Beauty is DEADLY!

I’m BACK!!

So sorry for the long delay…research really took an upswing and grad school has been kicking my butt! However, I wanted to ramp my blog back up to keep on sharing fun science facts/stories with you all! Today I’m doing a short highlight on one of my favorite insects — the praying mantis!


I’m sure you’ve all seen one at least once in your life — they’re very menacing looking and have folded front limbs that make it look like they are praying — hence, the name! I’m focusing specifically on “Flower Mantises” today, which have developed camouflage that makes them look like flowers. This is called an adaptation. Over evolutionary time, those individuals that blended in better with their environment (in this case, flowers) were better at capturing food, thus increasing their chances of surviving. They passed on their genes to the next generation which eventually created these beauties! As you can see, their limbs and body look like the petals of flowers, allowing them to blend in and be “invisible.” Pretty cool, huh? Some days I wish I could just blend in with my environment…then maybe I’d get some more writing done! 😉

Orchid Mantis

Another fun fact about praying mantises…the females actually bite the heads of the males prior to mating, and then once the act is complete, they consume the rest of him. Talk about a bad date!

Let me know if you have any requests of topics you’d like me to cover! As you can see, I am not restricted to just mangroves — I love ALL things science! 🙂

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I’ve officially met my SciFund goal of $1,000! And it’s all thanks to YOU! I feel so blessed and am so grateful for all the help I’ve received over the past 22 days, not just with donations but with sharing my research with all your friends and family!

Two more thank yous need to be shared, too!

Thank you, thank you, to my long lost doctor in training, Richard Cockrum, for contributing to my project. After my link had popped up on his Facebook newsfeed a gazillion times, he finally caved! But secretly I know it wasn’t my persistence/annoyance, but that he supports what I do because he’s a great friend!

A HUUUGEEE thank you goes out to my advisor, Ryan Earley, for giving me the little push over the edge I needed to reach my goal! But he also deserves a BIG thank you for sharing my project with the millions of family, friends, and colleagues he has. WOO for his unwavering support AND for word of mouth! 🙂


NOW…we have exactly ONE WEEK left to see how far we can push past that 100% mark and go for the gold! Again, THANK YOU for everything and let’s keep it going!! 😀

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8 Days and Counting!

So we are down to 8 days left in the SciFund Challenge Round 2, and so far I’ve raised $917!! That’s 92% of my goal (which is $1000). I am so close I can taste it!

I know it’s been a little while since my last update, but things are really rolling in the Earley Lab! I have so many more thank yous to give out it’s madness!!

Thank you to my friend’s cat,Lion Schneider, for cracking open his piggy bank and donating to my SciFund project! I know he probably could have used it to buy some catnip, but I’m grateful to know he’d rather spend it on my research! 🙂

A big thank you to all of my advisor’s family members! His mother Barbara, father Richard, his GREAT Aunt Sadie (who is 95! wow!), Joanne, Janet, and Michelle. It’s so great to know that my advisor has a family that is just as jazzed about research as we are and willing to help out! Woo!

A BIG BIG thank you to my second mama, Lori Butler, for her generous donation to my research project. Even though we’re several states apart, you always keep up with what I’m doing! 🙂

Another thank you to one of my high school volleyball coaches, Carly Woods, for her support! I bet she never thought I’d turn out to be such a big nerd! (hahaha, actually, she probably totally expected it!) 😀

Also, I was recently interviewed for The Weekly Weinersmith podcast show! One of the hosts, Kelly Weinersmith, is a PhD student from UC-Davis and visiting our lab for awhile, and I was honored when she asked me to be on the show! Check it out!! I come in around 29:30! –>

Keep up the great work everyone! And thanks for all the support! LOVE IT! 🙂

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SciFund Update


We are now on DAY 15 of the SCIFUND CHALLLEEENNNGEEE! Time has been passing by so quickly, but I’ve had so many people generously continue to contribute and support my research, and it’s really been a wonderful experience getting to share my research with everyone and seeing such a positive response to it!


After the past 2 weeks, I have even MORE thank-yous to give out to all the wonderful people who have “fueled” my project!

Thank you to my fellow “SciFunders,” Claudia Makeyev and Lindsey Carr, who like myself, have projects that are SUPER interesting and need help with funding! They were nice enough to donate some of their own money to my research…how AWESOME is that?!? That just goes to show how much of a “family” scientists can be because we love supporting each other. Check out Claudia’s research here: and check out Lindsey’s research here: Both women do AWESOME research, so you should definitely check them out!

Another thank you goes out to my big “sis”Melanie Shear for supporting me just like always! You are the best!

