CSRI student searches for new trends in research data

One research project at Cornell College is all about the data.

“There are probably about 70,000 data points that we are looking at, but honestly a lot of times it feels like there isn’t enough,” said Ben Garcia ’19

He’s working with Professor Marty Condon on a long-running research project that focuses on the evolutionary biology of some unique flies, the flowers they live on, and their predators, to better understand the diverse species from Central and South America.

“We have collected very detailed data for all of our trips. Most of the data we haven’t exploited yet,” said Professor Marty Condon. “So, he’s giving me new insights and a new look at the details that we’ve collected over the years.”

Garcia is learning computer coding to analyze the data and asking questions that have never been asked before.

“I started thinking about flower ages, and I didn’t find anything notable in the data there,” Garcia said. “So, I went back to Professor Condon’s office, talked to her for a while, and asked her about new topics. She would say, ‘You know we haven’t looked at that yet.’”

Professor Condon and her research team are the only people who have ever studied this biological system. They’re learning something new about the flies all of the time.

From computer programming to developing research questions, Garcia is also learning valuable skills that will help him as he plans for the future.

To find out more, watch their video story: