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Cofrin Center for Biodiversity

2016 Cofrin Student Symposium

1 March 2016, Reception starts at 1:30. Symposium from 2:00 - 4:00 pm

Christie Theatre UWGB Student Union

 

Schedule

Abstracts

Please join us celebrating the accomplishments of our student researchers at the 27th Cofrin Student Symposium. Students who received Cofrin Grants to complete independent research in association with one or more Biodiversity Center managed UWGB natural areas will be presenting their results. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the program and student research at UW--Green Bay, especially if you are thinking of applying for a grant this year.

Tentative Schedule

Time Speaker Title
1:30 Opening Reception Meet with speakers, Refreshments will be served
2:00 Vicki Medland Introduction
2:15 Bob Howe History of the Cofrin Grant program
2:35 Maxwell Larsen Lichen collection at University of Wisconsin- Green Bay: Study of Northeast Wisconsin Lichens. Are lichens a good species for determining pollution pervasiveness in a region?
2:55 Bob Howe Announcement of the Sager Scholarship Award to Reed Heintzkill for his paper: Characterization of poly(3-hexylthiophene)(P3HT) through UV-Vis absorbance and experimental HOMO/LUMO energy level determination
3:05 Samantha Nellis Investigation of the distribution and composition of nectar-dwelling yeast and bacteria communities in Wisconsin plants
3:25 Jeremiah Shrovnal

Exotic spider collection and Araneae abundance in burned and unburned Phragmites australis stands of Ken Euers Natural Area

3:50 Bob Howe

Closing Remarks

Abstracts

Reed Heintzkill (Sager Scholarship Award; Advisor: Jeremy Intemann)

Characterization of poly(3-hexylthiophene)(P3HT) through UV-Vis absorbance and experimental HOMO/LUMO energy level determination

The understanding of electronic properties of polymers used in organic photovoltaic cells is of increasing interest to chemists and materials engineers in designing new ways of manipulating backbone and side-chain aspects of these new materials. The photovoltaic polymer P3HT was examined using UV-Vis absorbance and cyclic voltammetry to determine optical band gap and experimental HOMO and LUMO energy levels. Experimental determination of Optical Band Gap and HOMO/LUMO energy levels are consistent with literature values and remain within a competitive realm of even newer and more intensively-designed polymer electron donor substances. Written as a final lab report requirement for Instrumental Analysis, Fall 2015.

Maxwell Larsen (Advisor: Dr. Lisa Grubisha)

Lichen collection at University of Wisconsin- Green Bay: Study of Northeast Wisconsin Lichens. Are lichens a good species for determining pollution pervasiveness in a region?

The goal of this study is to increase our knowledge of the biodiversity of lichen species present in the Cofrin Center Natural Areas. The objectives are to (1) begin a species list of lichens present in the Cofrin natural areas that may include identification of new species, new species records for Wisconsin, and rare or endangered species; (2) record the distribution of nitrogen-fixing species, and (3) identify species that are known to be sensitive to air pollution for a long-term monitoring program. We hope to accurately assess the number and distribution of local species of lichens. We will estimate species richness and abundance and make comparisons across sites. This data can also be used to evaluate long-term effects of pollution on lichens.

Samantha Nellis (Advisor: Dr. Amy Wolf)

Investigation of the distribution and composition of nectar-dwelling yeast and bacteria communities in Wisconsin plants

Many studies have examined the relationship between plants and pollinators, yet little is known about the third party species that take advantage of this mutualism. Nectar-dwelling yeast and bacteria have been shown to be pervasive and often abundant in several plant species. This study aims to gain a better understanding of the role of microorganisms in the nectar of five flowering species growing in Northeast Wisconsin. A common theory is that visiting pollinators transport microorganisms to the initially sterile nectar. To test this hypothesis, selected flowers were bagged prior to opening with a fine mesh to exclude pollinator species but allow rain, wind and sunlight exposure. Nectar samples from the “bagged” flowers were acquired as well as nectar from nearby open (not bagged) flowers. To assess the composition of these communities, DNA was isolated from the nectar, amplified via PCR and sequenced using the Illumina MISeq platform.  Bacteria and yeast will be identified to the genus or species level using BLAST searches of the GenBank sequencing database. Additionally, the flower density of individual field plots was measured and sub-meter GPS coordinates were taken for each sample to assess spatial limitations of dispersal. Nectar samples were collected throughout the growing season, which may allow us to uncover temporal trends within the nectar community. Finally, the sugar composition (proportion of sucrose, fructose and glucose) of each sample will be determined using high-performance liquid chromatography to assess changes to the pollinator reward caused by the bacteria and yeast species.

Jeremiah Shrovnal (Advisor: Dr. Michael Draney)

Exotic spider collection and Araneae abundance in burned and unburned Phragmites australis stands of Ken Euers

A 2002 study showed the presence of Clubiona pallidula,a spider species native to Eurasia, among Phragmites australis habitats on the Green Bay shoreline. A 2010 survey of 17 Green Bay and Lake Michigan shoreline P. australis habitats failed to recover C. pallidula, but males of a possible undescribed Clubiona species were found.We surveyed the Ken Euers Natural Area P. australis community for the presence of either clubionid species previously discovered. We also compared the composition of the spider communities in an unburned P. australis plot against a region unintentionally burned in April of the sampling season. We sampled four burned and four unburned sites with six one-week pan traps at each site. Sampling times were selected based on the previous successful collection of the two clubionid species. We also sampled at three other locations in Green Bay using vegetation beating. Sampling turned up both a male and female of an undescribed species. We did not collect any specimens of C. pallidula, which shows that the species may have gone locally extinct after 2002 or is considerably less abundant. Spider abundance in the recently burned location was significantly higher on the second sampling period. More intensive sampling will be required to determine if C. pallidula is still present in the area.