Microsatellite Genotyping of Milkweed:

Milkweed and monarchs populations have been steadily declining due to habitat changes and a whole host of other factors for many years. Conservation efforts include adding more diversity to milkweed populations as lower diversity of milkweed is dangerous because it leads to more susceptibility for milkweed extinction. Analyzing the diversity of milkweed is imperative for replanting efforts and conservation goals of both the monarch and milkweed as milkweed is the most important plant for larval monarchs. My goal for this experiment is to evaluate patches of milkweed and quantify genetic diversity so as to help conservation efforts. I will sample and map the stems of common milkweed in five populations that have been sampled for the past four years to discover how diverse these populations are by using microsatellite markers.  Sampling will occur in 5 populations during the month of June, and the distance between the different plants, ramets, will be recorded on site. Once back in the lab, DNA extraction will occur using a specific protocol. After extraction, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) will be done on the DNA to amplify sections of the DNA sequence using 8 primers developed for this specific species of milkweed, Asclepias syriaca. PCR is done using a MyTaq kit and a thermocline machine. The sections of the DNA amplified are microsatellites in this case. Microsatellites are repeated sections of DNA unique to each plant. However, because milkweed is very clonal, or makes clones of itself, many plants in a patch could be genetically identical, or having the same microsatellite sequence, which means there is very low genetic diversity. Once these sections are amplified, fragment analysis can occur so as to compare the length of microsatellites to evaluate the clonality of milkweed. Additionally with use of the ramet density data, the probability of any plants being related can hopefully be correlated to their distance.

Abstract: Characterization of Stem Cell Niche Morphogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster testis

My name is Anna Westerhaus, and I am a junior Biology major at the college. This summer, I will work in the Wawersik Lab to discover the fate and morphogenesis of stem cells during testis cell niche formation using the model organism, Drosophila melanogaster (the fruit fly). Specifically, I will be mapping how primordial germ cells (PGCs) and somatic gonadal precursor cells (SGPs) in the gonads interact during embryonic development to give rise to the germline stem cell niche. I will track individual cell movements in the developing gonad through live cell imaging using a laser-scanning confocal microscope and analyze these movements with the help of a tracking computer program.

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Abstract — Oxygen Reduction by Iron Complexes for Solar Energy Conversion

There is evidence in nature that suggests that the energy supplies primarily in use, notably coal, contribute to pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. The abundance of these gases, which leads to climate change and global warming, continues to rise due to the consumption of fossil fuels. The McNamara Lab seeks to harness solar power, since the sun provides as much energy to the earth in one hour as is used in a year. Our lab focuses on the production and storage of clean and renewable energy using solar-powered fuel cells. Although there is already a market in solar energy, it is often criticized for its high price. My project focuses on whether or not certain earth abundant metal complexes are active for oxygen reduction, vital to green energy production within the fuel cell. The summer’s work should result in information designed for an academic paper on the subject, which would share our findings and progress on solar energy with the scientific community.

Abstract: Knights and Gladiators: Social Class in the Royal Flying Corps

My name is Abby Whitlock. I’m a rising junior at the College and I am double majoring in History and European Studies. This summer, I am taking part in the William and Mary Summer Program at Cambridge and doing preliminary research for my Honors thesis.

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Abstract: ”Reader, I Did Not Marry Him”: Marriage Proposals, Consent, and Female Sexuality in the Victorian Era

Hello! My name is Elizabeth (Lizzy) Flood. I’m a junior at the College, majoring in English, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to conduct research over the summer for my Honors thesis! Read my abstract below to get an overview of my topic.

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