Emma Duge ’20 researches climate change impacts on ecology at UC Santa Barbara

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I was given the opportunity this summer to perform research at The Young Lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara, a lab focusing on community ecology and conservation biology. I was tasked with leading a new experiment on tick survivorship and how it is influenced by global warming. As the lead undergraduate researcher, I developed the general experimental methodology, constructed the experimental infrastructure, and collected and analyzed obtained data. Additionally, I lead field installations and deployment of tick units each weekend at UCSBs experimental research sites at Tejon Ranch.

I experienced all of the frustrations and joys of conducting my own research project; I have learned that failures are inevitable when performing research. However, I also found that learning from failure will often lead to success, as was the case for me. This experience allowed me to develop invaluable research skills as well as my appreciation and respect for the field. Moving forward, I am excited to write about and hopefully publish my findings by next summer; I had never dreamed of being a published author before I had this opportunity, and I am so grateful for that. I also plan to return to UCSB and present my research findings at a conference next summer.