Department of Biological Sciences
These awards recognize outstanding contributions to the campus community. The winners were announced April 23 at the University Awards Ceremony. Congratulations to all of the faculty sponsors and student members for your service and for your accomplishments.
Cameron University held its annual Arbor Day observance in conjunction with Earth Day on April 22. Members of the Biology Club and Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society assisted with the planting of a Western Soapberry tree in Cameron Park.
Cameron University has earned designation from the National Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus USA for the second consecutive year. Dean Terry Conley stated, “The university has added more than 1,000 trees to campus in the past decade. We hope our annual Arbor Day observance inspires members of the community to become good stewards of the environment.”
The Western Soapberry is named for its use of the fruits. When crushed in water the berries create suds that were used by Native Americans to wash clothes and as a varnish. The benefits of planting trees are numerous. Trees play an important role in filtering urban storm water runoff, increase energy efficiency and help maintain comfortable indoor temperatures in nearby buildings, absorb pollutants, release oxygen, and help combat climate change.
Artwork by Cameron art major Heather Shea Morefield exhibited in the Science Complex Gallery.
Ms. Morefield’s exhibit includes lithographs and paintings that demonstrate the wide range of her talents. As an artist, Ms. Morefield states that she draws her inspiration from a variety of sources, including nature and the Wichita Mountains. Observers enjoy the enchanting dash of whimsy she adds to some of her works. Heather will discuss her work at a reception April 9 at 3:00 pm.
In conjunction with “Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities,” Cameron University’s triennial academic festival, two Cameron student organizations, the Biology Club and the Botany Club, will present “Sustainable Gardening,” a workshop for gardening enthusiasts, on April 10. The workshop is from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Botany Lab, Sciences Complex Room 128. There is no charge to attend. For more information, contact Ron Gaines at 581-8001 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Department of Biology students, staff, and faculty inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi
Membership in Phi Kappa Phi is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and the top 7.5 percent of juniors. Inductees are expected to attain superior scholarship in all academic disciplines, promote intellectual life and the academic prestige of the university, and promote the elements of character that would stimulate others to pursue excellence.
Congratulations to the following students: Mariama Abramson, Victoria Boudiette, Angela Gibbons, Lyrics Goins, Saranah Isenberg, Renea Lawler, Jihyo Park, Sijalu Paudel, Jeremiah Scharfenberg, Nisha Wagle. Department of Biology Lab Coordinator Mary Pettit and faculty members Drs. Michaels Dunn and Husak were also inducted.
Dr. Roger Beachy – founder of the World Food Center, member of President Barack Obama's National Science Board, and recipient of the prestigious Wolf Prize in Agriculture – to present "The Future of Food in a Crowded World with a Changing Climate" on Monday, March 9
In conjunction with “Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities,” Cameron University’s triennial academic festival, the School of Science and Technology will present “The Future of Food in a Crowded World with a Changing Climate,” featuring plant biologist Dr. Roger Beachy, on Monday, March 9 at 7 p.m. The presentation will take place in the Goodyear Lecture Hall, Room 100, in the Sciences Complex and is open to the public at no charge.
In addition, students may visit with Dr. Beachy from 2:30-3:30 in the Sciences Complex Room 104. Faculty are invited to converse with Dr. Beachy in the Buddy Green Room of the MCC from 2:00-2:30.
Membership in Phi Kappa Phi is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and the top 7.5 percent of juniors. Inductees are expected to attain superior scholarship in all academic disciplines, promote intellectual life and the academic prestige of the university, and promote the elements of character that would stimulate others to pursue excellence. Congratulations to the following students:
Mariama Abramson, Brody Barker, Victoria Boudiette, Tynisha Crowder, Angela Gibbons, Lyrics Goins, Saranah Isenberg, Renea Lawler, Jeremy McAnerney, Jihyo Park, Sijalu Paudel, Jacob Quickle, Dallas Ross, Jeremiah Scharfenberg, Ruth Thurston, Nisha Wagle.
Darwin Day is a global celebration of science and reason held annually near the birthday of evolutionary biology Charles Darwin. This year CU will celebrate with Oklahoma Academy of Sciences President-Elect Dr. Stanley Rice from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Festivities will include lunch from 12–1 with both carnivorous and herbivorous options, a presentation from 1–2, and cake at 2. This event will be held in Science Complex Rm 105 and is sponsored by CU, Tri-Beta Biology Honor Society, and the CU Biology Club.
Cameron University is showcasing the work of senior art major Amanda Coates with a special exhibition in the Sciences Complex. Coates will present a gallery talk at 3 p.m. on Thursday, February 5 to introduce the exhibition, which focuses on marine life and nature. The exhibition will be on display through mid-March.
