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Undergraduate Research In Her Grandfather's Footsteps

Kali Turner, 2012 Student Research Expo ParticipantKali Turner's grandfather once worked as a fisheries biologist for the United Nations in Malawi in central Africa. Her father spent ten years of his childhood there. Now as an undergraduate researcher in Jim Nagler's lab in the UI Department of Biological Sciences, Kali investigates the effect of temperature changes on the reproductive success of cichlid fish from Lake Malawi. “It's an awesome chance to work on something that my grandfather also worked on,” she says.

Kali has been working in Dr. Nagler's lab for the past year, but the project she will present at the Student Research Exposition is from her work this past summer in an REU at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. There, she worked on an investigation of effects ocean acidification might have on the olfactory function of walleye pollack. Acidification is known to have an adverse effect in olfactory function for some tropical fish, which can interfere with feeding, predator evasion, and spawning habits. The project at the Hatfield REU was part of determining if a similar problem exists for temperate water fish.

Following graduation this December, Kali will stay on to continue her work in the Nagler lab through spring. But she's looking forward to next summer when she'll have the chance to accompany her grandfather back to Malawi – a place that now holds significance to both of them.


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