Senior's Honors project examines the ability of some amphibians to see ultraviolet light
(January 27, 2004) GENEVA, N.Y.–Thanks to a grant from the scientific research society Sigma Xi, Hobart and William Smith Colleges senior Lisa DeLucia will be able to go where few scientists have gone before.
The funding supports DeLucia's Honors project at the Colleges, which examines the ability of frogs to see ultraviolet (UV) light. Although UV vision has been demonstrated in many species, this sense has not been adequately explored in amphibians.
DeLucia's project is part of a long-term research program conducted by her Honors adviser, HWS Professor Mark Deutschlander, in collaboration with Dr. Ellis Loew of Cornell University's School of Veterinary Science.
UV photoreception has been shown to influence many life functions within the animal kingdom, from mating to foraging and navigation. If it can be proved definitively that amphibians see UV light, then scientists can better understand the reasons behind these organisms' visual behaviors.
A biology major at HWS, DeLucia has recently taken classes with a neuroscience and developmental bio focus. Her Honors project allows her to further examine both these disciplines, as it delves into the neural impulses of frogs at various developmental stages, from tadpole to adult.
This is not the first time DeLucia has been the recipient of a science-related honor. As a 2002 Bowman Award winner at HWS, she was able to participate in an internship at the University of Rochester's Strong Children's Research Center, studying dietary impacts on the treatment of autism.
DeLucia is the daughter of Dr. James and Rita DeLucia of Rochester.