Blog - Learning in Action

CWI Student Takes Top Honor at Idaho Academy of Science and Engineering Symposium

April 1, 2015
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Tyrell Styhl, a sophomore natural resources major at the College of Western Idaho (CWI), claimed Best Paper Presentation for an Undergraduate Student at the 57th Annual Meeting & Symposium of the Idaho Academy of Science and Engineering last month in Boise. He won for his paper titled Entrainment of Freshwater Mollusks: A Bioenergetic Sink for Primary Consumers which was result of two years of faculty-mentored research at CWI. The full text of Ty’s abstract is below.

Ty is an excellent example of the scholarly activity that undergraduate students can pursue while at CWI. He maintains a 3.9 overall GPA and has been honored on the Dean’s List and President’s List each semester while attending our college. Ty was a National Institute of Health INBRE Research Intern, he is a member Phi Theta Kappa at CWI, and is Vice-President of the Biology Club. He’ll transfer to the University of Idaho in August to continue his studies and research in fish and wildlife biology.

We could not be more proud of Ty and all of our CWI students that have been involved INBRE, LSAMP, summer REU programs, student clubs and governance, and other scholarly work. They are all contributing to a rich academic culture at CWI and navigating the course for future students to follow. Congratulations Ty! 

Abstract
Entrainment of Freshwater Mollusks: A Bioenergetic Sink for Primary Consumers

The conservation and management of western freshwater mollusks has been the focus of considerable attention as western populations grow; challenging conservation and management efforts. Managing these important freshwater resources effectively requires information regarding the natural history of molluscan populations and communities. We investigated mortality factors influencing the community of freshwater mollusks in the Boise River, Idaho, USA, as well as impacts to higher trophic levels such as fish, semi-aquatic mammals, and birds. Specifically we conducted a systematic survey of mollusks entrained in 1km of the Phyllis Canal in south-western Idaho; a major irrigation canal diverting water from the Boise River. Results demonstrate that ten species from three families of freshwater mollusks were entrained in the Phyllis Canal in the 2013 irrigation season. An estimated 21 Kg of freshwater mollusks were entrained in the 78 Km canal. Stagnicola elodes constituted 85% of the 483 individuals collected resulting in an uneven estimation for Simpson’s D and E. Implications of the current work are discussed and recommendations for future work are advanced.