Tuesday, November 8, 2016

URSP Student Lelsaac Matlock studies if Hypericum boreale are genetically different from other species within its genus?

My research is focused specifically on one individual plant species (Hypericum boreale) and its potential genetic difference compared to others within the same genus. On a weekly basis, I conduct specific steps in a lab setting in the pursuit of analyzing DNA from fourteen separate specimens to determine if H. boreale is in fact, a distinct species from the rest. During this semester I have learned many new skills that will be useful in any research containing similar procedures. I have also learned many secondary lessons about the process in which research is done and the kind of expectations one should have when proposing to accomplish a specific project. As a senior studying biology, I believe that doing undergraduate research is important for many reasons. It provides a great opportunity to find where one’s true passion may lie. Or simply to witness the process in which research is done. Personally, this research project is a chance to incorporate the knowledge I have from my interests into a professional setting.

Over the last six years my passion for plants has expanded to the field of terrestrial plant ecology. I am fascinated with the many roles that plants have within in our environment and find myself continuously driven to learn all that I can. One of the reasons that led to my participation in this particular project was my concern for conserving rare and endangered species. Plants are essential for life and need to be held to a higher level of importance. By participating in this research, I hope to contribute to conservation or preservation of threatened and endangered plant species in the hopes of improving the over-all health of our environment. One of the greatest discovers I have made this semester is that originally proposed research may not go exactly how you had planned. Especially as an undergraduate with minimal resources and connections, you may have to rely a hand full of individuals to get things you need in order to do your project.