I am currently a sophomore undergraduate Mechanical Engineering major at a mid-sized public university. I know that I really do enjoy research, I love learning, and I love teaching. I am all-but-certain that graduate school is where I want to go after graduation, and so I have been working to gain research experience.
At the end of my freshman year, I began working with my advisor ("Prof A") on non-research-focused design projects (i.e. not the sort of thing that would lead to a publication), as a way to get some experience working under an advisor and to "get my foot in the door". He was highly impressed by my work (specifically the effort and time I put into the work) and gave me more opportunities at the beginning of this school year (fall 2014) to do more work with him on some research-focused projects.
As this year has progressed, Prof A has given me more and more support and has continued to help me gain funding for my own projects, and is the primary reason that I have excelled up to this point. He has certainly become someone who I would consider to be my mentor in many ways.
Despite all of the great opportunities I have received so far, I want to expand my horizons from the narrow topics I have worked on so far in research. Recently, I asked a different professor ("Prof B") to work on his research team, and he offered me a position. I immediately accepted, knowing that his research is something in which I'm highly interested, and something that I could certainly see myself researching in graduate school. I do not plan on letting this new project with Prof B in any way interfere with the work I am doing with Prof A; I simply plan to work on both concurrently. It should be noted that Prof B was fully aware of my work in Prof A's lab, and this played a role in his eagerness to have me on his research team.
When I mentioned my new research position to Prof A, he seemed disappointed in his demeanor (although nothing he said was necessarily disapproving), as though my working in another lab were not appropriate. I had thought that this should be no problem, especially coming from the standpoint that he is not my advisor in the way that a Ph.D. student has an advisor, so there is no obligation, per se, to consult him before taking on new work.
Was I wrong in not going to Prof A for advisement about this new opportunity, considering all he has done for me? Or was I correct that I have the right to go and find other opportunities if I wish?
As a broader question for the future, does the same etiquette apply in graduate school (master's and doctoral)? Or should actions be different in the two different situations?