Biodiversity is becoming an increasingly important field of study for biologists as we begin to explore drivers of diversification. Within this deep look into organisms large and small comes discoveries of biodiversity in unexpected forms. My research has focused on the biodiversity of courtship displays in male jumping spiders of the highly-diversified genus Habronattus. These spiders produce complex displays that combine visual and vibratory signals. These vibratory “songs” vary across species and it is unknown what structures are responsible for this variation. I used a combination of video and imaging techniques to examine variation in sound production morphology. Using high speed video recordings and laser vibrometry I was able to document male songs in different species, and then imaged their sound producing structures using Scanning Electron Microscopy. Analysis of these images revealed distinct morphological characteristics belonging to each species but similar morphologies in sister taxa. This evidence suggests that evolution […]
Matatus (matatu singular) are privately owned minibuses and buses that navigate within Kenyas major cities, mostly transporting passengers into, around, and out of towns such as Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. They are an integral sociocultural and economic mobilizer in Kenya, transporting thousands daily. The late 90s in Kenya saw a proliferation of graffiti writings and painting on these vehicles as they were decorated (mostly with hip hop figures) to attract more passengers. Today, a picture of Nairobi is incomplete without the flashy graffitied matatu in the background. Using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), my research investigates semiotic dimensions and cultural implications of public representation of the female body on the matatu buses.