Each year, the Cameron University Alumni Association seeks to recognize outstanding junior and senior students who have excelled in their programs and their extracurricular activities. Selection of award recipients is based on three areas: academic achievements/honors; career-related experience, and extracurricular activities. Outstanding Aggies of Tomorrow epitomize the true value of a Cameron Aggie.
Dunn’s nomination cited the breadth of his accomplishments as a faculty member, including outstanding student evaluations of teaching, mentoring undergraduates in research and scholarly activities, mentoring students in carrying out service learning projects that benefit community partners, service to the university, service to the profession and an array of accomplishments in the area of scholarship, including continuously seeking external support for research that involves undergraduate students.
“I love teaching because I enjoy passing on the knowledge, concepts and questions that continually evolve in the dynamic science of biology,” Dunn says of his teaching philosophy. “I believe we are all students, and with patience, imagination and guidance, we can learn for the rest of our lives. As a teacher, I enjoy the role of guide, and I love the challenge of finding ways to reach all students, regardless of their backgrounds, interests or abilities, and as a student, I continue to learn by conducting original research. It is my sincerest hope that through this combination of teaching and discovery, I might inspire our students so that they too may experience the joys of life-long learning.”
Research Day at the Capitol is an annual event that is held in the State Capitol to inform the legislature and the public about the high-quality research conducted at Oklahoma's institutions of higher learning. Each year outstanding undergraduate students are selected to participate in this prestigious program.
This year, CU biology major Kathryn Parsley will present her paleobotanical research on a fossil lycopsid from a salt marsh that existed approximately 342 million years ago in present-day northern Alabama. Kathryn's research, conducted in collaboration with CU's Dr. Mike Dunn, will provide valuable data and insight on the dispersal of pollen and spores during the poorly documented Mississipian Period of plant evolution.
Research Day at the Capitol 2015 will be held on March 31. Posters will be on display from 8 am to 1:20 pm in the State Capitol building. The event is sponsored by OK EPSCoR, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the National Science Foundation.
Dr. Mike Dunn, in collaboration with Debra Baker from the Museum of the Great Plains, re-opened the mammoth site near Grandfield, OK and one tusk was excavated. That site has been closed for now. During the fall Dunn hopes to take part in an excavation of Bison sp. materials exposed in Elmer Thomas Park in Lawton, OK.
Cameron biology student begins internship at the Museum of the Great Plains
Kathryn Parsley, a senior organismal biology student in the Department of Biological Sciences, will begin a year-long paid internship at the Museum of the Great Plains. Her work will involve sorting and cataloguing prehistoric human remains that have been collected by U.S. Bureau of Reclamation archeologists in various locations in the central United States. Many of the remains come from U.S. Corps of Engineers facilities and have been exposed due to low lake levels caused by the long drought in the southwest U.S. Kathryn’s internship is being funded by the Bureau of Reclamation and developed out of the longstanding relationship between the Department of Biological Sciences and the Museum of the Great Plains.
Cameron biology professors present their research at national meetings
Dr. Mike Husak will be presenting at the upcoming joint meeting of the American Ornithologists Union/Cooper Ornithological Society/Canadian Society of Ornithologists in Estes Park, CO. His presentation is titled: "Comparing Nesting Success and Predation Rates of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers among Three Habitat Types.”
Dr. Husak will also be giving an invited seminar at Kennesaw State University titled: "Sexual Selection versus Functional Morphology in a Social Monogamous Passerine: Scissor-tailed Flycatchers as a Model Organism," and another invited seminar at Missouri State University.
Dr. Mike Dunn was an invited speaker in "The Miocene Vegetation and Environment of Western North America" colloquium at the Botanical Society of America meetings at Boise, Idaho.
Cameron University Biology professor Mike Husak assists National Geographic Photo Ark project
Mike Husak, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences assisted photographer and journalist Joel Sartore with his National Geographic Photo Ark project this summer. Mike is one of a handful of researchers in the world who can consistently trap Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, which were the subject of Mr. Sartore’s photography during his recent trip to Oklahoma.
The mission of the Biological Sciences Department is to provide high quality instruction to students at the undergraduate level with emphasis on active learning, problem solving, and critical thinking. The department is committed to improve knowledge in various fields of biology through research and scholarly activities and to transfer that knowledge to our students and colleagues. Our vision is to achieve excellence in education through creative use of traditional and innovative instructional methods, technology, and research. The faculty participates in outreach to the state and nation through services to the university community, to public, to governmental and industrial sectors, and to professional societies.