AWRI Newsletter #70: November 2007

Undergraduate students are an important component of Dr. Carl Ruetz's research team.  They often take on the roles of field and laboratory technicians for research projects and assist graduate students.  In addition, Dr. Ruetz strives to have undergraduate students conduct independent research.  One mechanism for funding students is the Student Summer Scholars (S3) program at GVSU's College of Interdisciplinary Studies.  Since arriving at GVSU in fall 2002, Dr. Ruetz has mentored three students in the S3 program: Matt Breen (2004), Megan Cookingham (2006), and Matt Altenritter (2007).

These students were extremely successful with their research.  Their achievements include two peer-reviewed publications in international scientific journals and numerous research presentations at local and regional conferences.  Students were the first author on both publications with Dr. Ruetz. 

Although varying in scope, these undergraduate research projects provided students with an invaluable, hands-on opportunity to apply classroom knowledge while experiencing the successes and challenges of conducting scientific research.  Matt Breen's research assessed factors that affect sampling bias in a common type of fish sampling gear.  His research highlighted how different fish species vary in their susceptibility of being captured by a particular gear and was published in North American Journal of Fisheries Management.  Megan Cookingham's research explored the use of a new tagging technology for monitoring the movements of the round goby, an invasive fish.  Her research suggested that gobies may be more mobile than previously thought in shallow areas of lakes; her study was published in Ecology of Freshwater Fish.  Matt Altenritter's research investigated how habitat complexity affected predator-prey interactions between an aquatic invertebrate and small bottom-dwelling fish.  His research demonstrates that terrestrial leaves entering streams provide aquatic invertebrates refuge from fish predation; his study currently is being prepared for publication.

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