Undergraduate Research Program

Hyejoo Ro

Roo, Hyejoo
Aquatic & Fishery Sciences
Chelsea Wood, Aquatic & Fishery Sciences; April Blakeslee, Biology, East Carolina University

Contact: hr27@uw.edu

Current research project: Effects of Trematode Parasite (Microphallus similis) on the Behavior of Green Crabs (Carcinus maenas)



Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance:

I am broadly interested in ecological processes like predator-prey dynamics. Currently I am working on two projects that fall under this theme. One of the projects is exploring how a flatworm parasite influences the behavior of its green crab host. Some parasites have very specific lifecycles that require multiple hosts, so to increase the likelihood of reaching the next host stage needed to complete the life cycle, some parasites use host behavior manipulation to increase trophic transmission. My project aims to determine how this flatworm parasite changes the behavior of green crabs in terms of predation. The second project is using stable isotope analyses to determine dietary trends of brown bears. Since predators like brown bears can impose great impacts on ecosystem, it is important to quantify the extent of that impact. My project’s hope is to find sources of variability of brown bear diet whether it is through gender, year, or season.

When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?

I got involved in helping in graduate student research since my freshman year, but I started on my independent projects closer to my junior year. Most of my involvement has been done through networking and connections with different faculty, and graduate students. I got involved in research because it is a way to apply the concept I am learning in a class. Also, conducting research helps give me practical skills I will need for a career I am interested in.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?

Just say yes, you never know what kind of adventures you’ll have until you put yourself out there. Research has brought me some wild experience like fishing along the U.S west coast (Neah Bay, Washington to Moss Landing, California), or spending 10 weeks in a rock island that serves as a breeding ground for gulls six miles off the coast of Maine to conduct parasite ecology research. You may have some of the best experiences of your life through research and meet some really great people to build a community.