource quality fluctuates, animals may partition nutrition differently. How might dietary changes influence the magnitude of reproductive trade-offs? To address this question, I will manipulate the pre-copulatory hind-leg weapons of insect species Narnia femorata under three different natural nutritional conditions and measure a post-copulatory trait, testes mass. I will manipulate weapon loss through autotomy, limb loss, in juveniles and place them on one of three different natural diets of varying quality. I will dissect them upon maturity and mass their bodies, testes, and hind-leg weapons to examine the magnitude of reproductive trade-off that occurs.