Undergrad Matt Stuckey uses DNA to understand butterfly evolution in the Sierra

December 02, 2006
Matthew Stuckey

Matthew Stuckey, fourth year in Environmental Economics and Policy and Conservation Resource Studies, is researching how the butterfly Colias behrii colonized the Sierra Nevada.

Through mentorship with Professor George Roderick and graduate student Sean Schoville, Stuckey has been working on cloning nuclear genes to assess genetic variation within and among populations of C. behrii.

Roderick’s team is using genetics to understand how organisms have colonized new areas. SPUR funds have helped provide chemicals and lab supplies necessary for molecular cloning — a technique essential for Stukey’s research.

The SPUR program also benefits the mentors who work closely with undergraduates on their research. For Schoville, a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, having Stuckey's help has been a huge benefit. “These undergraduates are some of the brightest students,” he says. “Working with them gives me a great opportunity to see their minds grow and mature.”

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