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From Alaska to Panama: STRI Fellow Brandon Güell

Posted on Jul 24, 2017 by in The OFI Blog |

STRI Predoctoral Fellow Brandon Guell

Brandon Güell is a Predoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, working with Research Associate, Dr. Karen Warkentin at Boston University. His graduate work focuses on elucidating the evolution and mechanisms which underlie plastic traits in treefrogs throughout Central America.

The idea for this project was formed during a summer internship in the STRI-REU program where Brandon conducted independent research on developmental changes in hatching performance, hatching complications, and embryo behavior in red-eyed treefrogs. His interest in ecology and animal behavior emerged from his Costa Rican background where he experienced the vast biodiversity of tropical rainforests and other biomes during trips to national parks and reserves. However, he was not always a tropical researcher. Before starting his graduate work at Boston University, Brandon worked in collaboration with NOAA’s National Marine Mammal Lab, studying the foraging ecology and behavior of northern fur seal pups on the Pribilof Islands, Alaska. That project aimed to determine whether pups forage while nursing, and whether pup weaning periods could be determined using stable isotope and stomach content analyses. The common denominator in both projects lies in his interests in adaptive phenotypic plasticity, animal behavior, and development.

Brandon received an NSF Predoctoral Fellowship for graduate school where he will study the plastic intraspecific and evolved interspecific variation in the timing of key developmental events that affect embryo escape-hatching in the treefrog species Agalychnis callidryas, Agalychnis spurrelli, and possibly others in Panama and Central America. To learn more about his research take a look at his blog.

(Written by Brandon Güell)