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Lab News

April 2018

Daina Strub and Jake Hjort recently presented their research at the EEB Undergraduate Research Symposium. Dana's work focused on how the loss of song in cricket populations might affect reproductive investment in females, and Jake's work investigated whether crickets face a tradeoff between melanin investment in immune and reproductive traits.

Marissa Peyer presented her honors research, "Measuring Chemical Signals in Field Crickets: Comparing Experimental Approaches", at the UMN College of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Symposium. Marissa has been developing methods to study the cuticular hydrocarbons used in communication in Teleogryllus oceanicus​. Her work integrates her interest in biochemistry with our lab's research in behavioral ecology. 

December 2017

Daina Strub (upper photo) and Jake Hjort (lower photo) both recently completed research projects in the Zuk Lab. They were each awarded research grants by the University of Minnesota's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. Congratulations, Daina and Jake!

Daina Strub

Jake Hjort

Our traditional end-of-semester party group photo:

Group photo

October 2017

Rebecca Ehrlich officially filed her thesis with the graduate school and graduated with her M.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. Congratulations, Becky!

Dr. Zuk was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts Sciences this year! She attended the induction ceremony in October. Here, she's photographed with two other AAAS fellows from UMN: Drs. Sarah Hobbie (left) and Megan Gunnar (center).

MZ, SH and MG at AAAS induction Cambridge Oct 2017.jpg

September 2017

Welcome Mounica Kota, new PhD student!

February 2017

Jessie Tanner was awarded a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation for her project "Consequences of adaptive behavioral plasticity for sexual selection on an acoustic advertisement signal". Congratulations, Jessie!

December 2016

The Zuk lab (and recent Zuk lab alumni), pictured here, convened for an end-of-semester potluck. 
From left to right: Dr. Zuk, Laura Garbe, Dr. Justa Heinen-Kay, Kirstine Grab, Xinci Tan, Daina Strub, Becky Ehrlich, Jake Hjort, Erin Schwister, and Adam Hartman.

Zuk lab at the potluck, December 2016

September 2016

Graduate student Rachel Olzer attended the 2016 Conference of Ford Fellows, hosted by the National Academies of Science, where she presented work from her dissertation. The conference is open to recipients of the prestigious Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship.

August 2016

Dr. Zuk was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Jyväskylä University Faculty of Mathematics and Science in Finland! Recipients of doctorates in Finland are honored at a graduation ceremony held once every four years that includes a formal dinner, an acrobatic display, a fire show, and the presentation of swords and hats that mark the attainment of the degree. Below, Dr. Zuk is pictured receiving her sword. You may read more about this year's honorees here.

Marlene Zuk is presented with her sword

Dr. Zuk poses with her sword and hat after the ceremony

Rachel Olzer traveled to Exeter, England to present her research on male preferences for calling song in Teleogryllus oceanicus at the biannual meeting of the International Society for Behavioural Ecology.

 Rachel Olzer presents her research at the ISBE Meeting 2016

Becky Ehrlich teamed up with fellow EEB graduate student Virginia Heinen for an outreach event in Columbia, Missouri. Their presentation demonstrated how acoustically signalling insects produce song and introduced Teleogryllus oceanicus to the public as a model of rapid evolution.

Becky Ehrlich demonstrates cricket stridulation using model wingsVirginia Heinen teaches about evolution through art

July 2016

This month, the Zuk lab said farewell to post-doc Susan Balenger, who has accepted an Assistant Professorship at the University of Mississippi. Best of luck, Susan!

Zuk Lab at Susan's going away party in July 2016

This lab photo was taken at Susan's going away party.
Top row (left to right): Rachel Olzer, Becky Ehrlich, Justa Heinen-Kay, Susan Balenger, Alex Best, Marlene Zuk, Becky Boulton
Bottom row: Xinci Tan, Jessie Tanner, Marissa Peyer

June 2016

The Zuk lab welcomes a new post-doc, Justa Heinen-Kay. Justa recently completed her PhD in the Langerhans lab at North Carolina State University - you can read more about her interests on the People page. Stay tuned for more information about her developing research program in the Zuk lab!

Congratulations to graduate student Rachel Olzer, who received the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!

May 2016

Congratulations to Xinci Tan and Libby Schmidtman, who graduated this month! Thank you for all your hard work, and good luck!

April 2016

Graduate students Rebecca Ehrlich and Jessie Tanner received research funding for their dissertation projects from the Theodore J. Cohn Research Fund, awarded by the Orthopterists' Society.

In the photograph, undergraduate Laura Garbe and grad student Jessie Tanner discuss an ongoing research project.

Tanner and Garbe in the lab, March 2016

March 2016

Congratulations to graduate student Rachel Olzer on receiving the prestigious Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship!

February 2016

Jessie Tanner was awarded the UMN Graduate School Thesis Research Travel Grant!

Susan Balenger stops for a picture at Diamond Head during a collecting trip on Oahu, in the Hawaiian Islands.

Post-doc Susan Balenger at Diamond Head, on Oahu.

January 2016

Jessie Tanner, Marlene Zuk, and John Rotenberry pose for a picture at Ho'opi'i Falls during a recent collecting trip to Kauai, in the Hawaiian Islands.

Tanner, Zuk, and Rotenberry 2016

Fall 2015

Welcome new graduate students, Rebecca Ehrlich and Rachel Olzer!

March 2015

Post-doc Susan Balenger and undergraduates Xinci Tan (left), Jonathan Walker (second from right), and Libby Schmidtman (right) presented their research at the Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference at Indiana University.

Tan, Balenger, Walker, and Schmidtman 2015MEEC Poster session 2015


Winter 2014

Members of the Zuk lab celebrate the end of a successful semester in December, 2014.Zuk lab December 2014