Student Research Honored at Alaska Conference

Student Research Honored at Alaska Conference

July 02, 2015

Two Susquehanna University students presented research at the 52nd Annual Conference of the Animal Behavior Society in Anchorage, Ala., with one walking away with an award.

Hailey Shannon, a rising sophomore from Acme, Pa., was awarded the Animal Behavior Society Genesis Award for the best undergraduate research poster at the meeting, which had more than 600 participants from 20 countries. Shannon competed against approximately 26 undergraduate posters in the Genesis Award competition.

Her research presentation was titled The effects of Prenatal Predator Cue Exposure on Offspring Substrate Preferences in Wolf Spiders. Her project examined the effect of maternal exposure to predator odor cues on offspring behavior after being exposed to the same cues that their mother was exposed to earlier.

Also presenting at the conference was rising senior Derek Wilson, of Selinsgrove. Wilson presented a poster titled Sibling Cannibalism in Wolf Spiders: A Maladaptive Side-Effect of Selection for Voracity?

Both biology majors are currently conducting research with biology professor Matthew Persons on the accumulation and biomagnification of mercury among riparian spiders as part of Susquehanna's Freshwater Research Initiative, which is supported by a $2.5 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

"Research presentations and attending scientific conferences are important for a student's education because it allows them to put a face on the science-experience the culture and community of it," Persons said. "I think after attending these meetings they begin to experience science as a larger collaborative enterprise. They get great networking opportunities for graduate school and begin to see themselves as a part of a larger academic guild of which they are research colleagues rather than just assistants."

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