Yale Peabody Museum Summer Internships

Phylogeography and species delimitation of North American freshwater fishes

Advisor: Daniel MacGuigan with Prof. Tom Near


Length: 8 weeks in the summer


Project Description:

Undergraduates are invited to participate in field and lab research during the summer of 2017 to work with scientists from the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and the Yale Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. This project focuses of two species of darters, the johnny darter (Etheostoma nigrum) and the tessellated darter (E. olmstedi). Etheostoma nigrum and E. olmstedi have among the largest ranges of any darter species, with E. nigrum spread throughout the Mississippi River drainage and E. olmstedi found along the entire Atlantic slope. Previous studies suggest that E. olmstedi and E. nigrum exhibit complex genetic variation across their ranges that may coincide with unrecognized species-level diversity. This project will aim to address several questions: 1) do E. olmstedi and E. nigrum contain multiple lineages that should be recognized as separate species, 2) what is the role of different biogeographic features in the evolutionary history of these species, and 3) what were the paths of post-glacial dispersal?


The undergraduate researcher will be involved in multiple aspects of this project. The researcher will participate in field work for several weeks across the United States and Canada to sample E. olmstedi and E. nigrum. While in the field, the researcher will assist with all aspects of collection, identification, cataloging, and preservation. As part of the Peabody Museum’s larger mission to “advance our understanding of earth’s history”, the researcher will also assist with broader surveys of amphibians, reptiles, and fishes to enhance the Museum’s research collections. Additionally, the researcher will have the opportunity to learn molecular techniques such as DNA extraction, PCR, and high-throughput sequencing. These techniques will be performed with tissues collected during the summer and with tissues currently housed at the Peabody Museum. The researcher will also have the opportunity to develop their own questions related to phylogeography of freshwater fishes that could lead to a senior thesis project.


Stipend for lodging, food, etc.


Travel, lodging and meals for field work will be covered



CLICK HERE to apply!