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March 2006

Release Date: March 9, 2006

Texas Academy of Sciences Honors 3 ASU Biology Students

Research projects by three students in Angelo State University’s Biology Department took top honors in both the master’s degree and the undergraduate divisions of the Texas Academy of Sciences (TAS) meeting March 3 in Beaumont.

Graduate students Molly McDonough and Carson Brown took first and second place respectively in the master’s degree division while Eeshita Dastidar finished first in the undergraduate competition. Each first-place recipient received a $1,500 honorarium and each second-place finisher received a $1,000 prize.

Molly McDonough of San Antonio presented her research on “Genetic Variation in the Bonneted Bats: Eumops glaucinus and Eumops floridanus (Chiroptera:Molossidae).” McDonough also received the $300 TAS graduate student presentation award for her work.

Brown, a resident of Jefferson, Ore., was honored for his research, titled “Seasonal Dynamics of the Chiropteran Community Structure of the Moist Chisos Woodlands, Big Bend National Park, Texas.”

Dastidar earned the top undergraduate research prize for her project “S creening Families of Bats for the Short Interspersed DNA Element Called VES SINE.”

Both graduate students did their research under the direction of Dr. Loren K. Ammerman of the ASU biology faculty. Ammerman is also the adviser to Dastidar, who is recipient of a Carr Research Scholarship from the university.

“ASU had a fantastic meeting,” Ammerman said. “The results reflect the quality of our biology program and the research we conduct at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.”

Angelo State was among 29 universities represented at the annual TAS meeting on the campus of Lamar University.

Two ASU faculty members, Dr. Ned E. Strenth and Dr. Russell Wilke, also made oral presentations at the conference while senior biology major Kiona Coleman displayed a poster.