2012 Undergraduate Laerm Award Winners

2012 Undergraduate Laerm Winner
2012 Undergraduate Laerm Winner

One of the recipients of the 2012-13 Joshua Laerm Academic Support Award for Undergraduate Students is Lauren Austin, a senior in Fisheries and Wildlife. Lauren was nominated by Dr. Vanessa Ezenwa, Odum School of Ecology. Her research focuses on parasitism in African buffalo in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Using parasitic worms collected from the intestines of these buffalo, she will examine competition among these organisms; specifically how the number of GI helminth parasites within each individual host affects the body size of individual worms. She will consider whether worm body size is the result of interspecific or intraspecific competition. Competition is linked to parasite fecundity and, ultimately, to the disease ecology of African buffalo. Funds will be used to purchase supplies need to identify, measure, and preserve the worms for her senior honors thesis.

The other recipient of the 2012-13 Joshua Laerm Academic Support Award for Undergraduate Students is Katherine Partrick, a junior in Animal Ecology and Population Biology. Katherine was nominated by Dr. Laurie Reitsema, Department of Anthropology. Her study investigates the influence of social status on weaning age in captive female rhesus macaques and their infants at the Yerkes Primate Research Center. Katherine will examine cortisol assays from blood samples and stable isotope signatures in blood and breast milk to study the influence of social rank on weaning age. She expects that high-ranking mothers will wean their infants earlier than low-ranking ones. Data will be assessed for evidence of links among stress, weaning age, infant development and socialization , maternal social status, and reproductive success for her senior honors thesis. Funds will be used to support stable carbon and nitrogen analysis collected for this study.

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