UCF Research Steals the Show

Indian River Lagoon Symposium - picThe spotlight was on UCF at the 2016 Indian River Lagoon Symposium (IRLS). On Feb. 11-12, the Indian River Lagoon and their sponsors held the Indian River Lagoon Symposium at the Johnson Education Center, FAU Harbor Branch, in Fort Pierce, Florida. This year’s theme was Indian River Lagoon: Linking Research with Management.

The goals of this symposium was to foster collaborations and discussions, promote participation of university students and new scientists, and increase public awareness of the Indian River Lagoon, its ecological and economic importance.

The College of Sciences, with collaborations from students and faculty in Interdisciplinary Studies and the College of Engineering, was well represented at the symposium with oral presentations from 2 undergraduate students and 2 faculty members and poster presentations from 8 undergraduate students and one graduate student. All students were mentored by Pegasus Professor Linda Walters, Ph.D., and Melinda Donnelly, Ph.D., as part of UCF Biology Coastal and Estuarine Ecology (CEE) Lab.

Dr. Donnelly, gave an oral presentation on her research about “Comparison of Abiotic and Biotic Factors between Restored, Natural, and Altered Shorelines in Mosquito Lagoon.” Dr. Walters presentation was an “Update on Oyster Research in Mosquito Lagoon”. Dr. Walters was also the session chair for the fourth oral session and is also part of the IRLS steering committee.

Lacie Anderson, is one of the two undergraduate students who gave an oral presentation. In collaboration with Brevard Zoo and Brevard County Natural Resources, her presentation focused on the success of the Brevard Zoo oyster gardening program, “From Gardens to Reefs: Methods for Reintroducing Eastern Oysters to Brevard County.”

Michelle Shaffer, the second undergraduate presenter, discussed “A Shell Midden’s Story: Investigating How Multiple Factors Affect the Lack of Rhizophora mangle (red mangrove) Propagule Recruitment at Stabilized Shorelines along Turtle Mound”.

Graduate student, Phyllis Klarman, also presented at the symposium. Her presentation, with sociology professor Sam Park, Ph.D., focused on a “Social Science Survey of Oyster Gardening Program Participants in Brevard County, Florida.”

Below are the 9 students who had poster presentations.

  • Steven A. Carrion – “Determining Factors that Influence Smooth Cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora Loisel) Transplant Success in Community-Based Living Shoreline Projects”
  • Suzanne Connor – “Natural Recruitment of the Red Mangrove: Sediment Type as a Limiting Factor in Root Structure Development”
  • Julie R. Deslauriers – “Preventing Introductions to Sustain Healthy Ecosystems: Establish Eradication Protocols for a Popular Aquarium Seaweed”
  • Paige Jaffe – “Does Plant Density Influence Growth of Spartina alterniflora and Rhizophora mangle? A Competition Study”
  • Kristin Kramer – “Wave Energy Distribution on Restored Shorelines versus Unrestored Shorelines”
  • Panayiota Makris – “A Murky Situation: Effects of Brown Tide Harmful Algal Blooms Caused by Aureoumbra lagunensis on the Eastern Oyster Crassostrea virginica”
  • Meagan Minadie – “Mangrove-Insect Interactions in Mosquito Lagoon”
  • Christian Pilato – “The Effects of Grain Size Distribution on Red Mangrove, Rhizophora mangle, Root Structure”
  • Frank Suarez – “Leafy Lunch: The Effects of Leaf Herbivory on Established Seedlings of the White Mangrove”

Dr. Walters believes UCF “…stole the show with our breadth of research topics combined with the depth of the data collection and analyses and, of course, the enthusiasm of our UCF group.”

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