Lewis students present invasive aquatic species research

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Lewis students present invasive aquatic species research at Illinois State Academy of Science

Published: May 16, 2014.

Lewis University students Erin Cox and Kaitlyn Curtis presented a poster entitled, “Changing Patterns in Attachment as Dreissena Populations Mix” at the 106th Annual Meeting of the Illinois State Academy of Science recently held at Governors State University.

The students were studying the attachment of the two invasive species, which physically and chemically alter submerged surfaces in North American fresh waters. They used slides placed in the Milwaukee Harbor of Lake Michigan to collect samples over a four-week periods and then compared how many attached larvae of Dreissena polymorpha (zebra mussel) and Dreissena bugensis (quagga mussel) were present among the different treatments.

Previous research demonstrated that surfaces covered with biofilms had a greater number of zebra mussel postveliger larvae than initially clean surfaces. However, with quagga mussels among the Dreissena populations, the trend is no longer present.

“This research provides greater insight on the environmental cues these organisms use to decide where to attach,” Dr. Jerry Kavouras, chair and associate professor of biology at Lewis University, said. He served as a faculty mentor for the project.

The research was funded by the Lewis University Caterpillar Scholar Award, which provides an award up to $6,000 for research or scholarly work for one academic year in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Lewis University offers a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts in Biology. A Biology degree prepares students for career opportunities right after Lewis University in healthcare, medicine and scientific research, or for graduate school in life science -related fields. Lewis Biology graduates have averaged 85 percent placement into their professional school of choice over the past five years.

Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,600 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.

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