1999 Graduate Laerm Award Winners

Two graduate proposals received support during the 1999 cycle. One of these was prepared by Anthony Fiumera, a doctoral student in Genetics studying with Dr. Marjorie Asmussen. Mr. Fiumera's proposal was titled" "Characterization of a Novel Feeding Strategy and Host Species Specificity in a Freshwater Leech. He observed this leech feeding on the eggs of the redhorse sucker of the genus Moxostoma while doing other research in North Carolina. Mr. Fiumera proposed to determine the identity of the leeches, observe if they prey on the eggs of other redhorse species, and conduct a preliminary investigation of spatial and temporal patterns of habitat use. Dr. Bud Freeman says that if these leeches are predators on redhorse sucker eggs this could be significant in the management of this genus. The funds requested supported travel to the field site and supplies.

The second graduate proposal funded during the 1999 cycle was submitted by Paula Johnson, a master's student in the Institute of Ecology studying with Dr. William Michener, advisor, and Dr. Mary Freeman, coadvisor. Ms. Johnson's title was "Multiple Scale Factors Influencing Mussel Community Composition in Tributary Streams of the Lower Flint Basin, Georgia." She examined freshwater mussels in the streams of southwest Georgia coordinated with current studies of the Appalachicola/Chattahoochee/Flint River Basin. The funds helped her complete her field agenda in the summer of 2000. This project, too, has the potential to make an important contribution to the management of aquatic populations in a region where they are under serious threat.

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