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Symposium spotlights breadth of graduate research

The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences recently held its annual Graduate Research Symposium in conjunction with a seminar given by Dr. R. Quinn Thomas of Virginia Tech titled, Ecological Forecasting: Anticipating the Future of Forests and Freshwaters.

Thomas, an associate professor in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech, lectured on the exploration of the emerging field of ecological forecasting using two examples: 1) forecasts of loblolly pine productivity across the Southeastern U.S. based a model constrained by decades of forestry research and, 2) forecasts of water quality in a drinking water reservoir based on real-time integration with sensor networks.

The Graduate Research Symposium and Reception, which highlights the diversity of the school’s research program, followed the seminar in the conference hall where students presented and discussed their research posters with attendees and faculty judges.

The students were judged based on overall presentation of the material for a general audience, research methodology, accuracy of conclusions relative to research results, professionalism in the appearance of the poster and behavior of the presenter. Associate Dean of Research Graeme Lockaby and retired Alumni Professor Art Chappelka served as judges.

Lockaby was very impressed with the students’ presentations.

“We are very proud of the quality of our graduate students and feel that they are our best representatives for communicating the breadth of SFWS research to the rest of campus and beyond,” said Lockaby.

“Personally, I am in awe of their creativity and hope that everyone from outside the school enjoyed the presentations and now has a better understanding of the many topics touched on by SFWS research.”

Winners were:

1st place: Hannah Leeper, Cub Survival, Den Habitat, and Juvenile Dispersal of Black Bear (Ursus Americanus) in Alabama

2nd place: Celeste Iglesias, The effect of chemical composition on the properties of cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) suspensions from raw materials

3rd place tie:

Mariah McGinnis, Effects of Early Growing Season Prescribed Fire on Wild Turkeys in the Talledega National Forest

Dylan Stewart, Balancing Wildlife Habitat and Timber Production in Loblolly Pine Stands: the role of thinning, fire, and herbicide

Morgan Morehart, Spatiotemporal impacts of red-imported fire ant control on small mammals in the Southeast

(Written by Avanelle Elmore)

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