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New study-abroad course, Spring 2015 Print

Tropical Biology

BIO 435: Course Topics in Biology - Tropical Ecology: An intensive field-based exploration of Puerto Rico's ecosystems.

The Department of Biology is offering a new, 3 credit, study-abroad course next spring for junior and senior Biology majors who have successfully completed BIO 270, General Ecology. 

The course will be offered by Dr. Jessica Schedlbauer and will consist of four 2-hour course meetings on the WCU campus, as well as a 7-day trip to Puerto Rico over Spring Break 2015. 

The Puerto Rico trip will very intensive, often requiring 10+ hours of student time in the field per day.  Students will visit and learn about a variety of ecosystems on the island and also learn about local conservation in practice.

Contact Dr. Schedlbauer ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) if you are interested or have any questions.

Research on Underwater Propulsion funded by MURI Grant Print

Dr. Frank Fish received a grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) for $1,055,297 for the Multi-University Research Initiative (MURI) program. The proposed research is a collaboration with the University of Virginia, Princeton University, Harvard University, Lehigh University and West Chester University. Over the next five years, the research team will receive $1.5 million per year to investigate the Hydrodynamics of Non-Traditional Propulsion.

The research team's project is titled "Bio-inspired Flexible Propulsors for Fast, Efficient Swimming: What Physics Are We Missing?" The project will look at fast swimmers with flexible flukes (dolphins, whales, tuna and trout) to explore the possibility of a system that could replace propellers for underwater propulsion.

The Army Research Office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Office of Naval Research solicited proposals for 24 research projects that directly support the DOD and the military services. Initially, 361 white papers were received, 88 of which were selected for more detailed proposals. The highly competitive MURI program complements other DOD basic research efforts by supporting multidisciplinary teams with larger and longer-term awards in carefully chosen research topics identified for their potential significance and sustainable progress. MURI awards provide strong support for the education and training of graduate students in cutting edge research. The 24 research proposals selected in the fiscal 2014 competition will include participation by 64 different academic institutions.

Sigma Xi Student Research Symposium Print

Student research conducted by Zack Signora, Kenda McMillin, Kelly Ryan, Lauren Neel, Dana Charitonchick, Julie Storm, Jessica Bondy, Bill Collins, and Jesse Armine was presented at the annual Sigma Xi Student Research Symposium on April 12, 2014 at St. Joseph's University.  Student research presented at the Symposium was conducted in collaboration with Biology faculty members Drs. Josh Auld, Jessica Schedlbauer, Win Fairchild, Greg Turner, and Xin Fan. Posters presented include:

  • Jesse Armine (undergraduate student) and DrJessica Schedlbauer. Effect of trail type on the diversity of native and invasive plant species in the Bull Mountain Wilderness, Maryland.
  • Jessica Bondy (undergraduate student), Julie Storm (undergraduate student), and DrXin Fan. The pathogenesis of Haemophilus influenzae LicB in vivo.
  • Dana Charitonchick (graduate student) and DrJessica Schedlbauer. Determining the seed bank composition of an eastern deciduous forest fragment in southeast Pennsylvania.
  • Bill Collins (undergraduate student) and DrWin Fairchild. The effects of light and age on phenotypic plasticity in an invasive vine species, Celastrus orbiculatus (oriental bittersweet).
  • Lauren Neel (undergraduate student) and DrJosh Auld. When to mate when death is on the line in Physa acuta.
  • Kelly Ryan (undergraduate student) and DrGreg Turner. Forest health status at the Gordon Natural Area.
  • Zack Signora (undergraduate student), Kendra McMillin (undergraduate student), and DrGreg Turner. An assessment of white ash (Fraxinus americana) as part of an emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) management plan for the Robert B. Gordon Natural Area.
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