Thank you to Scott Hubley, a friend of my mom’s for donating to my research, it is really appreciated!

A BIG thank you goes out to my wonderfully supportive boyfriend, Andrew Johnson, for contributing to my research and sharing it with all his friends and family. He’s always been my number one fan and the first to help me whenever I need it in the lab. He always encourages me to catch my dreams and not to let anything stop me! He’s the best boyfriend a girl could ever hope or ask for!

Another BIG thank you goes out to my boyfriend’s sister-in-law, Rhea Johnson, who’s been like a sister to me, as well! She is the sweetest girl you’ll ever meet and is always curious to hear about what I’m doing in the lab. She is awesome!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to my old college roomie, Hannah Lewis, for donating to my project. It’s good to know that after all the years, you can still count on old friendships! 🙂

A GINORMOUS thank you goes out to my very best friend, Erin Godwin, who must have donated her life savings to my project! We’ve been friends for years, and although there have been many miles between us over the past couple, we’ve still managed to remain close and support each other’s endeavors. Thanks Muffy! 🙂


Again, I am so amazed by all the old and new names that are popping up and contributing their time and money to my research. It really means so much to me to know I have so many supporters out there! You guys are the best! 🙂

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SciFund – Day 1


This is exactly how I feel after an AWESOME first day of the SciFund Challenge!

I had no idea that this many people would jump start this great adventure with such gusto and excitement! I am so grateful to all the help I’ve gotten so far, and I look forward to hopefully getting to say “THANKS!” many more times throughout the month!

A few personal thank-yous are in order…

MOM! You were my first contributor of this project, showing your support just like you always do! I can always count on you to support my goals and dreams. Plus, you’re great at spreading the word about what I do with as much enthusiasm and spunk as a kid going to Disney World!

DAD! You were a close second to mom, and like her, you’ve always supported everything I’ve wanted to do and encouraged me to pursue my goals and prepare with hard work and determination. I know the whole science/research thing is new to you, but I’m proud of how eager you are to learn and share your knowledge with others!

A BIG thank you to my “ex-neighbor” but long time family friend and crazy Alabama fan (like me), Shawn McCreary! I love that our families have stayed so close over the years, and I love it even more that you are now as crazy as Dad and me when it comes to Alabama football! Thank you so much for your support, and ROLL TIDE! 🙂

Another BIG BIG thank you is in order for another “ex-neighbor” but long time friend and crazy Aggie fan (HA!), Jeff Butler! I’m so happy to know that even though we are no longer neighbors, we’ve still kept in touch over the years! I really appreciate your support and can’t wait to send you a picture of Aggie Riv and his “certificate of adoption”!

Thank you to Angela Earley, my advisor’s AWESOME twin sister, for donating to my SciFund project! Not only has she been a diehard fan/supporter of all the graduate students in our lab, she is by far the BEST artist ever! Take a look at some of her work –>

Another thank you to the residents of New York! In particular, the great Charles Spielholz! Unfortunately I do not have the pleasure of knowing Charles, but I believe he is a friend of Angela’s. But hopefully I will know him soon! It’s great to know that my project is reaching so many people, even those that I don’t know, so I can make new friends and share with them what I do! 🙂

THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU to one of my best friends, Diane Schneider, for contributing to my research! She’s been along for the ride of applying to grad school and listening to me describe experiment after experiment – always with a smile on her face! Thank you for everything!


Again, I would just like to thank EVERYONE that contributed to my SciFund project to make Day 1 go off with a BANG!  All I ask of you now is to spread the word! Share it with everyone you know and tell them to ask lots of questions because I love chatting about what I do! And don’t forget to follow me on TWITTER!!! (@biolizlee)

over and out. 😀

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We are LIVE!


Alright people…it is OFFICIAL! My SciFund project is now LIVE! You can go to this website –> and learn more about it, and donate towards my research if you think it’s deserving! (Which hopefully you do!)

If you have ANY questions about what I do or want to learn more, PLEASE comment/email/tweet/etc and just ASK! I’m here to share my knowledge with YOU!! (twitter: @biolizlee)

THANK YOU…and remember, SCIENCE RULES! 🙂

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Ready, Set, Go!

Hello blogging world! Welcome to my blog where I’ll tell you all about me, my research, and my adventures through graduate school!

Before I delve too far into everything I am doing, I’ll just give you a teaser video of my upcoming project – the SciFund Challenge! It is an awesome outlet to use crowdfunding to raise money for research AND educate the community about the different projects going on within the science world!

Let me know what you think! And stay tuned for the link to my SciFund Challenge website where you can learn more about my research along with many other great scientists! 🙂

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