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About Me

Hi! I’m Kristina Prus, and I am a senior in Leverett House at Harvard College. I am studying Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB), and aiming for a language citation in Serbian. I have always loved animals and have always wondered about the incredible diversity, which is why I chose to be an OEB concentrator. While I am currently pursuing my passion for the natural world, I hope to soon start studying my other passion, medicine. I hope to attend medical school after graduating college and go on to become an amazing doctor of some kind, possibly in pediatrics or anesthesiology.

I also love all kinds of music, whether it is singing, playing, or listening. I also love performing music, either through singing (I was in a choir, the Radcliffe Choral Society, for 1.5 years) or through instrumental music. I play flute and piccolo in the H-R Gilbert and Sullivan Players’ Orchestra and I played all throughout high school in various pit, symphony, and honors orchestras as well as pep, marching, and symphonic band. I love being able to participate in all sorts of different music styles since they all have their own quirks. I also love anything sports related, both watching and playing (go Chicago Bears!). I love tennis, but I’m probably even more obsessed with badminton. Badminton is one of the best sport in the world (and don’t try to tell me that it is not a sport–if you think that, you have never played the sport), and I can’t get away from it–I still go back and coach my high school varsity badminton team over the summer. I also am a Peer Advising Fellow at Harvard (a sort of freshman adviser), and I love it because of all the amazing people I meet and get to help. Otherwise, I love having a good time while enjoying the outdoors, time spent with my family, and time spent volunteering and participating at various activities with my church.

Focal Taxon

Focal Taxon: Lizards
I spent a lot of time chasing around lizards at the various places that we visited (including the one to the left–that one jumped in front of me, landed on the tree like that, and ran away once I pulled the branch down to try to catch it). Going on both day and night hikes, I searched among the trees and leaf litter to find all the amazing lizards of Borneo. After all that work, I made a phylogeny of the lizards based on 14 morphological traits that I observed. Some species remain unidentified since I could not find them in the reference books or tell them apart enough, but where I could I identified them to species. Enjoy!

Course Projects

Lambir butterfly project(proposal)

Lepidoptera habitat partitioning between the Montane Dipterocarpe Forests of Lambir Hills National Park protected by the canopy and the unprotected outskirts of the forest (those meeting grass or open land) were studied to determine whether there were specific morphologies significantly associated with each habitat. Butterfly traps and transect walks were used to sample the Lepidoptera variation between the two habitats, at 3 different sites. Coloration, i.e. light or dark, and size, i.e large (>5cm in wingspan) or small, were noted for each specimen in the study. Ninety-nine Lepidoptera were surveyed over a 6-day period. The study found a significant association between coloration and habitats, such that lightly colored butterflies existed at higher frequency on the edge of the forest than those inside the forest. We also found that Lepidoptera are more highly abundant on the edge of the forest than on the inside. The study found no significant association between location of the specimen and size of wingspan was reported. This data can be used for future studies that require finding locations of specific Lepidoptera.

Gaya Rope Ecology Abstract

The intermediate disturbance hypothesis states that high biodiversity is possible through intermittent disruptions to an environment. The rope ecosystem near Pulau Gaya differs in levels of disturbance, age, and ocean environment type, and therefore is a suitable model for testing this ecological theory. We measured species richness of several rope sites in the Pulau Gaya region varying in the aforementioned characteristics and looked for evidence of ecological patterns of succession. We hypothesized that we would see greater species richness in regions of medium disturbance levels based on the intermediate disturbance hypothesis. Contrary to our expectations, we found that species richness was not dependent on disturbance level or age of rope section. Environment type, however, did have a noteworthy effect on species richness, although the relationship was not statistically significant (p=0.06). In conclusion, we did not find evidence supporting the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, possibly due to our small sample size and our inability to quantify disturbance levels.

Maliau rotting fruit project(proposal)

Fruit resources are sporadic in the rain forest, so any new fruit resource will be quickly colonized and exploited by frugivores. This experiment aimed to study colonization patterns of differently sized fruit patches in the forest, looking for variation in number of species, community composition, and early successional patters of species in different sized patches. We tested this by placing fruit resources (a mixture of rotting apples and eggplant) of varying size classes along transects and watching the colonizers over both twenty-four and two hour periods. After using the analysis of similarities test, we did not find significant variation among communities between different patch sizes. Furthermore, there was not an obvious successional pattern within short term study data; flies and ants colonized the patch at similar numbers throughout the six hour study, though there was a slight increase in both lepidoptera and coleoptera over time. We did find a significant pattern in nocturnal consumer foraging: smaller patches were preferentially consumed over larger. This study can be used as a pilot project to further investigate colonization patters in the forest, such as doing a longer study with twenty-four hour observation and nocturnal frugivore exclusion to investigate arthropod community composition over a longer and more precise time frame.