Spotlights

Amanda Kelley

OU Major: 
Biology
Research Mentor: 
Elizabeth Bergey
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project:

For a snail, smell is the prominent sense, but using visual cues may be important when differentiating the surroundings of an environment. The purpose of this experiment was to test the ability of land snail Cornu aspersum to follow trail scents and visual cues to find its preferred food, cucumber. Ninety snails were fed cucumbers and carrots for two days prior to testing. Each snail was exposed to three trails of the same scent that lead to three different food vials; one of cucumber, one of carrot, and one that was empty. Thirty snails were exposed per each “flavor” of trail (cucumber; carrot; water). Snails that successfully followed trails to a food vial chose cucumber the most, although many snails did not follow a trail. Results show that snails may not rely as heavily on sight than smell when searching for food in an environment of conflicting smells and visuals.

Awards and/or presentations:

Kelley, Amanda. "Seeing is believing? How snails find food." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK.

Published Work:

n/a

Samuel Jett

OU Major: 
Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Research Mentor: 
Chung-Hao Lee
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project:

Recently, three-dimensional computational models have been used to understand the mechanics of heart valve diseases. To improve the fidelity of these models, precise characterization of the regionally-dependent material properties of the valve leaflets is essential. To characterize this regional variation, we dissected the porcine heart valve tissues and sectioned the anterior leaflets from the mitral and tricuspid valves into six discretized regions (n=10, each). We then characterized their responses to simulated physiological loads through biaxial testing methods. Results show a regionally-dependent mechanical response both in the degree of anisotropy and in tissue rigidity, with regions nearer the valve annulus exhibiting a more isotropic and stiff response than the central regions. These findings allow the development of spatially-varied constitutive models to adequately represent the leaflet mechanics, which will eventually improve the fidelity of heart valve models and their...

Awards and/or presentations:

Jett, Samuel. "A Study on the Spatial Variance in Heart Valve Mechanics." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK.

Published Work:

n/a

Sydney Houston

OU Major: 
Spanish
Research Mentor: 
Julie Ward
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project:

I will be sharing my experiences as a student with a Spanish major while also presenting what really goes on in the language/Spanish department as a student.

Awards and/or presentations:

Houston, Sydney. "Misconceptions about Spanish Students." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK.

Published Work:

n/a

Jacquelyn Hooper

OU Major: 
Spanish and Political Science
Research Mentor: 
Julie Ward
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project:

I will be presenting my Spanish Capstone project, which centers on the femicide (the genocide of young, poor, migrant women) in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Specifically, I will be examining the apathy of the politicians of Chihuahua toward the horror of feminicidio due to their relations to drug cartels, their economic reliance on their maquiladora factories, and the cultural gender violence of the northern border region of Mexico.

Awards and/or presentations:

Hooper, Jacquelyn. "Feminicidio y Apatía." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK.

Published Work:

n/a

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.

Published Work:

n/a

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.

Published Work:

n/a

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.

Published Work:

n/a

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.

Published Work:

n/a

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.

Published Work:

n/a

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.

Published Work:

n/a

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