A dear friend of ATA is currently trying to fund a trip to Panama on (her own time) to unlock the genetics of the amazing Red-Eyed Tree Frog. Maria Akopyan, a Graduate Student at CSUN, has created a crowd-funding campaign at Experiment.com and we all want to help her realize her goal for this project. She is incredibly passionate about genetics and the Red-Eyed Tree Frog is a genetic riddle she wants to solve. The species as a whole is facing massive habitat reductions and will most likely be endangered within the next 5-8 years if nothing is done. Here project description and more information can be seen below and we would all appreciate you giving anything you can to help Maria reach her goal.
Project Summary: The red-eyed treefrog exhibits variation among populations, including differences in color pattern, body size and advertisement calls. Genetic analyses show that populations in Costa Rica and Panama have differentiated despite spatial overlap, indicating that evolutionary forces are at work. Understanding the extent of genomic divergence among populations that remain in contact can reveal the relative strength of evolutionary forces.
Personal Summary: My fascination with biology was ignited when I began to approach concepts in the context of evolution. I chose to study biology because I genuinely found every subject, from molecular biology to ecology, interesting. That interest quickly grew into passion when I realized that evolutionary theory could disambiguate and explain the interrelatedness of all aspects of this field. I am therefore eager to study the factors that govern evolution. My goal as an aspiring biologist is to examine the forces that exert selective pressures on populations, and to understand how that leads to adaptation and diversification.
I plan to pursue a PhD after earning a Master's from California State University, Northridge. Having been inspired by my professors and mentors, I hope to ultimately apply my knowledge towards educating future scientists.