ABU student receives research scholarship

PHILIPPI – Alderson Broaddus University congratulates junior environmental science major Jeremiah Goudy on receiving the 2014 Colonel Lee B. Ledford Scholarship from the Appalachian College Association. Goudy applied for the scholarship to fund a research project studying the Louisiana Waterthrush, a species of warbler that summers and raises it young in the northeastern part of America.

Goudy intends to begin his research following preliminary planning including contacting the research site for permission and permits this semester. However, the majority of the project will be conducted over the summer. The project is expected to take a total of 12 weeks between finding sites, locating nests in these sites, observing the nests, collecting samples, testing, and creating a food web.

“I plan to create a food web for the Waterthrush by using SIAR (stable isotope analysis in R); R is a free statistical program,” says Goudy. “By testing samples of tail feathers from first-year birds and samples of the invertebrates they eat we can find the relative proportion of the isotopes of carbon and nitrogen in both prey items and the birds. With this information it is possible to reconstruct the relative proportions of each prey item consumed by the Waterthrush.”

Conducting a research project is a requirement for all science majors and getting a scholarship is a necessary step for completing it. The scholarship is important for developing Goudy’s research because in order to map the food web, various stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen must be known. Determining these requires running samples through a mass spectrometer. These samples will cost roughly $2,000 and a portion of the scholarship will go towards these tests as well as assist with the cost of living throughout the length of the project.

“I ultimately hope to map a food web of the Louisiana Waterthrush will can be used for future conservation efforts in West Virginia, and the entire northeastern part of America,” said Goudy. “I also hope to publish my finding in an ornithological journal.”

Goudy is from southwestern Pennsylvania where he originally became interested in the environment from hiking through the local forests. After graduating from Alderson Broaddus University, Jeremiah plans to attend graduate school to further his learning in either environmental sciences or ornithology. He has some experience in bird banding after taking a course in ornithology and hopes to become a Master Bander and a Falconer in the future. Goudy is advised by Dr. Ross Brittain, Dean of the College of Science, Technology and Mathematics at Alderson Broaddus University.

The mission of Alderson Broaddus University is to provide its students with the highest quality education, striving to prepare students to succeed in their chosen disciplines and to fulfill their roles in a diverse society as well-rounded and responsible citizens. To learn more, please visit: www.ab.edu