The Phycological Society of America seeks to raise $25,000 to aid student research and education. Please read more about the PSA fundraiser at this website.
PSA Grants Help Students
The Phycological Society of America supports graduate student member education and development through three programs: the Croasdale Fellowships, the Hoshaw Travel Awards, and the Grants-in-Aid of Research. Specific information about these grants are provided on their respective web pages. Listed below are personal examples of how PSA grants have assisted students.
2011 GRANTS-IN-AID OF RESEARCH RECIPIENTS
Grants-in-Aid of Research awards are made in amounts of up to $1,500 by the Phycological Society of America in support of graduate student research in any area of phycology.
Lindsey setting up a transect.
Advisor: John Bruno - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA
I used the PSA Grant in Aid of Research funding to support my work on macroalgal community dynamics in the Galapagos Islands. My research focuses on how top-down (consumers) and bottom-up (nutrients, temperature) effects influence algal community dynamics throughout the archipelago. I have 12 sites throughout the Islands that I monitor annually with standard survey methodology (fish and urchin counts, benthic substrate cover, iguanas and crabs censuses, etc.). I used the award for travel to the Galapagos Islands in summer 2012.
Sam in the field.
Advisor: Morgan Vis - Ohio University, Athens, OH, USA
Funding was provided by the Phycological Society of America (PSA) for supply costs associated with the project entitled "Use of periphyton stoichiometry and ion exchange resins for high resolution stream phosphorous monitoring". Laboratory and field studies were conducted to test the feasibility of using periphyton stoichiometry (carbon: phosphorus ratios) and ion exchange resins (phosphorus) for monitoring of stream water phosphorus content. The carbon:phosphorus ratio in the periphyton reflected environmental stress with periphyton from streams with lower concentrations of phosphorus having higher carbon: phosphorus ratios and vice versa. Ion exchange resins were sensitive to a wide range of phosphate concentrations and duration of study. This research using periphyton stoichiometry and ion exchange resins is ongoing with the preliminary studies showing very positive results for the utility of these methods for long-term, accurate monitoring of phosphate concentration in streams.
Brendan maintaining yeast reactor setup on the rocky shore of Nahant, MA
Advisor: Matthew Bracken - Northeastern University, Nahant, MA
My research focuses on understanding how biodiversity may act as a buffer against the anticipated effects of climate change. In particular, I am interested in the impact of increased CO2 concentrations on tide pool communities in Nahant, Massachusetts. Through my PSA GIAR award, I was able to set up a field enrichment system to deliver CO2 to tide pools as low tide. Tide pools are particularly interesting due to their sensitivity to fluxes in CO2 despite the large tidal and diurnal swings experienced in these habitats. This system that I have developed provides a novel, field-based approach to examine how these communities may respond to the stressor of elevated CO2.
Advisor: Robert C. Graham - University of California, Riverside, CA, USA
What determines diversity of edaphic cyanobacteria in terrestrial ecosystems is largely unknown. Arid ecosystems are extremely attractive to study this question due to the greater occurrence and richer diversity of soil algae in these vegetation poor environments. With the help of the PSA Grant-in-Aid of Research I applied the pyrosequencing technique to investigate soil cyanobacterial communities within a geomorphic framework. The award allowed me to investigate five landforms varying in land surface characteristics of an alluvial fan landscape in the Mojave Desert. These landforms vary on mesoscale levels (scale of 5-100 m2), and differ in age and topography (2 geomorphically young, 2 geomorphically old, 1 naturally disturbed). Preliminary data analysis suggested that richness of cyanobacterial communities significantly varies among the five landforms. Geomorphically young landforms with high topography had the richest cyanobacterial communities including many heterocytous taxa whereas disturbed landforms and topographically flat and old landforms were poor in cyanobacterial richness with little to no heterocytous cyanobacteria. With the help of the PSA-GIAR I will be able to demonstrate in a peer-reviewed journal article that sampling based on mesoscale geomorphic land surface patterns clarifies the linkage between soil cyanobacterial community composition and observable land surface characteristics.
Eric collecting in the field.
Advisor: Morgan Vis - Ohio University, Athens, OH, USA
The PSA Grant-in-Aid of Research enabled me to complete a systematic revision of the freshwater red algae in Batrachospermum section Helminthoidea. Using these funds I finished sequencing the mitochondrion cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) barcode region and the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) for 59 specimens. By combining these, with a dataset for the plastid ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase large subunit (rbcL), I was able to construct a robust phylogeny using a species level marker from all three genetic compartments within the cell. The results from this research are currently being prepared for a manuscript that will revise the taxonomy of section Helminthoidea, including the description three new species and establishment of a new genus.
