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Aug. 2, 2005
Contact: Val H. Smith, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, (785) 864-4565.

10 REU undergraduates present research projects at KU symposium

LAWRENCE -- Ten undergraduates selected for the Research Experiences for Undergraduates 10-week program at the University of Kansas Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology presented their research Friday, July 29, at KU. Their projects, many focused on insects and plant life common to Kansas, cover a wide range of topics.

This marked the department's fifth annual REU symposium at KU, according to Val H. Smith, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and REU program director. The REU program is funded through the National Science Foundation.

The 10 participants were selected from colleges and universities nationwide and received a $3,500 stipend for living expenses, as well as reimbursement for their travel, and $300 to cover their research expenses while at KU.

The 10-week program provides hands-on experience with research in ecological and evolutionary disciplines. In addition to the symposium, in which the students give an oral presentation of their work, the REU program provides independent research experience with a faculty mentor; weekly seminars, research tours; social activities; and encouragement to attend national scientific meetings.

All students are also provided opportunities to take part in a professional development program sponsored by participating departments and by the Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellowship. Two REU students also received competitive $500 REU awards from the Self Graduate Fellowship program: Marisa Hamed of the College of William and Mary and Katie Holzer of Lewis and Clark College.

REU students are listed by their college or university with their KU mentors and their research titles:

Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio
Jessica Bethke; Val Smith, professor and mentor; "Effect of food restriction on disease susceptibility in the zebrafish Danio rerio"

Eastern Illinois University, Charleston
Craig Feigenbaum; Michael Greenfield, professor and mentor; "Anti-predatory and mating behavior in different genetic lines of the Lesser Wax Moth, Achroia grisella"

College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Va.
Marissa Hamed; Joy Ward, assistant professor and mentor; "Physiological mechanisms controlling plant development at elevated CO2"; won REU award from KU's Self Graduate Fellowship program.

Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn.
Natalie Hanson; Jim Thorp, professor and senior scientist with the Kansas Biological Survey and mentor; 'Isotopic analysis of the Kansas River food web"

Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Ore.
Katie Holzer; Rudolph Jander, professor and mentor; "Conditional logical reasoning in foraging honey bees"; won REU award from KU's Self Graduate Fellowship program.

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Kane Keller; Bryan Foster, assistant professor and mentor; "Effects of propagule availability and local-scale interactions on community processes and ecosystem functions in a successional grassland"

Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass.
Emma Sage; Joy Ward, assistant professor and mentor; "Population-level responses of White Ash to inter-annual climate variation within a common garden in Kansas"

University of Texas-Austin
Audrey Stewart; Jennifer Gleason, assistant professor and mentor; "Novel patterns of courtship song in the Drosophila saltans group imply strong selection for behavioral differentiation among species"

University of Colorado, Boulder
Lisa Tiemann; Sharon Billings, assistant professor, mentor; "Nitrogen cycling and land management practices in the American Midwest"

University of Maryland-College Park
Elizabeth Yanik; Val Smith, professor and mentor; "Effect of diet on susceptibility of Culex mosquitoes to Beauvaria bassiana infection"

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