Lauren Cirino


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    University of Florida

  • Role
    Scientist Mentor: I will mentor teams of students online

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I am incredibly interested in how sexual selection has influenced the evolution of animal behavior, specifically insects. Many of the exaggerated traits we see in the animal kingdom have arisen due to sexual selection. One driver of sexual selection is mate choice. My specific interests focus on how female preferences can change based on female mating status (mated or unmated) and age. I am also interested in how diet can influence female and male mating preferences. My study species is the leaf footed cactus bug. These bugs live and feed on the prickly pear cactus which flowers in April, green fruit appears in June, and that green fruit ripens through the fall. The "high quality" ripe fruit provides these bugs with a substantial amount of nutrition that influences their body size, leg size (males fight with their hind legs!), testes size, and amount of eggs that the females are able to lay. Although I primarily study insects, plants have an enormous impact on our bugs! It is so important to study these amazing plants that influence the way in which the animals that feed on them behave!

  • Profile Question 1
    When and why did you decide to go into a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    I was a freshman in high school taking biology. I had the most amazing teacher who really showed me that science was fun and peaked my curiosity for it. I fell in love with the study of evolution and when I was in college, I got involved in an evolutionary ecology lab where I studied fish. This is how I first got interested in mate choice studies and the evolution of mate choice.

  • Profile Question 2
    Do you have advice for students about preparing for a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    Get involved in research as soon as possible. If there is an opportunity to join a lab when you get to college, join it! It doesn't matter what you research, it just matters that you are learning how to think like a scientist and learn the process. You can always change your mind about what you want to specifically study later. Just join a lab and get that experience and appreciate those mentors for helping you learn.

  • Profile Question 3
    What is best about being a scientist?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    First, you get to ask questions no one knows the answers to and then you get to answer those questions! You are then the expert on that question. Of course, finding the answer to one question just leads you to wondering about another. The cycle goes on and on and you continue to ask and answer questions stretching your mind and continuing to learn throughout your life!

  • Availability
    I am NOT available, please temporarily remove me from the available mentor list

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?

Recent Posts

CAMSdavisfall2017 project 22 Lauren Cirino
commented on an activity

Hey team!

I looked over the methods document for your experiment and it’s looking really good! One comment that you should think about is the hypotheses. You say that the leaf discs will float because they will gain mass. Think about that…

CAMSdavisfall2017 project 22 Lauren Cirino
commented on a blog post

Glad to hear it! Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions that I can help you with. Happy data collecting :) 

CAMSdavisfall2017 project 13 Lauren Cirino

I’m going to step in for Sukuan for the day. I’ve looked over your two project proposals, and I think they are very interesting ideas. I do have some concerns about the feasibility of them, though. I think you can tweak them to make them…


Skills & Endorsements

  • No skills have been endorsed yet.