Spotlights

Daniel Hayden

OU Major: 
Microbiology and Plant Biology
Research Mentor: 
Laura Bartley
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project: 
Cereal crops are critical for producing food, feed, fiber, and industrial chemicals for a growing population. Arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM), a beneficial plant-fungal interaction in roots, influences nutrient uptake in plants while increasing tolerance to environmental stresses. Grasses, including cereals, contain an abundance of the phenolic compound Ferulic Acid (FA) that crosslinks sugar polysaccharides of the cell wall structure and increase cell wall integrity. FA crosslinks could act as a physical barrier to AM fungi and reducing FA crosslinks could increase AM colonization. This experiment tested the hypothesis by inoculating the rice mutant AT10-D1, with 60% less FA, with AM fungus Rhizophagus irregelius. After 3 weeks, AM colonization increased significantly in pooled AT10-D1 plants by 1.5-fold. Furthermore, lateral roots, roots grown from the main roots and most colonized by AM fungi, did not exhibit an increase in AT10-D1 as seen in wild-type plants. Assuming most...
Awards and/or presentations: 
Hayden, Daniel. "Rice Cell Wall Components Alter Beneficial Fungal Symbionts." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK.

Adam Hassoun

OU Major: 
Biology
Research Mentor: 
Elizabeth Bergey
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project: 
Snails are nocturnal and therefore active at night, when they move about and feed. This experiment tested the effect that changing the daily length of darkness (24, 18, 12, 6 and 0 hours per day) on the amount of sweet potato consumed by a land snail. Our hypothesis was that if the length of darkness is increased, snails will remain more active and therefore eat more than snails under conditions of shorter darkness (especially full light). Our results did not show a significant correlation between day length and food consumption but revealed a trend of higher feeding activity under increased light compared to increased dark – the opposite of our prediction.
Awards and/or presentations: 
Hassoun, Adam. "Does Day Length Effect Feeding Behavior?" Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK.

Merima Hadzic

OU Major: 
IAS & Spanish
Research Mentor: 
Julie Ward
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project: 
The presentation will be in Spanish, it will contain self-explanatory images that will help presenting the project. It will be a short presentation about the importance of theatre in bringing social awareness in politically oppressive societies. Grisela Gambaro is a writer of theater most known for her plays that criticize the military dictatorships in Argentina and civil society that contributes it with its passivity.
Awards and/or presentations: 
Hadzic, Merima. "Theater of Politics - Grisela Gambaro." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK.

Ryan Grantham

OU Major: 
Biology
Research Mentor: 
Elizabeth Bergey
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project: 
Predatory snail feeding behavior has widespread effects on ecosystems. However, little is known about what influences predatory feeding behavior in certain species of snails. Furthermore, even less is known about how soil-calcium levels affect the feeding behavior of predatory snails, which may use prey shells as a calcium source (snail shells are composed mainly of calcium carbonate). We examined the feeding behavior of predatory snails in containers with altered soil-calcium levels. We hypothesized that higher soil-calcium levels would reduce consumption of snail prey species and their shells. At the conclusion of two one-week trials, we found that predators with the highest soil-calcium level consumed far fewer prey species’ shells than expected (relative to the low soil-calcium treatment). This finding could be important for reducing the impact of introduced snail predators on rare native snail species.
Awards and/or presentations: 
Grantham, Ryan. "Got Calcium? The effects of soil-calcium levels on predatory snail feeding." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK.

Angela Gonzalez

OU Major: 
Biology
Research Mentor: 
Elizabeth Bergey
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project: 
Calcium is a vital nutrient for snails because of their calcium-based shells. We hypothesized that there would be a positive correlation between soil calcium levels and snail population density. We surveyed four locations, each with two subsites in Norman, Oklahoma and counted snails during a timed search and collected soil samples. Soil samples (in part) were tested for calcium content at OSU and the remainder was sifted through in search of small snails. Results indicated no correlation between soil calcium levels and snail density. Snail populations are affected by many additional factors. For example, the two samples with the highest snail density had protective ground covers, specifically a rotting log and a dense monkey grass bed.
Awards and/or presentations: 
Gonzalez, Angela. "Got calcium? The relationship between snail density and soil calcium levels." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK.

