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I completed my undergraduate degree in Biology at Grinnell College in 2010 and am now an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology graduate student in the Papaj Lab.  So far I have worked with Dan Papaj studying how thermoregulatory behavior changes over development in pipevine swallowtail (Battus philenor) caterpillars and with Regis Ferriere modeling the effects of resource variation on the evolution of phenotypic plasticity and genetic divergence.
I am broadly interested in the evolution of phenotypic plasticity and how it itself influences the evolution of other traits.  For my dissertation, I plan to consider the interaction between two different kinds of thermoregulatory plasticity in Battus philenor caterpillars, a thermal-refuge seeking behavior and developmental color polymorphism. These forms of plasticity both help the caterpillar deal with the extremely high temperatures and extensive temperature variation found in the Sonora Desert region, but occur on different time scales with different costs.




Contact Info
Matt Nielsen
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Biosciences West Rm. 512
1041 E. Lowell
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721

Last modified: 29-Jan-2013
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Photo of Battus philenor caterpillar by M. Nielsen. Photo of M. Nielsen and mantid by D. Papaj