PhD Biology student Chanchal Yadav and two grad alumni are in the news these days over their research. Along with Professor Jayne Yack and a colleague from Brazil, they published a paper on how caterpillars use vibrations to attract nest mates.
Says Yadav: “This research is the very first to demonstrate that caterpillars use vibrations to recruit other caterpillars of the same species.”
She notes that the researchers’ results have implications for pest management and conservation strategies.
Yadav got involved in the project “thanks to Dr. Jayne Yack and the fascinating world of caterpillar sociality that grabbed my interest in exploring the underlying mechanisms.”
Sarah Matheson, one of the alumni involved in the study, says: “After listening to these fascinating insects for hundreds of hours, it becomes obvious that the caterpillars are communicating a variety of complex signals to their nest mates. It is amazing what you can discover when you take the time to watch their group interactions and tune into their vibratory language. At first glance you would never guess that a caterpillar only a few millimeters in length would have so much to say!”
Matheson is now working as a fundraising consultant for the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit that develops social enterprises to provide opportunities for marginalized women, at-risk youth, and under served communities.
Tiffany Timbers was the second alumna to work on this research. She is currently working as a Teaching and Learning Fellow at the University of British Columbia in the Master of Data Science program.
To read what the New Scientist had to say about this research, and to hear sounds of the caterpillars scraping across a leaf, please click here: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2122825-caterpillars-vibrate-anuses-to-send-food-and-shelter-alerts/
More information about the PhD in Biology at Carleton is available by clicking here.
More News Posts
Stories North: A “Magical” Experience for Carleton Students
Four graduate and 11 undergraduate journalism students headed North this summer to participate in a month-long experiential learning project called Stories North. This initiative was created by Prof. Kanina Holmes,... More
PhD Student Doing “DEAP” Research
While working as a physicist for Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Ltd. (formerly Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd), Andrew Erlandson decided the time was right to return to school. His employer was... More
GDip in Conflict Resolution Adds Competitive Edge
Graduates from Carleton’s Graduate Diploma in Conflict Resolution program (GDCR) will have an added perk this year as the program is now fully approved by the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute... More