First post!

Hi!

I’m Eli, and I recently started a postdoc at the University of Minnesota, working with Dr. Emilie Snell-Rood.

Picture of Eli Swanson
This is me!

I finished my Ph.D. at Michigan State in the spring, started here in June, and will be working here for a few years. I liked living in Lansing, but I’m originally from Minnesota, so I’m excited to be back!

The purpose of my blog is to talk about my research and what I’m learning, discuss the research process, and share any good stories that come up along the way. The project I’m working on here is a huge change for me, because all of my previous research experience was with either frogs or mammals, and now I’m not only working with butterflies, but trying  to raise them. I will be trying out lots of new field and lab techniques for working with invertebrates (like how not to accidentally squish them!). I will also be doing a great deal of programming and evolutionary modeling whenever I can find a break from my adventures in husbandry. During my third year here I plan to teach two classes, and hopefully take a couple graduate education courses.

My research focuses on hormones, life histories, and evolution. Life histories describe aspects of an organism’s life such as how fast they grow, how big they get, how much they reproduce and when, and how long they live. Life history traits are important because they describe reproduction and survival, and therefore are the building blocks of evolution. Specifically, I’m interested in how hormones simultaneously influence multiple life history traits, and how hormones and life histories evolve together. I will get into more detail about who I am, my research, and my plans for the next couple years in future posts. I also have some alternative formats planned such as video and animation that should help people understand my research and what I’m learning in some more dynamic ways.

I’ll post again soon,

Eli

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