April 2018

Two BSC Faculty Relocating

    Longtime BSC faculty member Dr. Frank Gilliam is moving to Florida to join his wife Laura, who accepted an executive position there with the United Way. Dr. Gilliam arrived at Marshall in 1990, and his career here has been productive, including publications in more than 30 journals, and authoring the textbook Terrestrial Plant Ecology. We wish both Gilliams the best in their sunny new home!

    BSC plant systematist Dr. Emily Gillespie has accepted a new position at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dr. Gillespie has had a very active lab at Marshall, full of students who were sometimes surprised at how much they ended up enjoying plant-based research! Best of luck to Dr. Gillespie in her new position.

Research in Progress: MS Candidate Mitchell Kriege

    Mitchell Kriege grew up in Erlanger, KY, near Cincinnati, OH. An "outdoorsy" person, Mitchell was interested in fisheries in high school, although he was unaware of the careers available or how to find fisheries jobs. At Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, KY, he studied environmental sciences with a concentration in ecology, and was a sprinter on the track and field team. While a sophomore, his advisor, Dr. Chris Lorentz, invited him to be a summer intern at Thomas More's biology field station. They performed fisheries research around the Zimmer power plant to monitor its effects on the Ohio River. While at the field station, Mitchell became interested in freshwater mussels. The following summer he interned with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, assisting trout fisheries biologists restoring Westlope Cutthroat trout in high elevation streams of the Big Hole valley. There, he shocked invasive brook trout, cared for trout egg incubators, performed netting surveys for endangered lake trout, and surveyed for threatened Western Pearlshell mussels. Before his 2016 graduation, he worked part time organizing the fish voucher collections of the Ohio River Sanitation Commission (Orsanco), which monitors the health of the river by sampling fish. While there, Mitchell made contact with Dr. Tom Jones, and became Dr. Jones' graduate student in Fall 2016, pursuing his goal of studying the ecology of freshwater mussels.

    For Mitchell's thesis, he used his SCUBA training to sample freshwater mussel populations in the Greenup pool of the Ohio River. The primary objective was to define the mussel fauna of the entire pool. A second goal was to identify specific areas within the pool that harbor endangered species such as the Sheepnose mussel. A final goal was to draw spatial comparisons between freshwater mussel communities and fish populations. To reproduce, mussels must parasitize a fish with their juveniles, and many mussel species are specialists that rely on one fish host species. Mitchell hoped to show that fish and mussels share the same habitat, so sampling for fish (which is easier) could predict the locations of mussel communities. They collected 3,747 mussels from 23 species, including 9 federally endangered Sheepnose mussels; they also used Orsanco fish data from 2016 that included 2,007 individuals from 48 species. Surprisingly, the fish were generally not in the same locations as the mussels, and fish were poor predictors of freshwater mussel populations.

    Mitchell graduates in May, and begins work for Environmental Solutions and Innovations (ESI), an environmental consulting company in Cincinnati, OH. To protect endangered species, construction projects must provide surveys and relocations; ESI primarily accommodates commercial survey requirements for bats and freshwater mussels. Mitchell is excited to complete his thesis and begin his career in the private sector, and we wish him the best!

Research-based Tuition Assistance Available for BSC Undergraduates

    The Department has a small number of research-based tuition assistance awards available to undergraduate BSC majors for the Fall semester. Applicants must be working on Independent Study or Capstone research; awards are based on an evaluation of the research plan and other materials. To apply, you and the faculty member whose lab you're working in will cooperate to fill out the application form, which is available online. If you have questions about the waivers, contact Vickie Crager at crager@marshall.edu or in S-350. The application deadline is August 31, 2018.

Congratulations to Former BSC Majors Who Are New MDs

    The Department is pleased to congratulate the following former BSC majors who will graduate in May with MDs from the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University: Joseph Barbera, Aubrey Fleming, Rachael Hager, Lawrence Harbrecht, Forest Lefevre, Brittani Lowe, Adam Shaver, Kathryn Thornton, Lauren Burley Tufts, Christian Warner, and Caleb Webb.

    We wish you each a successful and happy career!

Do You Plan to Graduate This Summer?

    Marshall has two summer graduation dates. You mustmortarboard apply for July 6 graduation by June 8, and for August 10 graduation by July 13. To do so, first log on to MyMU. Expand the "Services" menu at the left, then choose "Marshall Information Liaison Online (MILO)," then "Student Records," then "Apply to Graduate." A $50 diploma fee is required, and can be paid online at the time of application, or in person at the Bursar's office. Paper applications are available in the College office, S-270.

Brag Box An abbreviated list of recent BSC student and faculty accomplishments:

    Dr. Frank Gilliam's latest publication is based on sampling that began a quarter century ago at the Fernow Experimental Forest, in Tucker County, WV: Gilliam FS, CA Walter, MB Adams, and WT Peterjohn. 2018. Nitrogen (N) dynamics in the mineral soil of a Central Appalachian hardwood forest during a quarter century of whole-watershed N additions. Ecosystems 21:in press.

To our May graduates: Congratulations, stay in touch, and enjoy your next adventures!

Selected BSC Contact Information

Dr. David Mallory, BSC Chair S-350 (304) 696-2353 mallory@marshall.edu
BSC Graduate Program Information   (304) 696-2427 biograduate@marshall.edu
BSC office, forms, and applications S-350 (304) 696-5413 crager@marshall.edu
Susan Weinstein, BSC News S-204 (304) 696-2428 weinstei@marshall.edu

 

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Download pdfs of this or any past issue of the Biological Sciences Newsletter by clicking on the archive links to the right below.