Malavika worked with Dr. Altizer on a project examining mating behavior of monarch butterflies, and asked how is the behavior affected when individuals are infected with a butterfly-specific parasite. She conducted an experiment in the summer of 2010 in a local field site, where male and female butterflies (some infected, some not) were placed in large walk-in flight cages, and she made observations on the mating behavior of each butterfly. Her results were presented as a poster (see link) at the 2011 Ecology Graduate Student Symposium, where she won an award for the best student poster. She also is writing up the project as an honors thesis.
Photo - A mating pair of monarch butterflies in a field cage. The monarchs are numbered for identification purposes