Ever wonder why snakes have rear fangs? Or speculate why Syrian hamsters are perpetual hoarders? How does the diet of the brown marmorated stink bug affect its sex life? These particular questions -and many more- were examined and answered at the 9th Annual Lehigh Valley Ecology and Evolution Symposium (LVEES), hosted by DeSales University, this past Saturday, April 14. LVEES was held at the university’s Hurd Science center from 9 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.
The event moderated sixteen presentations from twelve area colleges, in conjunction with the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC). Project topics ranged from aquatic ecology, theory and sex, to the ecology of feeding relationships. Presentations were fifteen minutes in length, with the final three minutes reserved for questions from Symposium judges and the audience. LVEES culminated with a keynote address by Dr. Dustin Brisson of the University of Pennsylvania’s Biology Department.
The Lehigh Valley Ecology and Evolution Symposium was established nine years ago by LVAIC member schools to provide a local scientific gathering for faculty and students to present their research in ecology and evolution. Participants this year represented Cedar Crest College, College of New Jersey, Desales University, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, Moravian College, Muhlenberg College, Northampton Community College, University of Pennsylvania, University of Scranton, Ursinus College, Villanova University, Widener University, and Wilkes College. A total of 64 researchers participated in the event, including 21 faculty members and 43 students.
The Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges is an organization of six colleges -Cedar Crest College, DeSales University, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, Moravian College, and Muhlenberg College. LVAIC is a non-profit organization promoting student exchange, professional development, and greater efficiency in operations. The organization fosters leadership in environmental stewardship and sustainability across our members’ campuses by integrating economic, environmental, and social responsibility into operations, residential life, education and research. Our multi-school approach provides a useful basis for more ambitious collaboration.
Dr. Dustin Brisson is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the Principal Investigator of Brisson Laboratories, with a focus on disease ecology, molecular evolution, and microbial evolution. His primary research centers on the bacterium that causes lyme disease, particularly in the northeastern United States, although his lab is currently studying projects that include data-based modeling, molecular evolution, experimental evolution, and public health research.