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CEIRP Project

Sean Mullen

2002 - 2003 CEIRP Fellow

Research Interest:
Ecology and evolutionary biology of butterflies

I am a broadly trained biologist with interests in most aspects of ecology and evolutionary biology. Currently, I am working on the evolutionary genetics of the Limenitis arthemis butterfly species complex. Two distinct forms of this butterfly occur in North America and hybridize where their ranges overlap. The Red-spotted Purple, which occurs in the southern U.S., is a well-known mimic of the chemically-defended Pipevine Swallowtail, while the White Admiral, which occurs throughout the northeastern U.S. and Canada, is a non-mimetic butterfly with large, transverse white bands on each wing. My research on this group includes extensive field sampling, rearing, breeding, and molecular studies of patterns of genetic variation.

As a CEIRP fellow, I am looking forward to helping teachers and students find novel ways to integrate inquiry-based approaches to learning with more traditional, state-mandated, educational standards. Personal inquiry is the sine qua non of all learning and my goal is to help students become more personally involved in both the form and content of their education. I hope to build active research partnerships with teachers and students that meet the goals of the state's regents exams but in ways that encourage students to seek connections between theory and practice. Finally, while I am most comfortable within the biological sciences, I am willing and eager to push my own limits in other fields.



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