Biology students and faculty present research at 100th ESA Annual Meeting

Biology ESA PresentSix SUNY New Paltz students and two faculty members represented the College at the 100th annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA), which was held from Aug. 10-14.

Students James Byam ’16 (Biology), Lori Dargis ’15 (Environmental Geochemical Science), Stephanie Hale ’15 (Biology), Bryan Krebs ’15 (Biology), Caitlyn Maceli ’15 (Environmental Geochemical Science) and Valerie Stanson ’15 (Biology) and Biology Department faculty members David Richardson and Kara Belinsky were among the more than 5,000 attendees at the ESA conference in Baltimore, Md.

“As a recent graduate, I’ve been looking for some professional or graduate school opportunities,” said Dargis. “Although the whole conference was full of fascinating research, my own presentation was the most fruitful for me. I was approached by a lot of people who shared my research interests, and I made some possible job connections for the future. It was a great opportunity to showcase my experience and collaborate with people in my specialized research field.”

The eight New Paltz scholars all presented posters or oral presentations on research they have conducted on topics including forest understory vegetation, lake ecology, campus water quality, bird songs and campus bird diversity. The titles of presentations are listed here, with links to complete abstracts:

“The access for undergraduates to top level research really makes this conference a one-of-a-kind experience,” Byam said. “Presenting there was especially interesting because the highly specific lecture series meant that everyone in the audience for my talk was an expert in my field, and at the end of the day I was able to casually talk to all these brilliant people about their work.”

While presenting at a major disciplinary gathering is a landmark achievement for these students and faculty, there is a special significance associated with attending the 100th Annual Meeting of the ESA. U.S. President Barack Obama called attention to the importance and longevity of the organization in a congratulatory video that aired at the conference.

The group’s travel to the ESA conference was supported by the Student Association, the Biology Department, the School of Science and Engineering and the Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities (RSCA) program.

More information about the Biology Department and the Environmental Geochemical Science program can be accessed online.