Monday, November 4, 2019 - 10:08am

Margot Popecki is one of two recipients of the 2019 Joshua Laerm Academic Support Award for Graduate Students! Margot conducts her doctoral research under the direction of Dr. Kathrin Stanger-Hall, Department of Plant Biology, and Dr. John Wares, Department of Genetics. Margot will use Laerm funds to study the genetic basis for mating signals in big dipper fireflies (Photinus pyralis). Fireflies emit flashes of green or yellow bioluminescent light to attract mates. Her work combines field studies, genetic analysis, and bioinformatics to study how they produce and receive these visual signals. Firefly abundance is declining and this research may clarify the roles of ambient light and urbanization on firefly reproduction rates and migration patterns. Way to go, Margot!