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Kirsten Bosnak
Kansas Biological Survey
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Ten students receive KU Field Station Student Research Awards for 2019

Tue, 04/16/2019

LAWRENCE — Students will fan out across the University of Kansas Field Station this summer, carrying out experiments for their own ecological research. Their work covers subjects such as prairie restoration, prescribed fire monitoring, soil structure and harmful algal blooms. Each year, the Kansas Biological Survey provides annual awards to help cover costs associated with these projects.

The Biological Survey, a KU designated research center, manages the KU Field Station. It has presented 10 students with the 2019 KU Field Station Student Research Awards.

“The KU Field Station awards committee received an excellent group of proposals this year, and we were very pleased to fund the research of 10 students — more than in any previous year,” said Bryan Foster, KU Field Station director. Foster is a KU professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and a senior scientist at the Biological Survey.

Jacob Hopkins, Kokomo, Indiana, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology, received a $1,000 award through the Mari F. Pesek Graduate Research Award, which honors the memory of a KU graduate student. The award will provide support for his project titled “Fungal community structure and enzymatic profiles are shaped by soil horizon and land management in a tallgrass prairie.” His adviser is Ben Sikes, associate professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and associate scientist at the Biological Survey.

Saket Gowravaram, doctoral student in aerospace engineering from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, was awarded $500 through the Baldwin Woods Conservation Award for his project titled “Prescribed fire monitoring over Anderson County and Baldwin Woods Preserve Using KHawk UAS: Sensing of fire line propagation & vegetation change.” His adviser is Haiyang Chao, assistant professor of aerospace engineering.

The other eight KU Field Station Student Awards recipients:

Jasmin Albert, Overland Park junior in ecology, evolution & organismal biology and environmental studies, was awarded $500 for her project titled “Investigating sphingid moth pollination patterns across the United States.” Her adviser is Jamie Walters, assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology.

Naomi Betson, Nashville, Indiana, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology, was awarded $500 for her project titled “Long-term effects of spatially aggregated seeding on plant coexistence and prairie restoration.” Her adviser is Bryan Foster, KU professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and senior scientist at the Biological Survey.

Haley Burrill, Irvine, California, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology, was awarded $500 for her project titled “How fungal pathogens shape prairie plant diversity.” Her advisor is Jim Bever, KU Foundation Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and senior scientist at the Biological Survey.

Camille Delavaux, Pittstown, New Jersey, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology, was awarded $500 for her project titled “Evolution of mycorrhizal induced resistance from remnant to old field grasslands.” Her adviser is Jim Bever, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and senior scientist at the Biological Survey.

Janaye Hanschu, graduate student in ecology & evolutionary biology from McPherson, was awarded $500 for her project titled “Nitrogen form and/or ratios could have major effects on harmful algal blooms.” Her adviser is Amy Burgin, associate professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and associate scientist at the Biological Survey.

Laura Podzikowski, Ferndale/Detroit, Michigan, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology, was awarded $500 for her project titled “Does temporal resource partitioning through differing plant phenology predict over-yielding in diverse prairies?” Her adviser is Jim Bever, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and senior scientist at the Biological Survey.

Ligia Souza, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology, from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, was awarded $400 for her project titled “An underappreciated feature of soil feedbacks to climate change: Responses of soil organic carbon to climate-driven shifts in pH.” Her adviser is Sharon Billings, Dean’s Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and senior scientist at the Biological Survey.

Evan Cortez, Olathe, junior in environmental studies, was awarded $300 for his project titled “A maker’s solution to a research hurdle.” His adviser is Terry Loecke, assistant professor in the Environmental Studies Program and an assistant scientist at the Biological Survey.

Each of the KU Field Station Student Research Awards is funded through KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU.

The Kansas Biological Survey was established at KU in 1911. It houses a diverse group of environmental research and remote sensing/GIS programs. The survey also manages the 3,700-acre KU Field Station, established in 1947; it offers sites for faculty and student study in the sciences, arts and humanities.

Photo: Jacob Hopkins, doctoral student.



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