Five graduate students won awards for research and knowledge at the annual Texas Society of Mammalogists meeting.
Texas Tech University research students from the Natural Science Research Laboratory (NSRL) took home five awards at the annual Texas Society of Mammalogists (TSM) meeting held Feb. 10-12 at the Texas Tech Center at Junction.
Researchers from 18 other colleges and universities, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, RTL Genomics and Texas Parks and Wildlife presented work at the meeting.
"Our students were awesome," said Robert Bradley, associate chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences and director of the NSRL. "The showing illustrates the importance of the NSRL research to Texas Tech."
The Texas Tech Center at Junction has hosted all of the society's annual meetings. Now in its 35th year, the event allows students to earn recognition for excellence in research and presentation. TSM includes more than 150 members from 39 institutions in seven states, including Texas Tech and Angelo State University.
Five awards for oral presentations and four awards for poster presentations are given at the meeting and each include a cash award – $500 for the Robert L. Packard Award for Best Overall Presentation and $400 for all others.
Texas Tech graduate students won four of the presentation awards in addition to winning the on-site competition:
- The top honor was taken by Jennifer Korstian, a biological sciences graduate student from Benbrook, who received the Robert L. Packard Award. Her paper, "Mercury Contamination in Bats from the Central United States," focuses on research of mercury concentrations among 10 species of bats collected at wind farms in the central U.S.
- John Stuhler, a graduate student in the Department of Natural Resources Management from Madison, Wisconsin, received the William B. Davis Award for best oral presentation in classical mammalogy at the organism level by a graduate student. His paper, "Understanding Past, Present and Future Dynamics of Rare Species: Modeling Distribution of the Kangaroo Rat," focuses on the rat that is found in Oklahoma and north central Texas and is being considered for placement on threatened/endangered lists.
- The TSM Award for best oral presentation in mammalian molecular biology, evolution and systematics by a graduate student went to Laramie Lindsey, a biological sciences graduate student from San Angelo. Her paper, "The Lineage Diversification of Peromyscus: Evidence From a Transcriptomic Dataset," discusses research of more than 70 species of deer mice and the way those species came into existence.
- Oscar Sandate, a biological sciences graduate student from El Paso, received a Clyde Jones Award for best poster presentation in mammalian molecular biology, evolution and systematics. His poster, "Gut Microbe Analysis During Pregnancy in Tadarida Brasiliensis," details research of the beneficial functions of digestive tract bacteria in the Mexican free-tailed bat during pregnancy and lactation.
- Jack Francis, a biological sciences graduate student from Dublin, Texas, won the on-site Mammal Challenge for demonstrating his knowledge of mammals.