The grant will allow Biology major Alina Iwan '19 to travel to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama in 2019 to continue a faculty mentored research project.
Biology major Alina Iwan ’19 has been awarded the Robert W. Young Award for Undergraduate Student Research in Acoustics by the Acoustical Society of America (ASA).
Funds from the award will be used to support her travel to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama in 2019 to continue a faculty mentored research project. Her work is also being supported by a Glen Raven Endowed Fellowship and a faculty-mentored undergraduate research grant from the Elon Center for Research on Global Engagement.
Iwan is investigating a type of animal communication in a group of insects called katydids. All species of katydids produce airborne chirps, and individuals of some Neotropical species also produce substrate-borne vibrations by vertically oscillating their bodies, or bouncing, as they perch on plant stems. Although such behavior has been documented in multiple katydid species, the functions and contexts of these vibrational signals are not well understood.
In 2018, Iwan worked with her faculty research mentor, Assistant Professor of Biology Jen Hamel, and collaborators from Dartmouth College to record and characterize vibrational signals from several katydid species at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, a hotspot of katydid diversity. In Winter Term 2019 she will conduct field and laboratory work with one abundant katydid species at STRI to study the contexts and functions of their vibrational signals.
ASA is an international scientific society dedicated to generating, disseminating and promoting the knowledge of acoustics and its practical applications.