FHSU biologists stand out at annual conference

Fort Hays State University scientists were among the leading honorees at the Central Plains Society of Mammalogists annual conference. One FHSU graduate student won a prestigious research award, one FHSU faculty member replaced another as president of the society, two graduate students were elected as officers and three FHSU scientists were named to a subcommittee, one of them designated chair.

FHSU faculty and students who attended the conference on Sept. 26-28 at Southwest Missouri State University were Dr. Elmer J. Finck, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences and professor of biology; Dr. Jerry R. Choate, director of the Sternberg Museum of Natural History; Dr. Robert B. Channell, assistant professor of biology; Justin Hoffman, Lincoln, NE, graduate student; Brian Bartels, Ellis graduate student; Shauna Marquardt, Rockville, MO, graduate student; and Kelly Ray, Midland, TX, graduate student. Other scientists in attendance were from 11 universities in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Bartels won a $500 research award for his presentation on the identification and distribution of two similar shrews on the northern Great Plains. The Central Plains Society of Mammologists presents the award annually to a graduate student who is working toward either a master of science degree or a doctoral degree, or an upper-level undergraduate student who submits the best written proposal and oral presentation with respect to research.

This year's competition included doctoral students from Oklahoma State University, Arkansas State University and Kansas State University. Bartels is the first student working on his master's degree to win the award, which he plans to use to pay some of the costs of analysis on DNA extracted from the shrews.

Finck, as president, conducted the conference's business meeting in which three FHSU scientists were elected to the organization's new governing body. Channell was elected president, Hoffman was re-elected state representative for Nebraska, and Marquardt was elected secretary/treasurer.

Finck, Choate and Marquardt were named to the Threatened and Endangered Species Mammal Subcommittee for Kansas. Finck will serve as chair of the committee.

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