East Georgia State College senior biology majors, Regan Phillips and Hunter Gay, presented the results of their research projects at the Georgia Academy of Science Meeting held at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville Georgia on March 13th and 14th. As part of their graduation requirements, both students are enrolled in a senior level course entitled “Undergraduate Research” which introduces students to scientific research methods such as laboratory and field data collection, scientific writing, publishing and public speaking. Students enrolled in the course select a mentor to guide them with their research project.
Ms. Regan Phillips was mentored by Dr. Breanna Simmons, Associate Professor of Biology at East Georgia State College. Additionally, personnel from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Nongame Conservation Section collaborated with Ms. Philips and Dr. Simmons on their project entitled “ASSESSMENT OF VEGETATIVE CHARACTERISTICS FOR RESTORATION OF CRITICAL SANDHILL HABITAT AND CONSERVATION OF THREATENED REPTILE SPECIES”. The research was conducted in the Ohoopee Dunes Natural Area in Emanuel County and is part of a restoration project that is ongoing to promote critical habitat and improve vegetative characteristics beneficial to the gopher tortoise (Gophermus polyphemus), a state-listed threatened species. The information gathered will be important for long-term monitoring by the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources to determine if the current conservation practices are effectively sustaining the tortoise populations.
Mr. Hunter Gay was mentored by Dr. Julius Schneider, Associate Professor of Biology at East Georgia State College. Dr. Alan Wilson, Professor at Auburn University, collaborated with Mr. Gay and Dr. Schneider on a study entitled “ALGAL DIVERSITY IN GEORGIA FARM PONDS”. For the past three years students have participated in this project to survey water sources in the Southeastern United States for the purpose of identifying conditions predictive of harmful algal blooms. Several farm ponds in Emanuel County were selected for this important study.
For more information on the EGSC’s Department of Biology dedication to providing hands-on learning opportunities in biological science please contact Dr. Jim Wedincamp, Professor and Chair of the Department of Biology at EGSC at Wedincamp@ega.edu or by phone 478-289-2166.