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Alissa Anderson, '11

Alissa Anderson, '11Alissa Anderson, a 2011 graduate and a doctoral student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, recently became the first to quantitatively measure the rate of color change in a spider. Using digital photography, Anderson, and a colleague, were able to quantify the rate of color change in crab spiders, which use camouflage to capture their prey. Previous studies have been able to subjectively estimate the rate of change, but Anderson is the first to do so in a quantitative method.

Anderson’s work was published in the online journal Ecological Entomology. The paper entitled Colour change ability and its effect on prey capture success in female Misumenoides formosipes crab spiders was co-authored with Gary Dodson, professor of biology at Ball State University.

Anderson, who majored in biology as an undergraduate, chose Muskingum in part because she was drawn to the opportunity to conduct research at The Wilds.

Anderson initially intended to apply to attend vet school after earning her bachelor’s degree, but she changed her mind after exploring different options at Muskingum. She says, “My best advice is to explore your options and get experience in multiple fields. Classes are critical to your growth in education, but getting experience actually doing what you are learning in the classroom is the best thing you can do. I would have never discovered my passion for research without getting out and doing it.”