The Seminar Series in Biology to host graduate student presentations Friday

The Seminar Series in Biology will host presentations by graduate students Friday, Feb. 16, at 4 p.m. in Science I, room 121. Hosted by the Biology Department, this series is offered several times throughout the semester to provide our student community with opportunities to learn about scientific research and professions. Speakers may include our own department faculty or students, as well as biologists and other professionals from elsewhere. All are welcome.


Featured presenters:

David Andrews is a graduate of SUNY ESF. He has worked in various fisheries positions including recording quota monitoring and stock assessments of ground fish, as a fisheries technician with the MA DMF, and monitoring river herring spawning runs along with acoustic studies of striped bass, American shad and cush.

David’s presentation, “Butterfield Lake NY,” will examine some unique management concerns including coliform bacteria pollution, an unsuccessful walleye stocking program and multiple invasive species. David will be discussing how he plans to address each of the management areas; fisheries, nutrients, macrophytes and coliform pollution. He will also touch on the challenges of completing multiple projects, each with the potential to be a masters thesis in its own right, within the time we have available.


Samantha Cassata is a graduate of the SUNY Oneonta Biology Program. Aside from a strong interest in insects, Samantha has worked on the Croton River Survey. Samantha’s presentation is titled “Identification of fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) at Thayer Farm, Otsego County, NY.”

Thayer Farm, a 256-acre property, is home to hundreds of species, including fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae). Prior to an intraspecific examination of genetic diversity in luciferin and luciferase, exact species identifications needed to be established. A combination of morphological and molecular traits was used to identify species. Based on available keys, 8 Photinus species were identified. Examination of a 600 bp region of Cytochrome Oxidase I, 2 Photinus species were identified, including many individuals of P. macdermotti, which was not included on semi-regional keys. Some molecular identifications (based on n-BLAST similarity) may be suspect, as some GenBank results suggested multiple species names that differed by less than 1% (well below insect species boundaries for this gene).

Hayley Dower is a graduate of the SUNY Oneonta Biology Program. Hayley’s presentation, “Population Dynamics of Spawning Walleye in Otsego Lake, NY,” will examine the result of NYSDEC stocking efforts of 0.6 million Walleye in Otsego Lake from 2000 through 2014. The goal of the proposed research is to provide information about the recently established walleye population in Otsego Lake NY for regional fishery managers. Dower will 1) investigate spawning behavior and demographics (e.g., sex ratio, age, and size structure), 2) estimate annual survival rates, and 3) estimate abundance of Walleye in spawning tributaries and in the lake. This will be achieved by applying passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags that allow for the identification of individual fish, and physically recapturing Walleye throughout the year to inform quantitative estimates of population parameters. This work will build on previous efforts and provide information necessary for making informed resource management decisions.