Saturday, April 9, 2016

I Talked About SMARTA and Ruffed Lemur Color Vision A Lot This Week

Duke Lemur Center presentation cover page

I gave a 30 minute presentation on Tuesday at Duke Lemur Center this week for their "Lemurs, Science, and Beer" seminar. The title of the talk is "Do You See What I See? Studying Ruffed Lemur (Varecia spp.) Color Vision using SMARTA".  In this presentation, I did a brief talk about how color vision came to be and what the world might look like for ruffed lemurs if they cannot see red or if they can see red. Then, I talked about my research questions and how I try to answer them by using SMARTA.

Hey, I know this Raymond Vagell guy! 

The event had a great turn out. It even attracted a few public attendees as I had advertised the talk on Facebook and Twitter. I'm glad that I was able to talk about what SMARTA is and how it is used to study ruffed lemur color vision to the DLC staff because they've seen me conducting my research but probably doesn't really know what I'm doing. Thanks to all my friends who came to support me. 

That's Carme using SMARTA

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to talk about SMARTA and ruffed lemur color vision to Scaling Stem participants who came to visit DLC. I talked about how SMARTA came to be and how it was built. Then, I showed the participants how SMARTA works. Because this is a women in STEM group, it was apropos to have Halley demonstrate how SMARTA works. Without skipping a beat, Halley did her color vision trials perfectly and her enthusiasm wow-ed the crowd.

Giving a talk to Scaling Stem participants. Helping me demonstrate SMARTA is my lemur assistant, Halley

On Thursday, I gave a brief talk to a group of college freshmen that are interested in animal cognition studies. Though the talk was brief, I was able to share some tips on designing animal studies and things to expect when working with animals. This time, Carme helped demonstrate SMARTA. She also wow-ed the crowd with her cognitive skills in discrimination tasks.

Giving a brief talk about my color vision project 

This has been a long week! But, I am glad that I was given the opportunity to talk about my research and sharing my stories not only to the DLC staff, but also to educators and students. This week is also my last week at DLC for awhile. I am flying back to NYC and will be back to DLC periodically until the study is done around August. My assistant will be continuing this study while I am away. Thanks to Dr. Erin Ehmke for giving me the opportunities to share my work with the DLC family, educators and students.

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