Diego Ocampo

Visiting Student, The Uy Lab

You work in a laboratory.  What are you currently researching?

I am currently studying the patterns of divergence in genomic, morphometric, and behavioral traits between different populations of a Neotropical bird species, and how birds of different populations interact and maybe hybridize in areas in which they get into secondary contact. In short, my research explores the role of variation in plumage color and song in driving the processes of hybridization/diversification that could lead to the formation of new species.

What was it that originally sparked your interest in biology?

First, I am from Costa Rica, a small country in the Neotropics which is well known for its high biodiversity. Second, as a teenager, I got the opportunity to spend a lot of time camping away from the urban areas. I believe that spending time outdoors, in areas with lots of plants, insects, and birds, sparked my original interest in natural history; an interest happily encouraged by my family.   

What do you enjoy most about working here at the U of R? 

The U of R has a very welcoming environment, I was surprised how friendly everybody is in the department.  It was easy to interact with staff, faculty, and students. Besides that, the department and labs are supportive and seem to really care about the welfare of their students. Overall, being at the U of R has been a refreshing experience! 

What advice would you give to prospective students looking to study in our department? 

Take your time to evaluate the program and labs, and make sure they fit your expectations and academic goals. Do your best in learning and being productive, take advantage of the opportunities and look for them, and finally, enjoy your time here. 

What’s the most important thing that you’ve learned working here and/or studying biology? 

Do not get stuck with a single idea or source of information, keep an open mind! In biology, there is usually an alternative explanation for a given pattern and getting to a definite general answer is not always possible (almost never!!). Even if your data meet your expectations, it doesn’t mean it is the unique possible answer. It is worth exploring new ideas and options, learning new things, meeting new people.