FAYETTE, Iowa (April 21, 2008)-Three Upper Iowa University environmental science students presented posters at the 120th annual meeting of the Iowa Academy of Science. The three were junior Alyse Eddy of Audubon and seniors Jeff Gard, Dubuque, and Hollis Weber, Anamosa.
The meeting was held earlier this month on the campus of Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids. Accompanying the three students was Dr. Katherine McCarville, UIU assistant professor of geosciences.
The Iowa Academy of Science was founded in 1876 to further scientific research, science education and public understanding of science. More than 90 papers and posters were submitted to the meeting. The UIU students presented materials based on their undergraduate thesis research.
"This was a great opportunity for our students to share their work and to show others the exciting undergraduate research conducted at Upper Iowa," said Dr. McCarville. "I really enjoy working with students on their projects. During the process, they realize that their scientific education and skills are needed in understanding and solving problems in the world today.
"Every science student chooses the topic and explores his or her own interests in a senior capstone project, working on an individual basis with a professor. The project work integrates what they have learned in classes, and often incorporates experiences from summer jobs and internships. The capstone helps students hone their professional skills and begin a portfolio that gives them an advantage in competing for employment and other opportunities."
Eddy's poster presentation focused on efforts started last summer during her internship with the St. Catherine's Island Sea Turtle Conservation Program in Georgia. By studying the tracks and traces left by nesting sea turtles as they move across the beach, her work will help show how the turtles are adapting to the deteriorating quality of their nesting habitat from sea level changes and other human and natural influences. Eddy plans to become a large-animal veterinarian.
Gard's work, which began during his summer job last year with the Kenai Watershed Forum in Alaska, looks at the effect of hydrocarbons, such as motor oil, gasoline and other fuels, on freshwater organisms and ecosystems. He tested hydrocarbon levels in the Volga River and Volga Lake and compared the results to the results of similar testing in Alaska. Gard is considering graduate school and plans to work in the environmental field.
Weber's research, which is related to work he did last summer with the Iowa DNR Beach Monitoring Team, involved extensive testing of bacteria levels in four creeks that enter Volga Lake. He conducted a watershed analysis to identify potential causes of high bacteria levels. Weber has been accepted to graduate school at the University of Wyoming, where he will pursue an advanced degree in Rangeland Ecology and Watershed Management.
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