iEco’s Undergraduate Students Present their Research

Three undergraduate students from the iEco lab presented at the Temple College of Science and Technology Undergraduate Research Symposium on Friday, September 23rd. Jackson Fahey and Ben Silbar have both participated in Temple’s URP program and presented posters on their research. Rupali Sharma gave a talk on the work she completed as a Francis Velay scholar.

Jackson Fahey has been working in the lab for nearly two years, under the supervision of graduate student Payton Phillips and PI Dr. Jocelyn Behm. He is now developing his own senior research project focused on the ecology of the invasive Asian longhorned tick. Jackson’s poster was entitled “Environmental Influences on Tick Populations and Distributions in Southeastern Pennsylvania.”

Ben Silbar presented his research on the arthropod communities in Philly’s vacant lots, which he is working on with Timothy Swartz and Dr. Behm. Over the summer, he became iEcoLab’s expert on lawn insect identification, identifying 1000s of insects that had been collected from vacant lots in 2019. At the symposium, he presented his early findings for the project. He found that vacant lot greening practices have a significant impact on habitat and vegetation within the lots and that some arthropod families, like Miridae, are significantly more abundant in greened lots. He is now processing new samples he collected in summer 2022 and will be comparing these samples to the data from 2019 to understand how vacant lot communities change over time.

Rupali Sharma joined the lab during the summer of 2022 and spent her time assisting graduate student Anna Khan in the collection of fur samples from mesopredators and small mammals in the greater Philadelphia area. She is continuing her work on the project this fall as she assists in the preparation of collected fur samples for stable isotope analysis. Rupali’s presentation was entitled “Understanding the impact of urbanization on white-footed mouse diets.”

Congratulations to all three students on their excellent presentations! The iEcoLab is always happy to have enthusiastic undergraduates join our lab. If you are interested in working with us, please see our Join Us page for more information.

Jackson Fahey with his poster

Ben Silbar (right) with his mentor, Timothy Swartz (left) and PI Jocelyn Behm (center)

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