2022 FNR Poster Competition

Annually FNR holds a judged poster competition on the second Friday of April. During the event, undergraduate and graduate students present posters on their research and extension activities. Cash prizes are awarded to the top posters in 1) undergraduate research, 2) undergraduate extension, 3) graduate research and 4) graduate extension.

This year, undergraduate and graduate students entered 24 posters in the FNR Poster Competition on April 8, 2022. Thank you to all of the entrants, judges and attendees for making it a successful event.

For more information on the FNR Poster Competition, please contact the faculty leads: Dr. Mo Zhou and Dr. Mike Saunders. ADA-accessible PDFs of winning posters for this and previous FNR Poster Competitions are available for viewing at FNR Annual Poster Competition.

*Please note that all information presented in these research posters is based on preliminary analyses and should not be cited until the full work has been published in a scientific peer-reviewed article.

Undergraduate Research Placing

Summer Brown

Summer Brown

Undergraduate Research 1st Place winner
Co-Authors: Royal, Shelby M. - Burgmeier, Nick G. - Williams, Rod N.

Title: Effect of density on growth rates of captive Eastern Hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis)

Globally, greater than half of amphibian species have suffered significant population declines and are now listed as threatened or endangered. Captive rearing has become a powerful management tool to address dwindling population numbers. While captive rearing has been used effectively for a small subset of species recovery programs for decades, captive rearing remains in its infancy for other species, like the Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis). To this end, much remains unknown regarding critical components of ex situ approaches for this declining species. We are conducting a seven-month study to assess the impact captive densities have on Eastern Hellbender growth rates. We plan to assess the difference in growth rates for 91 hellbenders using three density trials: high (22 hellbenders/tank), medium (15 and 14 hellbenders/tank), and low (9 hellbenders/tank). We will collect data bimonthly on growth rates including weight, snout-vent length (SVL), and total length (TL) for all individuals. We predict the low density will have the greatest growth rates due to reduced resource competition. Determining the optimal captive-rearing density to maximize facility space, personnel efforts, and hellbender growth rates will help ensure future success for the recovery of the species.

Title: Stable Isotopic Analysis of Alewife Otolith Cores
Presenter: Daniel Burns
Author: Daniel J. Burn & Les D. Warren

Title: Sequencing of Vulture Carrion Consumption Pattern
Presenter: Amanda Herbert
Author: Amanda M. Herbert, Patrick A. Zollner, Marian L. Wahl, Landon R. Jones, Department of Wildlife,Fisheries, and Aquaculture - Mississippi State University, Grant N. Burcham

Title: Testing the capability of the SM4 Mini in different microhabitats for detection of the northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans)
Presenter: Megan Kiselica
Author: Megan A. Kiselica, Marissa M. Langer, Addison G. Allen, Elizabeth A. Flaherty

Title: Impacts of environmental variables on detection distance for acoustic monitoring of southern flying squirrels
Presenter: Megan Kiselica
Author: Megan A. Kiselica, Marissa M. Langer, Addison G. Allen, Elizabeth A. Flaherty

Graduate Extension Placing

Francis Asare

Francis Asare

Graduate Extension 1st Place winner
Co-Authors: Gazo R - Haviarova E. - Owusu - Francis W., Council for Scientific and Industrial Research- Forestry Research Institute of Ghana- Kumasi, Ashanti- Ghana

Title: Promoting the use of advanced technologies for sustainable charcoal and biochar production in developing countries.

This study promotes the use of metal kilns/retorts for sustainable charcoal and biochar production among small-scale farmers in Indiana and charcoal producers in Ghana, West Africa. The aim is to come up with a universal retort/kiln that is highly efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly to effectively process biochar and charcoal irrespective of the kind/type of feedstock. Desk study was used to review available biochar conversion technologies in Indiana alongside semi-structured questionnaires and interviews to gather information from 10 selected regions in Ghana. Three conversion technologies common to both biochar and charcoal production (Dartmoor Dragon Retort, Ring of Fire and Oregon kilns) were selected based on their design properties. Characteristics of these selected conversion technologies to be compared are feedstock type and size, cutting lists and cost of manufacturing, gas circulation and emissions, mode of operation and skills needed, reproducibility, conversion time, labor involved, efficiencies, and quality of biochar/charcoal produced. Prototyping and Manufacturing will be experimented at the Purdue Agriculture Research Facility to access its feasibility and efficiency based on defined characteristics. Data will be analyzed with R- Statistics, Excel, and PAST software. Results will be presented in tables and figures. Necessary improvements will be made and a final universal design that will be expected to satisfy about 80%-100% of the conditions and requirements defined earlier will be proposed. Findings will be simplified as an extension output and made available to the public, and relevant agencies for interpretation and implementation towards sustainable agriculture and charcoal production.

