UW-Green Bay celebrates 25 years of student research with annual Cofrin Symposium
Ten University of Wisconsin-Green Bay students will report on research conducted in UW-Green Bay natural areas at the 25th annual Cofrin Student Symposium, scheduled from 1-5 p.m. Tuesday, March 4 in the Christie Theatre of the University Union on campus, 2420 Nicolet Drive.
The symposium marks a quarter-century of student research and more 140 students whose research has been funded by an endowment established by the Cofrin family. The program also will include recognition of the recipient of the Paul and Thea Sager Scholarship for excellence in scientific writing. The event is free and open to the public.
Students in the program carry out research projects related to the UW-Green Bay’s Cofrin Memorial Arboretum and other University-managed natural areas in Northeastern Wisconsin. Funding is provided by a student research grant program established by an endowment from the families of Dr. David Cofrin and the late John Cofrin. The Land Trust Grant was established by UW-Green Bay faculty members Michael Draney and Vicki Medland to support student research at other natural areas in Northeastern Wisconsin. Grants of up to $1,000 are awarded competitively based on student proposals and are open to all students at UW-Green Bay. Students’ projects, carried out in collaboration with faculty members, must contribute to improving understanding of the ecology, history, and appreciation of the selected natural area(s). The projects also give students experience in properly designing and carrying out research. Since 1987, more than 100 students have participated in this grant-supported research program.
Students interested in applying for grants for the upcoming year should call Medland at 920-465-2342 or visit www.uwgb.edu/biodiversity/ for application guidelines. Applications are due April 14. The Biodiversity website also contains information on the day’s schedule, along with additional information about the students and their projects.
Six undergraduate and four graduate students will present their results at the 25th annual Cofrin Student Symposium. Two graduate students will present on their thesis research associated in part with the Cat Island Chain restoration in the bay of Green Bay. Tim Flood is working to restore native aquatic vegetation and improve habitat for fish and waterfowl in the Cat Island restoration area, while Tom Prestby is identifying and mapping shorebird habitat along the lower Green Bay coastal zone, including UW-Green Bay natural areas and Cat Island.
Two student projects were focused on the identification of bat assemblages in northeastern Wisconsin. Graduate student Jessica Kempke will discuss her research to identify bat migration patterns along the Lake Michigan coast. In a continuation of research started in 2012, Brianna Kupsky will report on bat species living in UW-Green Bay natural areas.
Several studies by UW-Green Bay undergraduates focused on understanding the ecology of the Cofrin Memorial Arboretum or nearby Point au Sable Nature Preserve. Two students used a combination of observation and cameras to learn about the behavior of mammals and the use of burrows on the Cofrin Arboretum. Christa Meyer will report on the behavior of breeding red foxes and Amanda Johnson will discuss the ecological importance of woodchuck burrows on campus. Education major Amanda Nothem developed a curriculum that will allow K-12 educators to bring groups of students to the Cofrin Arboretum to study water and atmospheric science. After the symposium the equipment and curriculum will be available for checkout through the Education department.
During the symposium, student Linda Vang will report on the dispersal of wildflower seeds by ants in Mahon Woods. Sravani Karnam will describe a mathematical model she designed, based on water chemistry and zooplankton data that will predict trophic level changes in the Arboretum ponds. Haley Sharpe will report on her study of the types of fungi that are collected by woodpeckers as they forage for insect larvae in the Point au Sable forest.
As part of the symposium, Holly Plamann will be presented with this year’s Sager Scholarship for Undergraduate Scientific Writing for her paper titled “Can Added Sugar Intake Increase the Risk of Developing Pancreatic Cancer?” Prof. Robert Howe, director of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity at UW-Green Bay, will introduce and moderate the session.