Bio Students' Work Shines Again at Association Conference

by Bill Giduz
l-r Cakey Worthington Corinne McCullough
(l-r) Cakey Worthington '13 and Corinne McCullough '14.

Students of Professor of Biology Michael Dorcas kept the Davidson streak alive at this year's annual meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists.

"There has rarely been a year when we have not won a prize!" said Dorcas proudly. His research students have brought home honors from the meeting nearly every year since 1998 when he joined the faculty and began taking them to the conference.

Three of Dorcas's students were honored this year. Lauren Carter '15 and Margaret Stebbins '15 won the ASB Best Student Poster Award for "Upland Habitat Use of Spotted Salamanders in Mecklenburg County, N.C." Madeleine Kern '13 won the Aquatic Biology Research Award for "Factors Causing Deviation from Optimal Egg Size Theory in the Diamondback Terrapin." She also won an award at last year's meeting.

Other Davidson student winners at the conference were Cakey Worthington '13, Corinne McCullough '14, and Robert Spalding '13, who won the Elsie Quarterman-Catherine Keever Award for the "Effects of Surrounding Land Use Patterns and Floral Diversity on Insect Pollinator Abundance and Biodiversity." The students work in the Entomology Lab under the guidance of Professor of Biology Chris Paradise.

The work presented was a culmination of anywhere from a year's worth of research to a much longer period of time. Kern used data from thirty-year-old research for her project, whereas Stebbins and Carter initiated a new project this year which will likely become a long-term project. Kern's research is already submitted to the prestigious journal Evolutionary Biology and Stebbin's and Carter's research is being submitted to the journal Herpetological Conservation and Biology.

Dorcas takes between three and eight students to the four-day conference each year. It represents a rare opportunity for undergraduate students to view work by graduate students and professional biologists. They also can network with other biologists and hear a wide variety of talks about emerging areas of research.