Dr. Melinda Coogan

BVU Freshwater Research Group

Tanner Cook
Jerry Quinlan
Kristina Campbell

Amanda Miley
Megan Bissen
Valeria Cota
Lane Krause
Chayton Quail

Adan Cronin
Tonia Henning
Kalab Kibret
Jacob Simonsen
Marco Uribe

Research Projects of BVU Graduates

Welcome to the student Research page. Please scroll through to see the different research projects or use the links on the left to navigate.

Student: Tanner Cook
Title: Antimicrobial metabolite analysis of Sub-Antarctic mosses found in bird nests

Abstract: Bryophytes have been largely studied in phytochemistry due to their high diversity of secondary metabolites, which play key roles in bryophyte survival under extreme conditions.   These metabolites have also displayed antioxidant responses and microbial growth inhibition factors. These properties could be useful for bird nesting, and are found to contribute to the mechanical insulation properties of bryophyte-plant materials. Ornithologists at the Omora Park Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research center, Chile, have observed the presence of bryophytes in bird nests of different species. In a previous ornithological study, most nests surveyed had variable construction material proportions of the mosses Lepyrodon lagurus and Acrocladium auriculatum. This project analyzed the presence and diversity of flavonoids and other phenolics in bryophytes used in nest construction. Samples were collected along Wulaia Trail, Navarino Island, Chile, transported back to the United States, and analyzed at BVU using GC/MS applications.  Results indicated the antimicrobial 7,8-Epoxylanostan-11-ol was found to be present in both Lepyrodon and Acrocladium.  Future studies will evaluate potential microbial growth inhibition of each bryophyte against the two bird-pathogenic bacterial strains Staphylococcus and Enterococcus. The expected results will unravel the ecological relationships between birds and bryophytes in these remote regions and set a precedent for potential biotechnological applications.

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Student: Jerry Quinlan
Title: Survivorship and habitat use variance between two cohorts of translocated Western Ringtail Possums (Pseudocheirus occidentalis).

Abstract: The Department of Parks and Wildlife of Western Australia was asked to identify factors that could result in more successful translocations of medium-sized mammals. The task was given out to ensure the growth and maintenance of insurance populations for endangered animals within the state. This research looked at the maintenance of two different possum cohorts that were introduced to a predator free sanctuary within the Upper Warren region of south-western Australia. By looking at the two different cohorts of western ringtail possums translocated into the Perup Sanctuary, survivorship and habitat use were examined with respect to sex and where the cohorts were sourced from. It was found that there is a significant difference in the habitat use of the different cohorts; the population from the similar habitat type survived notably longer compared to the population of a different habitat type. There are also differences in same sex occupancy amongst the different cohorts between the six habitat types found in Perup. Further factors such as timing of release and stress of breeding could also cause variance between the two translocated populations.

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Student: Kristina Campbell
Measuring stress levels of juvenile mice using social defeat assessments

Abstract: Behavioral and chemical assessments were conducted on male and female juvenile mice to determine potential differences in their stress levels after undergoing social defeat tests. This research consisted of using a social defeat test to be the initial stress inducer, followed by weight assessments over the 10-day experiment, sucrose versus water consumption levels, and a final corticosterone blood assay. The purpose of the tests was to look at juvenile stress levels and specifically whether females have a higher likelihood of showing measurably higher levels of stress than males, as has been shown in past research on humans. Results showed the experimental male and female juvenile mice consumed less sucrose and massed in at a lower level when compared to the control mice, with no correlation being observed between mass and sucrose consumption. Corticosterone results indicated higher averages among experimental males versus control males with a p value of 0.18. Additionally, corticosterone results among experimental males versus experimental females indicated higher averages for males with a p value of 0.10. In conclusion, the induced stress had a greater average effect on the corticosterone levels for the juvenile male mice than female mice, but the difference was not statistically significant.

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Students: Amanda Miley, Megan Bissen, Valeria Cota , Lane Krause and Chayton Quail



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