Fourteen UNE student researchers present at New England Estuarine Research Society Conference

May 08, 2014

Ten undergraduate researchers and four graduate students participated in the New England Estuarine Research Society (NEERS) conference, held May 1-3, 2014, in Salem, Massachusetts.  The conference focuses on the science and management of tidal waters.  It was by far the largest number of students from UNE ever to present at this venue.

The students gave talks and presented posters covering a range of topics, many focusing on the Saco River Estuary. Students presented research on the use of the estuary by fish and birds as well as threats to the estuary from invasive species and nitrogen pollution.

Three students took top honors for their presentations. Jordyn LeBlanc won the Warren Prize for best undergraduate poster for “Movement of Shortnose Sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) in the Saco River Estuary,” and Ashleigh Novak won the Rankin Prize for best undergraduate oral presentation, for “Is Diet Related to the Movement of Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) in the Saco River, Maine?” Laura Whitefleet-Smith won the Dean Prize for best graduate student poster, for “Species Identification of Hake in Maine Markets.”

In addition, Carolyn Wheeler won honorable mention for best undergrad presentation and Brenda Rudnicky won the best visual poster award.

Faculty members who accompanied the students to the conference were: Christine Feurt, Ph.D., assistant lecturer in the Department of Environmental Studies;  Pam Morgan, Ph.D., associate professor and chair in the Department of Environmental Studies;  Anna Bass, Ph.D., assistant research professor in the Department of Marine Sciences; and Greg Zogg, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biology.

NEERS is a non-profit organization with a wide-ranging membership from scientific institutions, federal agencies, state agencies, municipal agencies, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.

Support for travel to the conference, as well as for many of the student research projects, came primarily from a National Science Foundation award to the Maine Sustainability Solutions Initiative.  UNE’s College of Arts and Sciences provided additional support.