Student Research

As an undergraduate Biology student, you will have the opportunity to participate with faculty in real-world research into areas of biology including reproductive physiology, molecular biology and aquatic ecology, to name a few. You can receive credit for the work you complete on these projects.

Bahamian Field Research Program

Undergraduate Student Research Projects
Completed or in progress, 1992-present

Dr. Lawrence A. Wiedman
Program Director, Environmental Science
Professor, Department of Biology
lwiedman@sf.edu

A Census Study of Macro Algae on Patch Reefs near Andros Island, Bahamas (2008, 2009)
Megan Selking, Thomas Meehan (2009) and Navneet Kaur (2008)

  • This study is intended to identify the major species of macro green algae found on several patch reefs near Andros Island and to determine their approximate percent of cover. It will also create a pressed file of specimens for comparative future studies.

A Comparative Study of Parrotfish Herbivory and its Effects on Algal Cover at Two Patch Reefs off the Eastern Coast of Andros Island, Bahamas (2008, 2009)
Emily Cebalt, Jenna Oberly, Tyler Overmyer and Adam Cagnet

  • This study attempts to determine the significance of parrotfish in controlling macro algal cover on patch reefs near Andros Island. The role of the second most cited grazer is being assessed by comparing two similarly sized patch reefs, one with high algal cover (Three Sisters) and one with minimal algal cover (Mastic Point), both with little or no sign of Diadema recovery.
  • This project is assisted by funding from the John Duns Scotus Honors Program, University of Saint Francis.

A Baseline Study and Population Assay of Nerita peloronta, Nerita versicolor, and Nertia Tesselation on Andros Island, Bahamas (2005, 2006)
Zach Bowman, Bryan Smith, Steve Vaughn and Rachel Sherman

  • This study attempts to determine the ecological niche distinctions between these commingled species found in the phytokarst with respect to feeding and energy zonation.
  • This study was presented at the Undergraduate Research Conference at Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind., on April 21, 2007.

A Study of the Rebound of the Long-spined Sea Urchin, Diadema, and the Facilitation of Coral Recovery (2005, 2006)
Katie Yentes and Kristi Burns

  • The long-spined urchin disappeared from the Caribbean due to a virus in the early 1980s. Increased green algae density on the barrier and patch reefs were noted almost immediately thereafter. In the decades since the eradication, short-spined rock urchins have increased dramatically, assumedly to occupy the vacated niche space. However, the herbivory and mobility of the rock urchins are much less than Diadema. This scheduled three- to five-year study will monitor the return and effects of the urchins on the reefal areas surrounding Andros Island, Bahamas.
  • This study was presented at the Undergraduate Research Conference at Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind., on April 21, 2006. It was also presented at the 12th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas in San Salvador Island in June 2007, and has been accepted via peer review for the conference proceedings.

A Floral Cover Study of Blue Hole Cay, Andros Island, Bahamas; the third in a series of five-year assessments (2005)
Assessment #1 Thorp, Lewis, Bohm, Schnepper (1994)
Assessment #2 Jana (Farrell) Sanders (1998); Jana (Farrell) Sanders and Amy (Marqueling) Ribich (1999)

  • Presented to the Indiana Academy of Science in 1999.

Assessment #3 Joshua Hapner and Stella Snyder (2005)

  • This project has helped set the protocol for future studies of other small cays within the new land-sea Andros National Park. The study was presented at the 11th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas in San Salvador Island in June 2005, and has been accepted via peer review for the conference proceedings.

The Speed, Movement, and Feeding Patterns of the Common Caribbean Cushin Sea Star, Oreaster reticulates (2004, 2005)
Leo Procise

  • This study was presented at the Indiana Academy of Science in 2004. It was also presented at the 11th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas in San Salvador Island in June 2005, where it was accepted via peer review for the conference proceedings.

A Continuation Study of the Regrowth Rates and Successional Patterns of the Previously Logged Bahamian Pine Yards of Andros Island, Bahamas (2004, 2005)
Tessa Pitts and Stella Snyder

  • Eckert and Wiedman presented this study at the ANDROS Conference in February 2005. The research was also presented by Pitts and Snyder at the 11th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas in San Salvador Island in June 2005, where it was accepted via peer review for the conference proceedings.

Modeling the Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) Defense Zone (2003)
Rebekah Newcum

  • This was a biomechanical study and computer-modeling project to create a display of the range of motion of the principle pincers of the Blue Crab found in the Caribbean. The study was designed to answer the question, “Where can I pick these guys up without getting nipped?”

An Investigation into Archeological Artifacts (pottery) from Blanket Sound, Andros Island, Bahamas (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005)
Abbie (Lahrman) Wischmeyer (2002) and Claire Wiedman (2002-2005)

  • This study is an attempt to verify oral history reports from three local octogenarians of a trading center near Blanket Sound in the early to mid-1880s through the dating of pottery sherds being unearthed by wave and tide activity south of Forfar Field Station.
  • This study was presented by Wischmeyer at the 10th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas in San Salvador Island in June 2003, where it was accepted via peer review for the conference proceedings. New research was presented by C. Wiedman and L. Wiedman at the 12th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas in San Salvador Island in June 2005, where it was accepted via peer review for the conference proceedings.

The Ecology and Schooling Behavior of Fish in the Reef and Blue Hole Habitats (2002)
Jennifer M. Nicol, College of Wooster

  • This study compared and contrasted the kinds, size (age) and behavior patterns in schooling fishes in the marine Blue Holes and the Andros Barrier Reef.
  • The study was presented by Wiedman at the 10th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas in San Salvador Island in June 2003, where it was accepted via peer review for the conference proceedings.

