One of Murray State University’s former Research Scholar Fellows, Caleb Roberts, had his article, “Effects of Browsing by Captive Elk (Cervus canadensis) on a Midwestern Woody Plant Community,” published in February issue of The American Midland Naturalist. The journal is an international ecology, evolution and environment publication.

The paper was authored by Roberts, Dr. Christopher Mecklin and Dr. Howard Whiteman. Both faculty members at Murray State, Mecklin is an associate professor in mathematics and statistics, and Whiteman is a professor of biological sciences and the director of the Watershed Studies Institute.

The article examines the interactions of reintroduced elk with woody plant communities in eastern North America. To test the hypothesis that elk herbivory would reduce woody plant diversity and recruitment and also change woody plant community composition when compared to deer, an evaluation of the herbivory effects of a captive elk herd and a free-roaming white-tailed deer population in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in western Kentucky was completed.

The Research Scholar Fellows are sponsored through MSU’s Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activities (URSA) office. URSA Fellows are provided a student stipend, a faculty stipend and a supply budget. To be eligible for one of the awards a student must be enrolled as a full-time MSU undergraduate.

Roberts majored in biology and creative writing, and is a 2011 graduate of Murray State University.

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