St. Olaf News

 

Strong research earns students an invitation to fisheries conference

Seth Spawn '14 collects samples in the Boundary Waters as part of an aquatic carbon cycling study he worked on this fall with Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Mike Swift and Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies John Schade.

Seth Spawn ’14 collects samples in the Boundary Waters as part of an aquatic carbon cycling study he worked on this fall with Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Mike Swift and Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies John Schade.

The strength of two St. Olaf College students’ research earned them invitations to the annual meeting of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.

Brooke Weigel ’13 and Seth Spawn ’14, who conducted research with the support of St. Olaf faculty mentors, each received a scholarship to attend the meeting.

This year’s conference, titled “Facing the Challenges,” focused on the rapidly expanding suite of environmental perturbation threatening fisheries today and the possible methods for mitigating the effects.

Brooke Weigel '13 conducts sponge research in the Bahamas this January as part of the college's Island Biology program.

Brooke Weigel ’13 conducts sponge research in the Bahamas as part of the college’s Island Biology program.

Weigel is interested in biogeochemistry and has done research in streams and estuaries in California, Iceland, and Oregon. Last semester she studied how microbial community compositions shape the rate of denitrification in a local agricultural stream. Her research was funded by the Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship, a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. Weigel is majoring in biology and environmental studies. She plans to pursue a Master of Science degree and eventually a Ph.D. in aquatic biology.

Spawn also studied denitrification in a stream in an agricultural landscape. He has worked on multiple projects within the field, including the Polaris Project, which brought together an international team of 25 students, professors, and researchers in northern Siberia. Spawn is majoring in biology and geology and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biogeochemistry.