2013 Graduate Laerm Award Winners
One of the two recipients of the 2013-2014 Joshua Laerm Academic Support Award for Graduate Students is Amanda Holland. Amanda conducts her master?s research under the direction of Dr. James C. Beasley, Savannah River Ecology Lab, and Dr. Robert Warren, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. She is interested in molecular sex-determination of black vultures (Coragyps atratus) and turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) in order to compare seasonal movement rates, home range sizes, and resource use of male and female vultures at the Savannah River Site, Aiken, South Carolina. These are understudied species despite black vultures being ranked the second and turkey vultures ranked the fourth most hazardous species to civil aircraft in the US. Laerm funds will be used to cover the costs of DNA laboratory supplies.
The other recipient of the 2013-2014 Joshua Laerm Academic Support Award for Graduate Students is Sean Sterrett. Sean conducts his doctoral research under the direction of Dr. John Maerz, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. His research focuses on the contributions of freshwater turtles in energy and nutrient dynamics (ecosystem services). The unique skeletal structure of turtles and their long lifespan may contribute to their role in altering the availability and recycling of freshwater nutrients, but this aspect of turtles is poorly studied. Sean plans to use the Laerm funds to visit museums including the Smithsonian Institution and the Florida Museum of Natural, to measure the skeletal mass of turtle specimens curated in the osteological collections at these institutions.