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Carlos Macazana

PCCC STEM Student
Research Presenter

STEM C2 Summit
April 21, 2017
Bergen Community College

Research Topic:
Influence of Recurrent Flooding on the Diversity and Composition
of Eusocial Insects in Tropical Guyana,
in collaboration with Dr.  Jessica Ware and Dr. Phillip Barden of Rutgers University-Newark.

 
Email interview conducted by the PCCC Office of Communication/Marketing/Public Relations.
May 5, 2017

Carlos at work in the lab.

  
 

  1. Describe briefly the purpose/goal of your project.
    My research project involved studying the effects that recurrent flooding had on eusocial insects, such as ants and termites, in tropical Guyana. The disturbance that seasonal flooding had on the composition and diversity of these insects was quantified and presented.
     
    The main purpose for this project was to obtain a better understanding of how termites and ants are affected by flooding and whether or not it is statistically significant.
    My results showed that flooding did in fact have a significantly backed impact on the abundance of termites living in these frequently inundated regions, meanwhile it did not impact the act population significantly.
     
    Regarding diversity, my results showed that flooding did impact both insects significantly as both groups decreased in the number of species in this region.
     
  2. What was it like to participate in the Summit?
    It was very exciting! I had the opportunity to present my project as a whole to various people and represent PCCC in the Summit. I previously presented at New Brunswick for the GSLAMP Annual Research Summit for Undergraduates, but my data was not as refined at the time as it is now. This was a great opportunity for me to get experience on how to present a poster properly and I have gained a TON of confidence and knowledge about the scientific world that exists. I also had the pleasure to hear various interesting workshops that was offered at the Summit and observe other undergraduate projects to learn from them. Overall, it was a great experience and I highly recommend it to anyone in the STEM field or anyone that is generally interested in the field and would like a deeper understanding of how research works.
     
  3. What did you learn from your collaborators?
    This is my favorite questions thus far, because I have learned an enormous amount of knowledge from the people I work with over at Rutgers University - Newark. I originally applied to intern over the Summer 2016 under Dr. Jessica Ware because I was always interested in insects and their complexity of a lifestyle that they know and love. Jessica accepted and gave me the opportunity to begin in her evolutionary biology laboratory mixed with entomology.
     
    I was placed under the guidance of her post-doctorate, Dr. Phillip Barden, and from there on forwards began collaborating with him and Jessica to both expand my knowledge about their laboratory and the research world in general. I also learned various molecular biology techniques and gained a ton of knowledge under evolutionary biology and entomology. I continued my internship until the end of Spring 2017, and I plan to publish a paper in regards to my research alongside Dr. Barden and Dr. Ware.
     
  4. How would you describe your overall experience as a student researcher at PCCC
    My experience thus far has been amazing and I am very grateful for the opportunity that was given to me because it has truly changed my life and life goals. I could not have done any of this without the help of the B2B (Bridges to Baccalaureate) program here in PCCC, and especially without the assistance of Professor Thomas Van Aken and Professor Kala Mayur.

  

Poster displayed at the C2 Summit
detailing Carlos’ research.
(Click to enlarge)