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Biology

Faculty Research

Teri Beam

Dr. Beam invites undergraduate science students to work with her in her on-going investigation into the link between piggybac gene, protein activity, cholesterol and brain neuron synapse inactivity as contributing factors to Alzheimers.

Warren Pryor

Professor Pryor's research revolves around freshwater ecology. Recently, the focus has been aimed at mussels and their extirpation due to degraded water quality. Professor Pryor's team has documented 30 mussel species in Allen County, IN including two federally endangered species and continues to collect water quality data in the St. Joseph River. Some results from work with the local freshwater mussels is available on the website of the Saint Joseph River Watershed Initiative

Larry Wiedman

Dr. Wiedman conducts research with undergraduate and graduate students in environmental science and biology. He has spent over 30 years working on and around Andros Island, Bahamas and is currently working with an undergraduate student to use environmental DNA to detect the abundance of Pterois volutans from the Indo-Pacific which is now found around Andros. Two graduate projects began this past summer. 

Two current reef projects by undergraduates include studies on the role of parrot fish as herbivores on the reef and cataloging the green macroalgae currently present. Additionally, a watch for invasive poisonous lion fish is on as they were first sighted near Andros by USF students in 2005.

"Doc" invites students to work with him on additional projects to monitor the return of Diadema, the long-spined urchin, after its 25 year hiatus. In 1981 and again in 1983 a virus wiped out the Diadema population throughout the Caribbean. To that point they had been the greatest herbivores on the reef system, keeping the aggressive green algae at bay. With them gone, the much smaller and less mobile rock urchins expanded their populations to fill the niche, but not very efficiently. Now the Diadema are slowly returning naturally and we are monitoring how the reef reacts to their presence. With great delight, his team reports colonial coral recruitment and an increase in reef abundance and diversity. This project will most likely be active for the next 7-10 years.

There is also a marine archaeology project continuing on English trade goods brought to Andros during the time frame of 1780-1870 and what the significance of them is.

Finally, there are a few intermittent, but on-going, projects on Red Mangrove growth rates (now over 10 years in duration), and differing pattern changes in floral zonation covering of one of the small off-shore cays to Andros (now in its 14th year) and a project tbeing used by the Bahamian government to determine the feasibility of sustainable logging on Andros for domestic building use.