It has been a busy week! Brian and Carla both gave oral presentations on ongoing research in the lab at the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society meeting. It was a wonderful meeting held in San Antonio, TX that allowed us to meet new scientists and catch up with old colleagues. Additionally, Carla got back in time to receive UA's President's Faculty Emerging Research Scholar Award. It was quite the ceremony!
Carla, Brian van Ee, Lucas Glisson, and Jane Kunberger went over to Jackson, MS for the Mississippi Water Resources Conference. Carla gave a oral presentation the first day and all of the students gave poster presentations on their work. Jane Kunberger, an undergraduate researcher in the lab, received 3rd place for her poster! The crew finished up their visit in Jackson with a visit to the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.
Ansley Hamid received a research grant from the College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate and Creativity Research Academy to fund her upcoming research. She will be working in the lab over the summer to collect samples for her project: "Bioaccumulation of Microplastics in Freshwater Clams." Big congratulations to her on her first funded project! She's already done some cool work as evidenced by her poster on freshwater mussel bioturbation that she presented earlier this week. We look forward to field work over the summer and supporting Ansley's ideas and work!
The Atkinson lab was out in full force today with five undergraduate students presenting their work at the University of Alabama's Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity conference which was held in the Ferguson Center. Jane Kunberger presented her work examining how land use and physical attributes of the stream impact freshwater mollusk community composition and density. Lucas Glisson presented his work conducted in collaboration with Hal Halvorson (Southern Miss) on snail growth and physiological rates. Ansley Hamid talked about bioturbation and movement by freshwater mussels. Maya Owens-Freeman talked about nutrient excretion and egestion rates of three freshwater mussel species. Lucas Edgren presented his work on the bottom-up role of various freshwater mussel species on in-stream primary productivity.
Garrett Hopper and Irene Sanchez Gonzalez will be joining the Atkinson lab soon! They are both coming on to work on the Mussel Dimensions of Biodiversity project starting this summer. Garrett is finishing up his PhD in Keith Gido's lab at Kansas State University. While Garrett's research background is mostly with fish, he has had a great deal of experience with mussels and has collaborated extensively with the Caryn Vaughn lab. We look forward to having his expertise on the project. Irene has a MS from Arkansas State University will be joining us with a background in freshwater mussel ecology and water quality. She currently lives in Barcelona, Spain and works as an aquatic toxicologist. They already both have a lot of great ideas coming in the door. We are looking forward to having them both around in the lab!
We now have a Seal AQ300 to conduct water chemistry analysis. The instrument got setup and the whole lab participated in the training last week. It's going to get a lot of use and we were glad that Seal sent someone to train us. So many water samples to come!
In collaboration with John Pfeiffer and others, a paper highlighting a fifth Ambleminae tribe that occurs in Mesoamerica has just been published in Zoologica Scripta! This work better classifies the diversity in this group. However, there is still a knowledge gap remaining. It was also a great deal of fun putting this work together with John and collecting the animals in Usumacinta River with Krista Capps!
Dr. Carla L. Atkinson
My life is like a float trip!