Determination of Secondary Growth Succession in Clear Cut Bahamian Pine Yards, Andros Island (2001, 2002, 2003)
Lyndsay (Rice) Kahlenbeck, Phillip Gregg, Eric Aschendorf II and Megan Eckert

  • Eckert presented this study at the 10th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas in San Salvador Island in June 2003, where it was accepted via peer review for the conference proceedings.

Mapping the Offshore Features (Biological and Geological) of Calabash Cay, Andros Island (2001)
David Leutzelschwab

  • This study will supplement the map prepared earlier and will pinpoint features that may be important to future Forfar groups.

Determination of Coral Health Following Hurricane Floyd (1999), Andros Barrier Reef and Adjacent Patch Reefs (2000, 2001)
Brandi Wallace

  • In October 1999, Hurricane Floyd made a glancing blow on Andros’ northeastern coast. The barrier reef and the inshore patch reefs were affected by the high rates of sedimentation. This study created protocols and baselines for future event studies.

A Baseline Map and Study of the Invited Invasive Plants at Owenstown, Andros Island, Bahamas; 25 years after abandonment (2000, 2001)
Don Leer

  • This study created the first infrastructural (roads, foundations, etc.) map of Owenstown, a temporary logging camp from 1952-1972. It is also monitoring plants that were brought in by the residents to plant in gardens and flower beds that were subsequently left behind when the camp was moved. Some of the plants have become quite aggressive and are outcompeting native species.
  • The study was presented to the Dean’s Conference on Learning at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in 2001.

The Economic Impact of a Typical Forfar Group on the Surrounding Communities, Andros Island, Bahamas (1999)
Trina (Harkenrider) Herber

  • This study was requested by International Field Studies (IFS) to help in a bid for a Bahamian Expansion Grant to improve the Forfar campsite. This led to the formation of the Maritime Arts and Inspiration Center (MAIC).

Niche Differentiation in Anolis vudii (1999)
Lara (Raskowski) Moake and James Bollint

  • This was a replication of a study done elsewhere in the Caribbean to see if it held true on Andros.

Health Care Availability on Andros Island (1998, 2002)
Melinda Phillips and Jill Richardson (1998)
Nicole Bradford (2002)

  • This study completed a census of equipment, human resources and medical expertise, and considered how it is distributed.

Sea Star Migration and Feeding Ranges (1998, 1999)
Debbie Wall and Jana (Farrell) Sanders

  • Over 100 sea stars have been tagged and are being monitored as a catch-and-release program.

A New Baseline Map of Calabash Cay, Andros Island, Bahamas (1998, 1999)
Andy Denton and Dave Leutzelschwab

A Census of the Foraminiferida in the Sand of Andros Island, Bahamas (1998, 1999)
Jenny Maldonado

  • This study has been the basis for an exercise for high school groups using Forfar Field Station.

The Hydro-Chemistry of the Blue Holes of Andros Island (1998)
Wendy Minor

Growth Rates in Several Mangrove Taxa of Andros Island and Nearby Cays (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003)
Tiffany Albertson, Tim Albertson (1997, 1998, 1999)
Brandi Wallace (1999)
Amber (Whipp) Kimmel (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003)

  • This multiyear study has involved tagging over 200 red and black mangrove trees, and monitoring their growth and sediment filtration and entrapment.
  • The study was presented at the 10th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas in San Salvador Island in June 2003, where it was accepted via peer review for the conference proceedings.

Observations of the Reparation on Tests of Mellita sexisperferota, the five-holed sand dollar (1997, 1998, 1999)
Trina (Harkenrider) Herber and Sarah Sweeten (1999)

  • This study monitored non-lethal damage on the hard parts of a common sand dollar, and tried to determine predators and maximal reparation of body region.
  • The study was presented to the Indiana Academy of Science in 1998 and was included in the Bahamas Journal of Science in 2006.

Calcareous Algae and Origins of the Sediment Production on Andros Island, Bahamas (1996)
Tara Lewis and Debbie Wall

  • This replicated a famous study by Conrad Newman and Linton Land (1960) on Abaco to see if their conclusions held on Andros.

An Analysis of Carbonate Sediment at Blue Hole Cay, Andros Island, Bahamas (1994)
Jason Thorp, Mike Lewis, Brian Bohm and Sean Schnepper, Western Illinois University

  • This study created the first base map of Blue Hole Cay, and determined sediment thickness and composition surrounding the cay.

Andros Island Groundwater Investigation (1992, 1993)
John Har Thomas, Monmouth College

  • This study included chemical analysis of nitrates, nitrites, phosphates, salinity, pH and temperatures at depth of the Andros groundwater using the Blue Holes as a collection site. This study has been used by the Bahamian government as a baseline for unaltered freshwater on the island.
  • The study was presented to the Bahamian Research Conference in San Salvador Island in 1993.

A Preliminary Study of the Geological History of Pigeon Cay, Andros Island, Bahamas (1992-1993)
Dawn Kamadulski, Monmouth College

  • This study was presented at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in 1993.

The Freshwater Biolota of Andros Island, Bahamas (1992-1993)
Trent Thomas, Monmouth College

  • A census was taken of the macrofauna found in the famous Blue Holes of Andros.
  • The study was presented to the Illinois Academy of Science in 1993.

An Analysis of Ooid Grains from Joulter’s Cay, Bahamas (1992)
Jill (Henson) Darren, Monmouth College

  • This study analyzed the size, shape, internal structure and distribution of special carbonate sand found in only a few localities worldwide.
  • The research was presented at the Geological Society of America North-Central Section Meeting in 1993.