Three students receive Rackham International Research Awards
Monday, April 16, 2012
EEB graduate students Alison Gould, David Marvin and Beatriz Otero Jimenez received Rackham International Research Awards from the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies and the U-M International Institute.
Gould's research addresses the recruitment dynamics and population connectivity of the bioluminescent cardinalfish, Siphamia versicolor. “I plan to look for signals of genetic structure in S.versicolor over a biogeographic region in the Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan. These genetic patterns will provide substantial insight on the question of whether populations of coral reef fishes are open or closed." Gould received $5,000 to carry out this research in Okinawa, Japan this summer.
Marvin said, “The grant will support my dissertation research, which uses a combination of airborne and satellite remote sensing imagery with field-based forest censuses to discriminate liana (woody vine) and tree canopy cover in tropical forests. The research develops a method to detect liana canopy cover at landscape scales, quantify its extent, and verify whether it has increased over recent decades. The discovery that lianas have increased in size and abundance in tropical forests suggests these forests may see a change in community composition and a reduction in their carbon storage capacity. Monitoring changes in liana canopy cover will increase the accuracy of predicted changes to tropical forests, and aid in understanding the mechanisms responsible for increasing liana size and abundance.” His advisor is Professor Robyn Burnham and he received $7,500.
Otero Jimenez is interested in researching the effect of different land uses on biodiversity and ecosystem function, especially in agricultural systems. This summer, she will be working in Chiapas, Mexico with her advisor, Professor John Vandermeer. “I will be looking at the effect matrix composition has on dispersal and connectivity of forest animals. I will be working specifically with Heteromys desmarestianus, forest mice that live in moist tropical forests. I will be working in forest patches surrounded by coffee farms.” She will collect tissue samples for two months and return to Ann Arbor to do DNA extraction and genetic analysis to determine if populations from different forest patches are distinct and how connected they are. Otero Jimenez received $7,000.
RIRAs are presented to students with strong academic records who demonstrate outstanding scholarly and professional promise, steady progress toward their degrees and have feasible plans for conducting international dissertation or thesis-related research.
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