Hussan Gill

OU Major: 
Biology
Research Mentor: 
Elizabeth Bergey
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project: 
With plastic waste becoming more common in terrestrial habitats, snails are interacting more with plastics. Our goal was to study the effect that plastics had on the food finding behavior of two species of snails. The two types of plastics were plastic bags and Styrofoam cups and the two species of snails we were Cornu aspersum and Angiuspira alternata. Plastics were placed either fully covering or next to the food (Romaine lettuce), obscuring the direct path towards the food. We also had a control with no plastics. After measuring the percent loss of lettuce twice weekly for 6 weeks, we found no significant difference in food consumption among the different plastics and control. The plastics did not affect the snails ability to find and consume food.
Awards and/or presentations: 
Gill, Hussan. "Food Finding Behavior of Snails." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK.

Matthew Carman

OU Major: 
Biology
Research Mentor: 
Elizabeth Bergey
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project: 
This project focuses on understanding the overwintering success of snails in greenhouses. Greenhouses are excellent habitats for snails, offering shelter, food, and ostensibly a lack of natural predators. Through the purchase of potted plants with snails, greenhouses promote the distribution of snails into non-native locations. In the fall of 2017, plants in a greenhouse in Norman, OK, were inspected for snails. Information like location of snails, snail species, and snail density were recorded. In the following winter, the locations of snails in the same area was determined. By having a better understanding of the overwintering habits and habitats of snails within greenhouses, this project leads to better understanding of how snails persist in greenhouses, even after plants are removed during the winter, and could lead to a better understanding of the roles of greenhouses in snail dispersal.
Awards and/or presentations: 
Carman, Matthew. "Greenhouses: Not Quite a Winter Wonderland for Snails." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK.

Gates Breedlove

OU Major: 
Biology
Research Mentor: 
Elizabeth Bergey
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project: 
Essential oils are frequently used as natural repellents and pesticides against common snails that are considered to be pests or invasive species. These compounds have shown promising uses in both commercial and residential settings as an alternative to the more toxic chemicals currently in use. Our research examines the effects of one of these repellents, rosemary oil, on chemoreception and locomotive behaviors in the common garden snail, Cornu aspersum. Snail behaviors were observed in plastic boxes that included varying concentrations of rosemary oil (none, low and high; 9 or 10 replicates each), with emphasis on the overall distance traveled and ability to find food. Results showed the presence of rosemary oil decreased the movement of the snails in comparison to the control treatment (no rosemary oil), with no difference between the rosemary concentrations. Although few snails reached the food, those reaching the food were all in the no-rosemary treatment.
Awards and/or presentations: 
Breedlove, Gates. "Rosemary Oil Makes Snails Sluggish." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK.

Bradlee Borgfeldt

OU Major: 
Spanish
Research Mentor: 
Julie Ward
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project: 
Portraying the representation and oppression of women in Latin America through three renditions of the Greek Antigone.
Awards and/or presentations: 
Borgfeldt, Bradlee. "The Oppression of Women and the Representation of Three Antigonas." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK.

Alex Arment

OU Major: 
Mechanical Engineering
Research Mentor: 
Yingtao Liu
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project: 
The goal of the project is to create a system that will allow prosthetic users who have lost their hand(s) to receive tactile feedback from their prosthetics. This will be achieved by utilizing piezoelectric film, a material that produces voltage in response to pressure. Sensors will be scalable, so as to be able to fit the contours of the hand, and to allow various resolutions. Accompanying circuitry will allow data from the piezoelectric sensors to be collected and processed in a small, self-contained unit that can be worn with the prosthetic. The sensors will be integrated into a glove to be worn over the prosthetic, or into the prosthetic itself.
Awards and/or presentations: 
Arment, Alex. "Piezoelectrics In the Restoration of Touch Sensing in Prosthetic Users." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK.

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