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September 27, 2010
Lindsay Whitlow, assistant professor of biology, and undergraduates Michael Van Nuland ('11) and Lindsey Youngquist ('11) presented research talks and posters at the Ecological Society of America annual meeting in Pittsburgh. Whitlow and Youngquist shared results from their project investigating the ecology and chemistry of the Duwamish River in collaboration with PJ Alaimo and Douglas Latch, assistant professors of chemistry, and undergraduate Ann Frost ('11). Whitlow's talk synthesized four years of data from summer research students and his ecology courses collecting water and invertebrate samples from multiple restoration sites along the urban estuary. Youngquist’s poster focused on describing the integration of ecology, organic chemistry and instrumental analysis courses involving approximately 100 SU students to examine how pyrethroid pesticide concentrations and water quality vary across sites and affect the ecosystem. Van Nuland’s poster focused on results from his project examining how urban conditions affect biodiversity of invertebrate communities in leaf litter, where he studied sites from Cougar Mountain to SU campus.
Whitlow also authored an article on a topic relevant to the ecology of introduced species and fisheries, specifically how invasive crabs have affected clam harvesting. The reduction in native clam harvests has been well documented in the Northeast, so Whitlow sought to examine specifically how the arrival of crabs from Europe contributed to population declines and whether studying the ecology of the interaction could help with future shellfish management. He found that clams are capable of sensing crabs through chemicals in the water and respond by burrowing deeper in an effort to avoid being eaten, however the deeper clams burrow, the slower they grow. The article was published in Marine Ecology.
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