Entomology Students’ Research Receives Top Awards during Spring Competitions

Carl Hjelmen with award

Carl Hjelmen with his award during the Ecological Integration Symposium awards presentation. Photo by Rob Williams.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Spring 2015 has turned out to be a good semester for the Department of Entomology’s undergraduate and graduate students as they received high recognitions during two research competitions in late March.

The first set of students received high marks during the student research competition at the 16th annual Ecological Integration Symposium held at Rudder Tower on Thursday.

During the event, Ph.D. student Carl Hjelmen received the first place award in the Graduate Student Presentations category for his presentation titled “Size DOES Matter: Finding phylogenetic signal in Drosophila genome size” while Ph.D. student Liz Walsh received second place for her talk titled “The Effects of In-Hive Miticides on Queen (Apis mellifera) Retinue Response and Mandibular Glands”

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Alexandria Payne stands beside her poster during the Student Research poster session. Photo by Rob Williams.

Both were recognized during a special awards presentation Thursday. Hjelmen is advised by Dr. Spencer Johnston and Walsh is advised by Dr. Juliana Rangel.

Two undergraduates and four graduate students also were honored during the university’s annual Student Research Week from March 24-26. The students were among several hundred that either displayed posters or presented orally their research projects in front of their peers during the weeklong competition.

Zachary Dell stands with his poster at Student Research Week. Photo by Dr. Pete Teel.

Zachary Dell stands with his poster at Student Research Week. Photo by Dr. Pete Teel.

Senior Forensic and Investigative Sciences major Zachary Dell received second place in the Astronomy, Chemistry, Physics and Material Sciences Category for his poster titled “Application of Near-Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy to Estimate Post-Mortem Interval”. In the Biology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics section, Ph.D. student Derek Woller and co-author Dr. Hojun Song received first place for the poster titled “Unraveling phallic complexities in scrub-lovin’ grasshoppers: Does Shape Matter? (Acrididae: Melanoplus: The Puer Group).”

In the Plant Sciences, Animal Sciences, Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Entomology, Agriculture and Ecological Restoration category, undergraduate Entomology major Alexandria Payne received first place for her poster titled “The interconnectivity of Tawny crazy ant (Nylanderia fulva) nests in relation to population density”.

James Tracy speaking about his poster during the Ecological Integration Symposium. Photo by Rob Williams

James Tracy speaking about his poster during the Ecological Integration Symposium. Photo by Rob Williams

Ph.D. student James Tracy received the graduate student award for his poster titled “Distinguishing Riparian Tamarisk/Willow and Mesquite Habitats of Endangered Bird Species with High Resolution Multispectral Imagery”. Tracy is co-advised by Drs. Robert Coulson and Allen Knutson.

Ph.D. students Carl Hjelmen and Chin Heo also were tied for first place in the Oral Presentation section of the Plant Sciences, Animal Sciences, Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Entomology, Agriculture and Ecological Restoration category. Heo’s presentation was titled “Ecosystem Resilience of Microbial Functions on Carrion with Delayed Diptera Colonization.”

Derek Woller. Photo by Rob Williams

Derek Woller. Photo by Rob Williams

Woller, Heo and Hjelmen were also named graduate nominees for the Vice President for Research Excellence in Research Award. This award is given to both graduates and undergraduates that excel in their research during the competition. The winner of the award will be announced at a later time this year.

Woller is advised by Dr. Hojun Song and Heo is advised by Dr. Jeffery Tomberlin.

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