Honors, awards and other recognition for our faculty members, students and their work.
In Memoriam: Dr. Bea Clack
On January 24, 2022 we lost Professor Bea Clack, a beloved member of our department. Bea earned her BS degree from Texas A&M and a PhD from UT Dallas. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Bea joined the faculty of SFA in 1996 in the department of chemistry and the division of biotechnology. The faculty in the division of biotechnology joined the department of biology in 2012.
She was loved by her students and was a fantastic scientist with numerous influential publications, presentations and achievements. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared here for the Clack family.
Bruck Lab publishes new paper on whale and dolphin welfare
Bruck Lab graduate student Paige Stevens and her supervisor Dr. Jason Bruck published an article in the journal Animals on how sound affects welfare of whales and dolphins in both the wild and in zoos. The article is open access and can be downloaded for free here.
Porter Lab students win recognition at Entomological Society of America’s national meeting
On November 1, two SFA students won awards for oral presentations of their research at the Entomological Society of America national meeting in Denver. Eleanor Penhallegon (left) won first place in the Medical, Urban and Veterinary Entomology (MUVE) undergraduate competition section and Jacquelyn May (right) won second place in the MUVE: Vector Biology and Management graduate competition section.
Dr. Jason Bruck receives National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) award
Congratulations to Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Jason Bruck who was awarded the 2021 NABT Four-Year Section Biology Teaching Award for Excellence in Biology Teaching. This is a national award that seeks to recognize innovative teaching practices in the field of Biology.
Dr. Lindsay Porter and students publish study
Congratulations to Dr. Lindsay Porter and her students Sebastian L. Torres (not pictured), Abraham Landeros, Eleanor J. Penhallegon and Kaleth Salazar on their study “Expression of Brown and Southern Black Widow Spider (Araneae: Theridiidae) Latrotoxins Is Tissue- and Life Stage-Specific for α-Latroinsectotoxins and δ-Latroinsectotoxins and Is Ubiquitous for α-Latrotoxins in the Journal of Medical Entomology.” Read the abstract to learn more.
Dr. Jason Bruck featured on popular podcast
SFA’s own Dr. Jason Bruck recently served as a panelist on the popular podcast “Zoologic” discussing the welfare and ethics of the public display of dolphins in modern zoos and aquariums. Check out his appearance on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts. The podcast is also available at https://zoologic.libsyn.com.
Dr. Carmen G. Montaña, assistant professor in the Department of Biology, receives grant
Montaña, together with two faculty collaborators from the University of North Texas, received a $500,000 grant from the Texas comptroller's office to assess the populations of two endangered fish species in the Brazos River.
Over the next four years, Montaña and her colleagues will use a combination of survey methods to assess the populations of the Smalleye and Sharpnose Shiner, which were federally listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2014.
Two faculty members publish research on mercury contamination in South American food webs
A new study by Dr. Carmen G. Montaña, assistant professor of biology, and Dr. Christopher Schalk, assistant professor of forest wildlife management, in the journal Neotropical Ichthyology highlights the effects of mercury contamination from gold mining operations on fish in the Mazaruni River, Guyana, South America.
Montaña has been working in Guyana and collaborating with local Guyanese scientists for several years. This new study investigated how mercury, which is used during gold mining extraction, is being transferred from the mining operations to fish, and ultimately, to humans via fish consumption.
In this study, Montaña and Schalk quantified not only mercury accumulation, but also biomagnification, in 39 fish species that are important food source for local riverine people living along this river. Results from this study suggest that the medium-to-large fishes eaten by local people contain high mercury levels exceeding the thresholds from the World Health Organization. The fish are the main protein source for local people along the Mazaruni River, but their continual consumption of these fish poses a risk to their health.
Two faculty members publish research on ecology, conservation of pond ecosystems in East Texas
Dr. Carmen G. Montaña, assistant professor of biology, and Dr. Christopher Schalk, assistant professor of forest wildlife management, published an article in the journal Aquatic Ecology studying the ecological process structuring pond communities at fine spatial scales. In this study, the authors investigated how environmental, spatial and temporal variables influenced community organization of aquatic invertebrates and larval amphibians within pond microhabitats through extensive pond surveys conducted monthly across one year.
Ponds help promote local biodiversity as they are used by a diversity of organisms. Many ponds in East Texas are understudied yet facing significant threats from habitat loss and alteration as well as lack of legislative protection. This study provides insight as to how these ponds are utilized by species across fine spatial and temporal scales that can be used to inform monitoring and biological assessment programs.