Coffee Conversations – Bridgette Froeschke

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On April 4th, Dr. Bridgette Froeschke, Assistant Professor of Biology, led a Coffee Conversation on the questions “Who does water belong to? Should water be privatized?” The conversation covered a lot of topics relating to water, from the quality of bottled water versus tap water to who should own water rights and how water consumption and regulation (or lack thereof) affect environmental quality.

Conferences – Laura Hearst & Dr. Abraham Miller

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Working with Dr. Abraham Miller, Honors student Laura Hearst recently combined a trip to California to attend the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Conference with a visit to the California Academy of Sciences to examine some scorpion specimens. The pictures above show Laura and Dr. Miller examining the scorpions. The research is part of her Honors Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

Honors Courses – BIOH124

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BIOH124 is a non-majors Honors Biology course that is being taught as an intro to human genetics. The professor, Dr. Sarah Cuccinello, developed a karyotyping activity that is unique to the Honors version of the course. The photos above show the students engaged in this activity. There are also some pictures of them using micropipettes for the first time. The micropipette practice is preparation for some genetics experiments they will be conducting in a couple of weeks.

Making News – Ally Marter

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UT Honors student and Marine Science major, Ally Marter, was recently highlighted on the UT home page for her work this summer with SeaTrek. Marter was the lead biologist for a group of 150 high school students who lived on boats and spent their time scuba diving, sailing, hiking, and studying marine science.

Conferences – Caitlin Nordheim

Caitlin Nordheim at the Ecological Society of America's Annual Meeting
Caitlin Nordheim at the Ecological Society of America’s Annual Meeting

This summer I had the incredible opportunity to present my research on the morphology of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a highly contagious pathogenic fungus that is causing mass amphibian decline worldwide, at the Ecological Society of America’s Annual Meeting in Portland, OR. I was able to attend thanks to funding from UT’s Honors Program. Through various poster presentations, oral sessions, and symposia, I was exposed to a broad variety of current ecological research. In between the organized talks, I got to meet scientists from all over the country and was able to inquire about their research methods, backgrounds, and ask for advice for the future. While I have presented my research at a regional undergraduate conference in the past, it was a very different experience at the national level. While presenting my poster, I got to network and brainstorm with established scientists about future work and potential collaboration. Overall, the Ecological Society of America’s Annual Meeting helped me to better prepare for my future science career.

Honors Symposia – Heather Masonjones and Emily Rose

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Dr. Heather Masonjones and Dr. Emily Rose launched the Spring 2017 Honors Program Symposium series with a fascinating presentation on their work on seahorses in the Bahamas.  Their work has been focused on a pond called Sweetings on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera, where the density of seahorses is far above that found in the ocean more generally.  The presentation noted that the seahorses in Sweetings Pond, based on DNA evidence, have not become a unique species yet, but may be headed down that path due to their isolation from the ocean.