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K-State Today

November 12, 2015



Two K-State biology students place highly at Sigma Xi research conference

By Communications and Marketing

Jacob Alsdurf, left and Matthew Galliart, right.

K-State graduate students Matthew Galliart and Jacob Alsdurf were recognized Oct. 24 for their superior research presentations at the Sigma Xi student research conference in Kansas City. Sigma Xi is the international honor society for scientists and engineers.

Galliart, master's student in biology, made the highest ranked presentation in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology category in the graduate student division. His presentation was "Adaptive Trait Variation and Genetic Divergence of a Widespread Grass Andropogon gerardii across a Great Plains' Climate Gradient." His co-authors are K-State faculty members Paul St. Amand, Jesse Poland, Nora Bello and Mary Knapp; K-State students Sofia Sabates, senior in biology, and Hannah Tetreault, doctoral student in biology; Sara Baer, David Gibson and Laurel Wilson, all from Southern Illinois University; and Brian Maricle, Fort Hays State University. Loretta Johnson, professor of biology at K-State, is a co-author, the project's advisor and president of K-State's Sigma Xi chapter.

Alsdurf, doctoral student in biology, ranked as the runner-up for his presentation in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology category in the graduate student division. His presentation was "Phenotypic Distribution Models Incorporate Ecotypic Variation of the Dominant Prairie Grass Andropogon gerardii in Response to Climate Change in Midwest Grasslands." His co-authors are K-State's Johnson, Bello and Knapp, as well as Adam Smith, Missouri Botanical Garden. Johnson also is the project's advisor.

Alsdurf also placed into a five-way tie for runner-up for the Student Choice Award. The students participating in the conference select their peers for this award, sponsored by the District of Columbia Sigma Xi chapter. As a runner-up, he won $50.

Because of their rankings, Galliart and Alsdurf were awarded medals from Sigma Xi President Mark Peeples. Galliart also received an invitation to become a member of Sigma Xi through nominations from the society's board of directors. The board will pay for the first year of membership dues and initiation fees for the students who accept this invitation. Alsdurf already joined Sigma Xi earlier this year. The board will pay for a year of his membership dues.

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