Michael McWhorter

Mentor: Dr. Christine Miller
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
 
""Raised in a conservative religious environment where even the existence of dinosaurs was a taboo subject, I learned early on to take matters into my own hands if I wanted to satisfy my inquisitiveness about nature with real, tangible answers. From behavioral observations of mourning doves lured into the garage with birdseed to ill-conceived designs for nocturnal camp illumination by filling the family tent with fireflies, creatively tackling those burning questions about the world is my lifelong passion. I’m a good deal older and a little bit wiser since the days of sneaking bottled spiders to school in my lunchbox— but my craving for knowledge and boundless wonder grow stronger daily as I explore the life with which we share our planet. I want to bring my imagination, ingenuity, and restless eagerness to a setting where I can investigate questions which fascinate me alongside peers and mentors who will challenge me to grow academically, professionally, and personally."

Major

Entomology and Nematology

Minor

N/A

Research Interests

  • Sexual Selection
  • Male-male Competition
  • Systematics

Academic Awards

  • Milledge Murphy Memorial Scholarship
  • University Scholars Program 2015-2016

Organizations

  • UF Entomology Club

Volunteer

  • N/A

Hobbies and Interests

  • Insect Collection
  • Fiction Writing
  • Camping
  • Travel

Research Description

Fighting-style Variation of Acanthocephala Femorata (Hemiptera:Coreidae) on Two Host Substrates
Animal weapons are diverse, ornate structures used in competition between males of the same species over mates or territory. Despite evolving under similar pressures and in similar ecological niches, weapon morphology and fighting behaviors vary wildly, even within taxa. My project is investigating how structural differences in two distinct hosts of the coreid bug Acanthocephala femorata may cause shifts in intrasexual combat techniques, weapon morphology, and dominance.