Research Opportunity: How pollinator and pest sensory biology influences chemical trait evolution in flowering plants

Con­tact Name: Marie Clifford

Con­tact Email: cliffmar[at]

Depart­ment: Biology


I am looking at how insect (pollinator: various bees and a moth, pest: a specialized butterfly) olfaction can drive the evolution of traits in flowering plants (Passiflora), particularly in the chemical profile of floral and leaf volatiles (scent), and how these chemical traits relate to morphological ones.

I am looking for an undergraduate volunteer who is willing to commit for at least 9 months in the lab for 6+ hours a week. They would work with another undergraduate and myself on plant maintenance, as well as a project to understand the volatile and morphological profiles of leaves in the Passiflora (the most diverse leaf morphology of any plant family!), and how this relates to herbivory by Heliconius butterflies. After a quarter, there is the possibility to develop an independent project related to this work and receive Biology 499 research credits.

A love of plants, insects, chemistry, evolution, and pollination is encouraged! Email cliffmar[at] with a letter of intent, resume/CV, and unofficial transcript.


Introductory chemistry, Biol 180.

View this post­ing in the database.