Each year, Sigma Xi gives out grants for students to continue their research. This is through their Sigma Xi Grants in Aid of Research program.
Kammie Voves, a biology graduate student, was awarded $750 this year.
About her research
Voves investigates food and diet relationships between turtles.
Alligator snapping turtle populations are drastically declining due to overharvesting for meat and destruction of habitat. Through a hatchery in Oklahoma, more juvenile alligator snapping turtles are being reintroduced into the wild.
One river where they are being reintroduced has seven other species of turtles. Voves wants to see how the reintroduction affects the river and other turtles.
“The alligator snapping turtle grows to be very large and capable of eating large prey, even other turtles, so I’m interested to see how their presence might affect the other turtles’ diets,” Voves said.
She says that understanding the turtles’ diets may inform us about the role they play in the ecosystem, like recycling dead leaves and carcasses.
Voves will use this grant for stable isotope analysis.
“Basically, it operates on the idea that ‘you are what you eat,’” Voves said.
This can infer how high up the food chain a turtle is eating.
“I’m super interested to learn more about how so many turtles of so many different species can all coexist,” Voves said.
Dr. Day Ligon, professor of biology, is Vove’s adviser.