Biology student’s research places third at national meeting

Apr 28, 2022 | Applied and Natural Sciences, General News, Research, Students

Annabeth Rawls, a senior in Biology from Monroe, placed third at the recent Benthic Ecology Meeting. The national meeting is used as a way for students and professionals to exchange scientific information focusing on marine ecosystems that inhabit the lowest level of a body of water and to foster the next generation of benthic biologists.

Rawls analyzed videos and data over the course of two years to conduct research on blue crabs and the impacts pesticides can have on blue crab behavior. The research began before the COVID-19 Pandemic and was completed with the help of Dr. Jennifer Hill, an Assistant Professor of Biological Science.

“My research led us to believe that small concentrations of pesticide can make an impact on blue crabs and their behavior,” Rawls said. “The higher concentrations of pesticides are more likely to harm those crabs.”

With the increasing use of pesticides in Louisiana, there is a rising concern about the impacts pesticides such as fipronil can have on the ecosystems that inhabit the many bodies of water within the state.

“We hope our research encourages others to use alternatives to pesticides, fipronil testing in Louisiana, and more research in the area of behavior and pesticides,” Rawls said.

Rawls’s poster presentation placed third out of 100 other presenters, she received $100 and a certificate for her research. As an undergraduate student presenting amongst graduate students from across the nation, Rawls said she felt honored to have received this recognition.

“This validated all of the research I have been working on,” Rawls said. “I am thankful for the opportunity to network and share my hard work with like-minded people within my field.”