Neeka Sewnath

Mentor: Dr. Akito Kawahara
College of Florida Museum of Natural History
 
"I became involved with research because I am a curious person by nature and I see research as a vital way of answering unanswered questions in regard to the natural world. "

Major

Biotechnology

Minor

N/A

Research Interests

  • Evolution
  • Genetics
  • Lepidoptera

Academic Awards

  • Florida Academic Scholar
  • University Scholars Program

Organizations

  • CURBS Executive Board
  • UF Guitar Ensemble
  • Visionary Crossfit

Volunteer

  • FLNHM volunteer
  • Shands Core Lab volunteer
  • Give Kids the World volunteer

Hobbies and Interests

  • Beekeeping
  • Kayaking
  • Writing
  • Guitar

Research Description

Moth Shape and Size as an Anti-Defense Strategy against Bats
The aim of this project to study whether particular areas of a moth's wing are more prone to bat attack, and if certain traits are correlated with the diversification of major groups within the Saturniidae family. Of the ~160,000 species of moths, nearly half have evolved bat-detecting ears. Others that lack ears still face predation and must use alternative defenses to survive. It has been hypothesized for this project that evading bat predation is the cause of the evolution of varying sizes and unique shapes of wings in this family. The data collection and synthesis will occur using morphometric analysis on digitized moth collections, all of which I have digitized personally. This project is interesting to me because it is a stepping stone in uncovering the reasons why many species of moths in the same family have evolved to be incredibly different from one another.