2009 Student Research Exhibits
Read on for details about the student researchers and a summary of their work. For more information you can access links to the Florida Museum programs mentoring each research project and a downloadable pdf of each poster. Contact information for current Museum graduate students is available on the Florida Museum Graduate Student Directory, through links to the University of Florida departments, or via the Florida Museum mentors.
Estimating the Season of Harvest of the Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) from the St. Catherines Island Shell Ring (9Li231)
Author: Nicole R. Cannarozzi, M.A. Candidate, Anthropology
Florida Museum Research Mentors: Douglas Jones, Museum Director/Curator Invertebrate Paleontology; Irvy Quitmyer, Environmental Archaeology; Kitty Emery, Environmental Archaeology
Poster Abstract: St. Catherines Island is a barrier island located off the coast of Georgia (Liberty County), 50 miles south of Savannah. Recent excavations on St. Catherines Island have revealed a Late Archaic period shell ring that dates to 4500-3000 BP. Shell rings are circular shaped midden structures composed primarily of oyster shell but also contain the remains of other invertebrates, vertebrate species and artifacts. The primary interests in the study of shell rings include processes of construction and/or accumulation, composition, and seasonal use and/or occupation patterns. Evidence for seasonal resource procurement on St. Catherines Island comes primarily from analysis of vertebrate remains and hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria). Determining seasonality of use of the fauna excavated from the shell ring is an important step toward understanding the settlement and subsistence strategies of the people who inhabited the island.
Structural and Material Compliance in the Alveolar Process of Colobine Mandibles
Author: Michael Granatosky, BSc Candidate, Biology, Anthropology
Florida Museum Research Mentors: Kenney Krysko and Max Nickerson, Herpetology
Poster Abstract: Modeling stress and strain in the facial skeleton requires an understanding of the material properties of bone. Comparative models implicitly assume all bone is structurally and materially identical throughout the face. The alveolar process of the mandible may be more prone to stress concentrations than the basilar portion. These observations suggest that greater compliance of alveolar bone is biomechanically advantageous for mitigating stress concentrations. Material or structural inhomogeneity (e.g., mineralization versus porosity) may account for how alveolar bone is able to resist stress concentrations. Existing data conflict over the relative stiffness of alveolar bone in the primate mandible. This study tests the hypothesis of material inhomogeneity and the differences between the structural properties of alveolar versus basal mandibular bone between the Upper Guinea Red Colobus (Procolobusbadiusbadius) and the Western Pied Colobus (Colobuspolykomospolykomos).
Ecology of larval Hellbender salamanders, Cryptobranchus alleganiensis, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Student: Kirsten Hecht, MA Candidate, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, UF
Florida Museum Research Mentors: Max Nickerson, Herpetology
Poster Abstract: The Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) is an aquatic salamander that can reach adult sizes over 29". Once common in Appalachian and Ozark streams in the eastern United States, populations of this giant salamander have waned in recent years. Habitat loss, siltation, pollution, disease, human persecution, and exploitation are all suspected as major contributors to the decline. Although C. alleganiensis can live 3-6 years before reaching sexual maturity, little data has been collected on the habits and habitat of larvae and juveniles of the species due to low representation of these age classes. This knowledge, however, is crucial for conservation efforts of the species. Therefore, this study aims to expand knowledge of the ecology of larval Hellbenders.
Reef Biodiversity Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History
Authors: Machel Malay, Sea McKeon, Francois Michonneau, John Slapcinsky, John Starmer, Jada White, Ph.D. candidates, Biology
Florida Museum Research Mentors: Gustav Paulay, Mandy Bemis, (curatorial assistant), Sarah McPherson (curatorial assistant).
Poster Abstract: Reef biodiversity is a major focus at FLMNH-IZ, the largest invertebrate collection in the SE U.S., especially through collaborative, large-scale biodiversity surveys. Typical surveys voucher, photo-document, and genetically characterize 1000+/- species. An effort to genetically barcode 25,000 specimens of marine invertebrates from the collection just started. Curation, databasing, and identification is pursued with students, staff, and a large network of specialists. 440,000 records are now searchable online, with large photo-library soon to follow. Our goal is to make reef invertebrate diversity as well documented and accessible to all as possible. All are invited to visit, pursue research, and collaborate with these efforts.