Biology Undergraduate Research Award

2020 Biology Undergraduate Research Award Recipient: Daniel Rhoda

Since his freshman year, Daniel Rhoda has been a member in the lab of P. David Polly (professor of earth and atmospheric sciences and adjunct professor of biology). There, Daniel studies the morphological evolution of living and extinct organisms using 3D imaging, geometric morphometrics, phylogenetic comparative methods, and fluid dynamic simulations. Daniel was awarded the Biology Undergraduate Research Award for his manuscript on the evolution of snake skulls, which demonstrated that the separate mobile bones of their skulls evolve in a highly coordinated fashion despite their spatial separation. His senior project draws on the wealth of well preserved brachiopod fossils from southeastern Indiana that document the Late Ordovician (~440 million years ago) Richmondian Invasion to ask how the response of species to environmental change in deep-time can inform us about the long-term consequences of anthropogenic climate change. Daniel will continue his research through the University of Chicago's Committee on Evolutionary Biology Ph.D. program in the fall and will one day become a research professor.