Kate extracting CCA in the lab at USF and out-planting the substrata at 110' at our site Southeast Bonaparte, in Antarctica.
Advisor: Charles Amsler - University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA
The near shore environment of the subtidal western Antarctic Peninsula is composed of many diverse benthic communities, typically dominated by macroalgae in the shallow habitats and in deeper waters by dense invertebrate assemblages. Crustose coralline algae (CCA) are important contributors to reef structure and community dynamics world-wide, and ubiquitous in shallow community assemblages along the western Antarctic Peninsula. Chemical cues associated with CCA play a large role in establishment of invertebrate assemblages on tropical reefs in particular. To determine whether CCA play a similar role on Antarctic reefs, cell wall molecules from three common Antarctic species were extracted, reattached to artificial substrates, and out-planted for a year to examine invertebrate recruitment along the western Antarctic Peninsula. The research supported by Phycological Society of Americas' Grant in Aid of Research was done at USF in and Palmer Station. The money provided deferred the chemical and hardware costs for the experiment.
Xian in the field, collecting epilithic brown algae from a rock.
Advisor: Kenneth Karol - New Work Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY, USA and John Wehr - Fordham University, New York, NY, USA
With the blooming of modern molecular techniques, more and more attention has been placed on studying the molecular aspects of algal species. However, the phylogenetics of freshwater brown algae is still unknown. With the PSA research award, I was able to conduct Next Generation Sequence to assemble the mitochondrial and plastid genomes of Pleurocladia lacustris (SAG 25.93). This is the first freshwater brown algal species to have both organellar genomes fully sequenced. This award was essential for me to get the core part of my research data, allowing me to proceed with next step of my research, the phylogeographic study. Thanks to the PSA award, I was able to confirm the debated taxonomic placement of P. lacustris, as well as compare and understand the dynamics of organellar genomes among different brown algae.
- 2012 CROASDALE FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENTS
The Hannah T. Croasdale Fellowships are designed to encourage graduate students to broaden their phycological training by defraying the costs of attending phycology courses at biological field stations. The maximum amount awarded is $1,500.
Catharina sampling diatoms in a bog
Advisor: John Wehr - Fordham University, NY, USA
The Hannah T. Croasdale Fellowship allowed me to travel to Iowa Lakeside Laboratory in Milford, Iowa to take the Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms course. During this month-long intensive course, I learned to collect, process, and identify diatoms. In three weeks, I went from learning to use a microscope to look at diatom slides to having correctly identified, marked, and labeled 40 diatoms species. Because I brought prepared diatoms from some of my study sites, I was able to learn to identify diatoms that I will see frequently while conducting research for my dissertation. In addition, I gained a greater understanding and appreciation for the importance of diatoms in an ecological context. Lectures on diatom ecology informed my thinking about algal research and peaked my interest in nutritional quality research. This opportunity helped me to focus and plan my dissertation and will continue to help me throughout my future career in phycology.
Tye diving with a sea urchin
Advisor:Mark Hixon - Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA
The Hannah T. Croasdale fellowship enabled me to attend the 2012 Tropical Field Phycology course at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Bocas del Toro, Panama. As a graduate student from a fish ecology lab, I had very little previous experience in phycology; needless to say, the intensive and rich training I received throughout the field course was truly invaluable to me and the success of my dissertation research. In both field and laboratory settings, I learned an extensive variety of practical skills and techniques for sampling, accurate identification, and proper preservation of macroalgae. I rapidly gained experience identifying Caribbean macroalgal species underwater in situ, which prepared me for the underwater visual sampling of macroalgae that I conducted in the Bahamas for my dissertation research a few weeks after completing the field phycology course. Having undergone this phycological training and experience, I am now able to investigate the community-level effects of Pacific red lionfish on macroalgae throughout invaded Caribbean reefs. Finally, perhaps one of the greatest benefits that I gained from my field course experience was the opportunity to network with experts and other graduate students in the field of phycology from all over the world, with whom I hope to foster potential future collaborations.
Ruth examining algae with her classmates and professor in the field
Advisor: Charles Amsler - University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL, USA
Ruth McDowell, a 4th year Ph.D. candidate at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, used the Hannah T. Croasdale Fellowship to attend the 2012 Marine Algae course at Friday Habor Laboratories. She spent 5 weeks immersed in macroalgal study, collection, identification, and experimentation. She was able to dive in a kelp forest to aid in creating a comprehensive macroalgal species list and conducted an independent project using an oximeter to measure the wound-induced oxidative burst of the kelp Saccharina latissima.