Mulin Huan ’26


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Project Title

Seasonal Evolution of Fruit Fly Competitive Ability

I studied how fruit fly phenotypes such as heat tolerance, starvation tolerance, chill coma recovery and fecundity can rapidly evolve over a few months and used experiments to examine how these rapid evolutions affect their competitive abilities. I set up a field experiment site with fly cages and tents at the Princeton University nursery but ran into several issues when storms knocked down the tents and cages. However, my adviser and I came up with ideas to fix the problem. I also took part in making food for all the flies and recording data during the phenotyping of the flies. I learned many techniques, especially skills involving collecting and sampling flies from orchards and cages. As a rising sophomore, this opportunity offered me great insights including how to work safely and efficiently in a university laboratory and deal with unexpected challenges in the field. Overall, I developed further confidence in my aspired career as a researcher in ecology and evolutionary biology.

* This internship is connected to the HMEI Biodiversity Grand Challenges project, “The Maintenance of Species Diversity through the Rapid Evolution of Competitive Ability.”


Internship Year


Project Category

Biodiversity and Conservation


Levine Lab, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University - Princeton, New Jersey


Jonathan Levine, J.N. Allison Professor in Environmental Studies, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Jamie Leonard, Ph.D. candidate, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology