ULM logo
ULM biology graduate students win research awards

Published May 26, 2022

Association of Southeastern Biologists logo over an image of a bridge and river at dusk.

A University of Louisiana Monroe biology graduate student received the prestigious E.P. Odum Award at the 83rd annual meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists in Little Rock, Ark.

Given annually for the best student oral presentation on ecological research, the award was given to Paurava Thakore, a native of Dayton, Ohio, for his presentation titled, “Loss of relict oak forests along coastal Louisiana: A multiyear analyses using Google Earth Engine.” The research highlights the impact of changing climate and major hurricanes on the Chenier forests along coastal Louisiana.

“We have collected data on the cheniers for close to a decade and the changes we notice are disturbing to say the least,” said Dr. Joydeep Bhattacharjee, who serves as faculty advisor for Thakore. “Paurava has also won other awards and I am honored to have him as a graduate student in my lab. His achievements have made all of us extremely proud.”

More than 568 participants joined Thakore at the conference. The award was conferred by the Southeast Chapter of the Ecological Society of America. It is the highest award conferred to a student presentation by the chapter.

“I’m honored to receive this award, and I hope these findings are used to practice the preservation of this unique ecosystem,” Thakore said.

Another ULM biology graduate student, Nelle Jenkins from Tolar, Texas, was awarded the Dr. A. Floyd Scott Student Oral Presentation Award. This cash award is given to the best student oral presentation in herpetology at the ASB annual meeting.

“I am honored to be the chosen recipient of this award; the caliber of research at this conference was phenomenal. I was so thankful to be a part of this group,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins studies wildlife disease ecology in ULM Biology Professor Dr. Kim Marie Tolson’s research laboratory. Her presentation was titled “Investigation of a shell-rot disease affecting freshwater turtles in a northeast Louisiana bayou,” which characterizes an, as yet, undiagnosed disease in turtles of Bayou DeSiard.

“This recognition exemplifies the dedication of the biology faculty and the amazing work our graduate students are pursuing,” said Dr. Anne Case Hanks, director of the ULM School of Sciences.