Name Email Phone

Name *
Jay Goldberg
Email *
[email protected]
1.) Reflectively describe your literature research process. Tell us how you used library resources or
services of any kind (from ILL to online databases to archives collections to meeting with your
liaison librarian). *
I developed an interest in chemical ecology and began skimming the available literature roughly a
year before I actually began my summer research project. I started with basic Google Scholar
searches and read anything I found there that piqued my interest. This provided me a broad
knowledge base and familiarity with the names of researchers in the field that has served me well
during my current research project. Since I began working with Professor Stacey Weiss my
previously broad and diverse readings have become sharply focused on chemical cues in lizards.
This has allowed me to refine my searches in a fashion that allows me to find exactly the
publications that I need to support the planning, execution, and conclusions of my research.
I’ve learned to make use of a number of Google Scholar functions such as ‘cited by’ and ‘library
links.’ The cited by function allowed me to find articles that followed up on articles I found useful,
many were reviews that I could use to find other sources. The library link function saved me
having to re-search for articles I want on the Collins Memorial Library website. If an article or
book I need is in the library, Google lets me know. If its not I could usually obtain it using ILLiad
or from a professor.
A lesson I quickly learned was the importance of knowing the researchers in your field. I’ve found
that many professors offer links to their pdfs on their websites. For example Robert Mason of
Oregon State University, one of the leading researchers in the field of vertebrate chemical ecology,
has links to most of his 122 publications on his website. These links have been indispensible and
saved me hours upon hours of frustration when search engines failed me.
2.) Tell us about a challenge you faced while doing literature research and how you overcame it. *
The greatest challenge was finding experimental and analytical methodologies that I could utilize
in various aspects of my project including: sample collection, purification, and analysis. The
literature available on the collection and analysis of deposited chemical cues is limited as most
studies focus on skin-borne chemical cues. Much of my searching on Google Scholar, PubMed,
Springer, and the Collins Memorial Library proved futile. Ultimately, it turned out that no one has
ever published a study quite like mine. I had to work directly with a number of researchers from
UPS and other institutions to overcome this. Over the course of my research I discussed
methodologies with Stacey Weiss, Eric Scharrer, Bill Dasher, John Hanson, Dan Burgard, Diana
Hews of Indiana State University and her PhD students, as well as Mike LeMaster of Western
Oregon University to help me figure out the best method for collection and analysis. Overcoming
this challenge taught me a valuable lesson: that the literature does not have all the answers. This
does not mean that the information isn’t out there, it just means it hasn’t been published.
Sometimes the best resource available is the experience of other scientists. This collaborative peer
interaction was indispensible in guiding my thoughts towards a single, concise, experimental
3.) How does your research contribute to the scholarly conversation in your field? What is the
significance of your research, in layperson’s terms? *
My research consists of multiple components that together paint a more complete and in-depth
picture of the role that deposited chemical cues play in the life history of the striped plateau
lizard. The three components are a behavioral analysis of responses to deposited chemical cues,
analysis of response to UV-visible ink, and analytical identification and characterization of
deposited chemical cues. This integration of various components is what separates my research
from much of the available literature and allows it to fill 3 significant gaps in the available
knowledge on reptilian chemical cues.
The first gap bridged by my project is the chasm separating different sensory modalities. Most
researchers who study animal communication focus on a single sensory modality. Most notably
this is the case in Dr. Robert Mason’s laboratory that focuses solely on the role of chemical cues in
the courtship of red-sided garter snakes. Until recently this was also true of my own research
advisor, Dr. Weiss, who has focused on the role of visual communication. Since lizards can only
perceive chemical deposits at close range, they must first be detected at long range, possibly via
UV-visibility. This assessment of how chemical cues can also play a role as visual cues is one of
the ways my research fills a gap in the available literature.
The second contribution of my project to the field of reptilian chemical ecology is an integration
of chemical and behavioral analysis. The literature currently available usually deals with one
analysis at a time and studies integrating both are uncommon. Since behavioral responses are
what allow researchers to place chemical cues within an ecologically relevant context, behavioral
analysis are crucial when examining the role of chemical cues.
The third gap filled by my project is the lack of literature available on female ornamentation.
Males have traditionally been thought of as the sex that must be impressive in order to attract the
choosier females, however, this is not the case in all species. In particular some of the leading
chemical ecologists, Pilar Lopez and Jose Martin, focus solely on the chemical composition of male
pheromones. My research breaks this mold by chemically analyzing female pheromones and the
response of males to the cues.
The scope of my project is much larger than that of a typical summer research project. I will be
continuing it during the school year and plan on writing my senior thesis to summarize my work
in the spring. Given the contributions my research presents to the field of chemical and behavioral
ecology, I hope to one day write a publication based upon my research and possibly continue
working in this field in future graduate work.
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