• Home
  • Eight students receive KU Field Station Student Research Awards for 2018

Eight students receive KU Field Station Student Research Awards for 2018

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

LAWRENCE — To answer questions about the effects of land use upon ecosystems — including soils, plants and microbial life — scientists must spend time not only in the laboratory but in the field. Field research experiences begin at the undergraduate level, and at KU, the Kansas Biological Survey provides annual awards to help cover costs associated with students’ summer field projects.

The Biological Survey, a KU research center, manages the KU Field Station. It has presented eight students with its 2018 KU Field Station Student Research Awards. The awards program offers assistance for research at the Field Station.

The Biological Survey provided awards in two categories this year. The first, the Mari F. Pesek Graduate Research Award, assists a graduate student who will do research at the Field Station. The “Mari Award” is named for a KU student who spent many hours at the Field Station’s prairie research plots studying plants and insects. In 2013, she died in an automobile accident shortly after graduating with a master’s degree in ecology & evolutionary biology.

Emma Hauser, Athens, Ohio, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology, received a $1,000 award through the fund named for Pesek. The award will provide support for her project titled “The economics of plant nutrition: Variation in carbon allocation with depth and land use.” Her adviser is Sharon Billings, professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and a senior scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey.

Seven other students received KU Field Station Student Awards, which assist both graduate and undergraduate students carrying out field research at the Field Station:

Ligia Souza, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology, from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, was awarded $700 for her project titled “Phosphatase activity in soils as a biogeochemical indicator of past land use.” Her adviser is Sharon Billings, professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and a senior scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey.

James Coll, doctoral student in geography & atmospheric science from Andover, New Hampshire, was awarded $500 for his project titled “Mapping terrain: The effects of resolution.” His adviser is Xingong Li, professor of geography & atmospheric science.

Soudeh Ghasemian, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology from Mashhad, Iran, was awarded $500 for her research of tree-rings to determine how trees have responded to different environmental and anthropogenic changes across centuries. Her adviser is Sharon Billings, professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and a senior scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey.

Theo Michaels, Santa Rosa, California, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology, was awarded $500 for her project titled “Living on the edge: Soil ecosystem edge interactions between prairie patches and land use matrices.” Her advisers are Jim Bever, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and a senior scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey; and Ben Sikes, assistant professor of microbial biology and an assistant scientist at the survey.

Morgan Okeson, graduate student in geography & atmospheric science from Omaha, Nebraska, was awarded $500 for her project titled “Elucidating the control of hillslope hydrologic connectivity on mineral weathering in soils exhibiting shrink-swell properties.” Her adviser is Pam Sullivan, assistant professor of geography & atmospheric science.

Rena Stair, senior in molecular, cellular & developmental biology from Chanute, was awarded $500 for her project titled “Changes in nutrient acquisition strategies by trees and microbes through a soil profile.” Her adviser is Sharon Billings, professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and a senior scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey.

Thomas Johnson, senior from Lenexa double-majoring in ecology, evolution & organismal biology, and German studies, was awarded $300 for his project titled “Testing for conserved sequences on the Lepidopteran sex-determining W chromosome.” His adviser is Jamie Walters, assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology.

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: Emma Hauser, Athens, Ohio, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology and winner of the Mari F. Pesek Graduate Research Award.


Graduation Recognition Ceremony
Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science Events
Twitter
Don't forget that we have a special colloquium today, Thursday, at 2:30 pm with Dr. Colin Gleason, UMass Amherst Ci… https://t.co/94qRIHj8Rv
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
KU Today