MSU Grant
Tiger salamanders like these come in two forms, terrestrial adults that can inhabit land (top) and aquatic adults that stay in water (bottom). The latter are top predators within pond ecosystems and provide ideal models for understanding how size variation, cannibalism and competition interact to affect aquatic ecosystems.
— MSU photo provided
MSU Grant
Dr. Howard Whiteman (fifth from right) is shown with students and collaborators at his field site in Colorado during this past summer. The group includes several current and former Murray State University researchers — Melanie Torres, M.S. watershed science student (third from left); Christian Brown, B.S. wildlife and conservation biology graduate (fourth from left); Morgan Geile, B.S. wildlife and conservation biology graduate (fifth from left), Dr. Alycia Lackey, Watershed Studies Institute postdoctoral associate (fourth from right); and Michael Moore, M.S. watershed science graduate, (third from right).
— MSU photo provided

MURRAY, Ky. — Dr. Howard Whiteman, professor of biological sciences and director of the Watershed Studies Institute at Murray State University, has been awarded $459,998 from the National Science Foundation for his research.

Whiteman and his collaborator, Dr. Cy Mott of Valdosta State University, are studying how size variation in a top predator affects both the production of new predators and their effects on other members of aquatic food webs.

He is using salamanders as the top predator in his research, in part because they provide an excellent model system for the questions he is studying, and also because the proposed research is built upon more than two decades of research on salamander ecology in Whiteman’s lab.

During the next four summers, Whiteman and Mott will conduct observational and experimental studies at the Hancock Biological Station on Kentucky Lake and the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado.

Three undergraduate students — one each from Murray State, Valdosta State and Kentucky State University, will be collecting data with Whiteman and Mott each summer. Additionally, students from Murray and Valdosta will conduct research in the lab throughout the year and analyze data collected during the project. All of the involved students will have opportunities to present their research at scientific meetings and potentially publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals.

 

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