TNCC Student Conducts Scientific Research in Central America

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Michael Cagle’s learning extends far beyond textbooks. The Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) Biology student recently completed his own research project. The investigation, “Tropical Leaf-Cutter Ants: Is Antimicrobial Activity Exhibited during the Harvesting and Transfer of Leaves?” examines the use of chemicals secreted by the leaf-cutter ants to kill bacteria inside and outside of the nest.

Cagle started the investigation earlier this year when he and 10 other TNCC students traded a relaxing spring break for intensive field research in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The trip, which was February 25 – March 8, was part of BIO 295: Topics in Biology: Tropical Ecosystem Ecology. Jennifer Martin, Assistant Professor of Biology, organized the trip for her students and was accompanied by Dr. Donald K. Bartholomay, Dean of Science and Allied Health. The itinerary included studies of rainforest, mangrove forest, marine and freshwater ecology. “Ecosystem diversity was the theme for this course,” Martin said.

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Three TNCC Students Participate in Metapopulation Research at the College of William and Mary this Summer

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A grant from the National Science Foundation to the College of William & Mary has given Thomas Nelson Community College students Josh Froneberger, Shenna Sikora and Eduardo Davila-Reyes the opportunity to conduct scientific research. For 10 weeks this summer, the three students are working with W&M faculty on different aspects of the Eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis) population ecology research in the Williamsburg area. The grant-funded program intends to provide research opportunities in math and biology to undergraduate students and encourage community college students to continue their education at the College of William & Mary. Students receive a stipend and are provided room and board.

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