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Research Funding Updates

NSF - Jefferson, Griffith, Ortiz and Dees

"Bridging the Conceptual Divide Between Theoretical and Applied Environmental Chemistry"  Funding by NSF's "DUE TUES". PIs on the project are Anne Jefferson, Liz Griffith, Joe Ortiz, and David Dees.

We will be developing curriculum that uses water isotope data for several upper level Earth Science classes. We will be developing curriculum that enables students to run the Picarro Water Isotope Analyzer (in Anne Jefferson's lab) and analyze their own data in an effort to improve student understanding of course material. We will also be exploring ways to transfer our curricular activities to institutions that do not have isotope analytical capabilities.

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A 175 million year-old lobster from Arctic Canada. The animal has molted and shows all of the external skeleton as well as the internal skeleton.
NSF - Schweitzer and Feldmann

"Diversity in Fossil Decapod Crustacea Based Upon a Unique Species-Level Database"  Researchers from Kent State University's Department of Geology have been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study diversity, evolution and extinction in crabs, lobsters, and shrimps. The grant will fund the study of this economically important, diverse group of animals whose geologic history extends back 400 million years.

Kent State Geology Professor Carrie Schweitzer is the principal investigator on the project. She and co-principal investigator Rodney Feldmann, Professor Emeritus of Geology at Kent State, have worked together for 16 years, examining the evolutionary history of the Decapoda - crabs, lobsters, and shrimps. This study will provide the most comprehensive analysis of macroevolution of these crustaceans yet conducted, according to Schweitzer and Feldmann.

The pair plan to examine questions such as when these creatures first evolved, how have they diversified through time, how extinction events affected their diversity, and how has that impacted on their evolution.  "Looking at what happened to them in the past can help us to interpret what is happening now and what might happen in the future," Schweitzer said. "For example, it seems like lobsters were more diverse at different times in the past than they are now. Crabs predominate now, and we want to know why that is."  

The effect of climate, sea level, the abundance of coral reef, and the interactions between crabs, lobsters, and other animals are some of the issues the two plan to analyze.  "The majority of the grant money will go to paying Kent State undergraduate students to work with us on the project, inputting and analyzing data," Schweitzer explained. "It also will fund some research work in Europe to look at museum collections to gather data about the presence and absence of these animals at different periods of time."

The study has significance beyond classrooms and museums.  "Many of these are food animals, and we eat them as kind of luxuries," Schweitzer said. "But that's not true in other parts of the world, where they are main sources of food."

Photo Caption: Kent State University researchers have received a National Science Foundation grant to study diversity, evolution and extinction in crabs, lobsters and shrimps. Pictured is a 175 million year-old lobster from Arctic Canada. The animal has molted and shows all of the external skeleton as well as the internal skeleton.

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NSF S-STEM - Dr. Maletic, Computer Science (Scholarship Committee Chair), Dr. Ortiz, Geology, Dr. Portman, Physics, Dr. Selinger, Chemical Physics, Dr. Case, Biology

The Kent State University Scholarships for Broadening Participation in the Sciences will annually provide 21 undergraduate scholarships, averaging $5,000 each to promising science students.

Applications being accepted beginning in early Spring 2013 for STEM research experiences for undergraduates for the academic year 2013/14. For more scholarship opportunities, search Pathways to Science for opportunities to do research at the undergraduate level, here and abroad. The Institute for Broadening Participation in the STEM sciences offers free online search tools to encourage minority participation in STEM sciences.