Even More Butterflies and Science

Sarah out collecting butterflies

Hello!  I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself as one of the other butterfly researchers writing this blog.  I’m Sarah, and I’m a graduate student in Jessica’s lab.  I also study butterflies and climate change, although I study a different species, the cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae).  My butterfly is an invasive species that was introduced from Europe and Asia 150 years ago.  I study how it has adapted to it’s new environment in North America, where it lives everywhere from Canada to Florida.   I want to understand how it has adapted to  such a broad range of climates, and also to understand how invasive species change after they are introduced to a new environment.

This summer however, I’m expanding my project to Japan, where I will study the butterfly in it’s native range.  I am doing a fellowship through the National Science Foundation and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (which is like the NSF of Japan).  I’ve been placed at Kyoto University where I will work in the Laboratory of Insect Ecology.

Also, to explain what I mean when I say that I’m in Jessica’s lab, I should probably briefly explain how university labs work.  Labs at North American universities are a little like families, with a faculty member in charge of one laboratory and several grad students who are studying with them.  Jess, Heidi and and I have the same advisor, we share an office,  laboratory space and sometimes help each other out with research.  I’m very excited to be sharing this blog with them as well, and I hope that you’ll enjoy reading about both of our adventures as we study butterflies around the world!

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