My students and I are interested in the neurobiology, ecology, and evolution of invertebrate behavior, in particular, that of several gastropod species (see Projects). Students in my lab have already made a remarkable number of new discoveries (see individual descriptions: “Projects”) which are either published, or soon will be. Every year, we get a new crop of undergraduate researchers, each of whom performs a short apprenticeship with one of the veteran students, and then branches out in his or her own direction.
My aim, here at Chapman, is to initiate undergraduates into real research, including puzzling out hypotheses, inventing experiments, interpreting the experiments, considering alternative hypotheses, presenting the research, and writing it up into a manuscript bound for publication. This process, which is used by virtually all scientists to make sense of the natural world, is surprisingly unfamiliar to the lay public in general, and to undergraduate science majors in particular. We in the Biology Department are determined to make this process much more familiar.