Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Grant dollars support student travel, presentation at Society for Freshwater Science

Grant dollars support student travel, presentation at Society for Freshwater Science

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Two representatives of Lycoming College Clean Water Institute (CWI) recently traveled to the Society for Freshwater Science (SFS) annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, to present research and hear about the state of the science in freshwater ecology. The Society for Freshwater Science (SFS) is an international scientific organization that promotes further understanding of freshwater ecosystems and ecosystems at the interface between aquatic and terrestrial habitats. This year’s conference carried the theme of translation ecology in freshwater science.

Ruric Bowman ’20, biology major and chemistry minor (Benton, Pa.), was awarded a competitive $500 travel grant by SFS to support his attendance at the meeting. Bowman presented a poster on his research examining activity patterns of stoneflies titled “Vertical migration of adult Plecoptera (Stoneflies) above forested headwater streams.” This research was funded by Lycoming College and the Washington Biologist’s Field Club. While she was unable to attend the meeting too, biology major and environmental science and art minor Brittany Lenze ’19 (St. Marys, Pa.) contributed to this work as an undergraduate collaborator. Lenze was accepted into Cornell University for graduate studies in horticulture.

“Students like Ruric make teaching at Lycoming so enjoyable. He is dedicated to research and loves science. Taking Ruric to the conference was a watershed moment for me: Several researchers from large universities commented on how well he presented his research and how impressed they were with the study system,” said Bob Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of Biology, CWI research associate, and Bowman’s faculty mentor. “I enjoyed watching Ruric learn what it’s like to interact with an international research body and, by seeing the other presentations, the level of ecological research he hopes to do as a graduate student. I am excited to help more students participate in the conference in the future.”

“The conference provided me the opportunity to gain valuable insight into current research that is tackling problems impacting the world, such as climate change. Some of the research I learned about has given me new ideas for future projects. I met fantastic students and made great connections with leaders in the field of freshwater science,” said Bowman. “In the future, I plan to attend a graduate program that will allow me to develop techniques to counteract climate change in a marine environment. This conference has allowed me to understand what it is like to perform graduate research and learn important strategies for conducting independent research.”

Smith also gave an oral presentation at the conference on research examining a stream restoration project in Lancaster County, Pa., entitled “Assessing macroinvertebrate community response to restoration of Big Spring Run: expanded analysis of BACI sampling designs.” This was a collaborative project with John Wallace, Ph.D., professor at Millersville University; Emily Neideigh, watershed program specialist at York County Conservation District; and Alex Rittle, doctoral student at University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

The CWI enables Lycoming College students to gain hands-on experience in aquatic ecology, conservation, and sustainability. Student experiences with the CWI include learning practical skills for field and lab work, performing research, providing extension services for local organizations, and educating local populations about natural resource conservation and sustainability.