Research Story


Matt Birk
Graduated Spring 2013 | Biology

"In my freshman year at UNCW, I began working with Dr. Sean Lema in a collaborative project on the regulatory genetic response of the Atlantic blue crab to environmental hypoxia. Thanks, in part, to CSURF's travel award program I was able to co-present our work at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) and gain exposure to many different fields of biology. In the summer of 2011, I was blessed to participate in a NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program with the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. In this program, I worked with one of the world experts in my field of interest (which was incredible!). I studied the camouflage behavior of cuttlefish and was able to give an oral presentation of my work at the 2011 Marine Biological Laboratory Undergraduate Research Symposium. I also hope to present this work in a poster at SICB this coming year. This coming summer, I will be pursuing a 9-week research project with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through the Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program and will be presenting my work there at NOAA's National Science Education Symposium. At UNCW, I am currently working with Dr. Will White studying predator-prey interactions. I hope to help discover aspects of how predators perceive prey spatially as part of my senior honors project. Upon graduation, I hope to pursue research in the behavioral ecology of cephalopods in graduate school."