Dominique Philoctete

Dominque Philoctete
Mentor: Dr. Christopher Hamilton
Florida Museum of Natural History
 
"This research is fascinating because of how it aims to collect data and analyze it to test the hypothesis. Utilizing digitized specimen as opposed to the live specimen serves as a way to protect the specimen and utilizes technology in a way that I am inexperienced in. This research uses ingenuity and that is something that I can retain from my time here at the University of Florida’s Florida Museum of Natural History. Ingenuity and technological skills are crucial in the growing job market especially as a scientist. I plan to go to medical school and the skills that I learn here I can apply to medical research that I can do. Thinking out of the box or using technology in a unique way could solve a complicated research question or hypothesis that is difficult to conduct an experiment on. It also gives me hands on experience in a lab that is crucial for medical school and as an eventual M.D."

Major

English

Minor

Innovation

Research Interests

  • Biology
  • Evolution
  • Lab Experience

Academic Awards

  • IA People's Choice Award 2014
  • University Scholars Program 2016

Organizations

  • Emergency Medical Responder

Volunteer

N/A

Hobbies and Interests

  • Reading
  • Ultimate Frisbee

Research Description

Geometric Morphometric Study
The ongoing research project that I have joined is working on understanding evolutionary traits that allow hawkmoths (Sphingidae) to counteract bat predation. The research hypothesizes that increased wing sophistication and smaller bodies in this species are evolutionary defenses more adequate against predators. The hypothesis is broken down into two parts: correlation between small bodies and sophisticated wing shape and the species with elaborate wing shape will not have other evolutionary anti-predation traits. In order to analyze this further I along with other undergraduate students are digitizing the Sphingidae collection at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. Under the guidance of Dr. Chris Hamilton, the process includes photographing all of the species and subspecies under Sphingidae. Followed by cataloguing and entering their data into one database that can be easily accessed by those wish to conduct other research or tests.