Three faculty members and six undergraduate researchers from the Department of Biology represented Elon University at the N.C. Academy of Science conference at the University of North Carolina Wilmington on March 22-23, 2019.
Three faculty members and six undergraduate researchers from the Department of Biology represented Elon University at the N.C. Academy of Science conference at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington on March 22-23, 2019.
Student researchers included Emma Ebright ‘20, Alina Iwan ‘19, Nicole Marici ‘20, Davis McGuirt ‘20, Sydney Solomon ‘19 and Connor Whiffen ‘19. Faculty attendees were Assistant Professor Mona De Vries, Assistant Professor Jen Hamel and Professor Mike Kingston.
In addition to attending the interdisciplinary poster session and research talks in environmental science, ecology, and zoology, Elon students and faculty also presented their own work.
Whiffen presented a poster, “Control of copulation duration in the squash bug, Anasa tristis.” Whiffen examined the behaviors associated with initiating and ending copulations in an insect species that is an agricultural pest and which is hybridizing with a second pest species in north Florida. His work suggests that males initiate copulations, that females can reject copulations, but do not do so when multiple males are in the vicinity, and that males likely control the durations of matings. Whiffen was awarded first place among posters in Ecology, Zoology, Botany, and Earth Science in the John Bowley Derieux Research Awards.
Solomon gave an oral presentation, “The impact of adult diet on the reproductive development of two hybridizing species of insect.” Solomon showed that diet strongly affects female reproductive development for one of two hybridizing insect species, suggesting that the availability of resources may influence the timing and likelihood of hybridization. Solomon was awarded first place among oral presentations in Ecology, Botany, and Zoology in the John Bowley Derieux Research Awards.
Iwan gave an oral presentation, “Studying the functions and contexts of vibrational communication in Neotropical katydids.” Iwan's talk included data that she, co-authors Ciara Kernan, Amber Litterer, and Hannah ter Hofstede of Dartmouth College, and mentor Hamel collected during Winter Terms 2018 and 2019 at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute at Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Iwan's findings characterize the parameters of insect vibrational signals and describe ways in which such signals are used by one focal species in the field. Iwan was awarded second place among oral presentations in Ecology, Botany, and Zoology in the John Bowley Derieux Research Awards.
Kingston gave an oral presentation, "Predator mediated establishment of the exotic tunicate Clavelina oblonga in Beaufort, NC". Kingston's talk included data collected by his students at the Duke Marine Lab during the summers of 2015 through 2018, and showed that the abundance of a recently introduced species of marine animal is strongly affected by fish predators.
Iwan, Solomon and Whiffen are mentored by Hamel. Solomon and Iwan conducted their research as part of SURE in Summer 2018, and Iwan is an Elon College Fellow.