Title: A Quantitative Study of Skill Decay for E-Learning and In-Person Safety Training Methods for Table Saws.
Presenter: Daniel Bollock
Authors: Daniel Bollock, Rado Gazo

Title: Performance of Pure and Hybrid Butternut in Mixed-Species Plantings
Presenter: Caleb Kell
Authors: Caleb Kell, Douglass Jacobs

Title: Hybrid CLT Panels Performance Testing Obtained from the First Indiana Hardwood CLT Structure
Presenter: Jue Mo
Authors: Jue Mo, Eva Haviarova

Title: Restoration Exercise Equipment for Aging Population Made of Hardwood
Presenter: Ting-Ho Tsai
Authors: Ting-Ho Tsai, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources - Purdue University, Eva Haviarova 

Graduate Research Placings

Scott Gula

Scott Gula

Graduate Research 1st Place Winner
Co-Authors: Couture, John J. - Ginzel, Matthew D

Title: Resistance against walnut twig beetle (Pityophthorus juglandis) in eastern black walnut (Juglans nigra)

Tree crown segmentation have always been a challenging task especially using remote sensing data. Fuzzy overlapping crown structures of hardwood trees makes accurate segmentation beyond impossible. Here, we propose a segmentation algorithm based on a region merging approach for a natural hardwood forest in Martell, Indiana. High resolution UAS RGB imagery collected during the peak fall season is utilized for successful crown segmentation. Exploiting the spectral variability of different hardwood trees helps in improving the segmentation results. We utilize a region splitting and merging approach based on a simple linear iterative clustering algorithm (SLIC) and a region adjacency graph (RAG) to segment tree crowns. We compare the results of the proposed approach with Mean shift segmentation, Fractal Net Evolution Approach (FNEA) and Multiresolution segmentation (MRS) integrated in Arcpro, ENVI and eCognition software respectively. The mIoU and the total crown count shows the superiority of the proposed method.

Anna Bushong

Anna Bushong

Graduate Research Tied 2nd Place Winner
Co-Authors: Hoskins, Tyler D. - Sepúlveda, Maria S

Title: Effects of Per- and Polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) on amphibian body condition: Is altered lipid metabolism the driver?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are globally distributed contaminants with widespread use in commercial and consumer products. Due to their aquatic and terrestrial life cycle, amphibians are particularly susceptible to sublethal effects of PFAS exposure, regularly exposed in the field. In amphibians experimentally-exposed to PFAS, body condition, measured using the scaled mass index (SMI), is often affected. In vitro and rodent studies have demonstrated that PFAS can alter lipid metabolism, but whether changes in fat stores can explain previously observed PFAS-mediated changes in amphibian SMI remains unexplored. Because lipids are a primary fuel for anuran metamorphosis and reproduction, understanding whether altered lipid metabolism can explain previously observed effects on SMI is critical. The objective of this work is to determine whether PFAS alter lipid deposition and if this correlates with observed changes in SMI in the amphibian model, Xenopus laevis. Additionally, we will explore changes in gene expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) and associated signaling cascades, which have been hypothesized as mediators of PFAS-induced dysregulation of lipid homeostasis. Our data will aid in mechanistic understanding of PFAS toxicity in amphibians and determine whether Xenopus may be an appropriate model for studying PFAS-mediated lipid homeostasis in vertebrates more broadly.

Sayon Ghosh

Sayon Ghosh

Graduate Research Tied 2nd Place Winner
Co-Authors: Zhou, Mo. - Saunders, Mike R.

Title: A Post Establishment Analysis of Various Thinning Decisions for Black Walnut Plantations

In the Central Hardwood Region, the quantity and quality of hardwood timber critically depend on forest management decisions made by landowners. A lack of research and tools that point to the right mix of management hinder investments and put at risk the ecological sustainability of hardwood forests on private land. We fill a key gap in hardwood management by building the first spatially explicit plantation model using black walnut as our focal species and perform a series of analyses to determine the economic performance of various thinning decisions. Using sound scientific evidence and tools we find that growth and yield of individual trees is influenced by synergistic pre-establishment and post establishment choices. We calibrate our spatially explicit individual tree model of growth and density dependent mortality based on user-defined initial conditions of planting density, early-stage survival, and crop tree choice. Later, we link our model with the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) to simulate the impact of management choices that include various future thinning intensities and frequencies. Thus, we demonstrate a rigorous quantitative framework to enhance the economic benefits from adaptive management of black walnut plantations.

Akane Abbasi

Akane O. Abbasi

Graduate Research Honorable Mention
Co-Authors: Christopher Woodall, Javier Gamarra, Cang Hui, Nicolas Picard, Thomas Ochuodho, Sergio de-Miguel, Rajeev Sahay, Songlin Fei, Alain Paquette, Han Chen, Y. Han, Ann Catlin and Jingjing Liang

Title: Forests migrated faster than tree species across North America

Mounting evidence suggests that geographic ranges of tree species worldwide are shifting under global environmental changes. Little is known, however, about whether and how this substantial migration of tree species may cause an overall type of forest as an ensemble of one or more tree species to migrate out of its geographic range. Here, using ground-sourced forest inventory data from 596,282 sample plots with repeated measurements, we classified forested regions in North America into eight biomes and 43 forest types, and further quantified forest migration – the shift in the geographic range of these forest types over the past 50 years. Across the continent, forest types on average migrated 86.5 km per decade, more than three times as fast as the average of their constituent tree species (28.8 km per decade). In boreal and the Great Lakes regions, forest migration outpaced tree species range shift by more than 200 km per decade. We posit, based on the portfolio theory, that this marked difference is triggered by a predominantly positive covariance of tree species ranges and the change of species relative abundance under global change. These findings provide an urgently needed scientific basis for a new paradigm of adaptive forest management and conservation in mitigating the impacts of rapid forest migration.

Meredith Scherer

Meredith Scherer

Graduate Research Honorable Mention
Co- Authors: Burcham, Lucy E. - Coogan, Grace S. - Bushong, Anna G. - Hamilton, Matthew T. - Machery, Sini; Allmon, Elizabeth B. - Sepúlveda, Maria S.; Hoskins, Tyler D.

Title: Is toxicity of Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid mediated by salinity in Estuarine Larvae and Embryos?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of ubiquitous environmental contaminants commonly found in estuarine environments. Estuaries are dynamic systems with regular, dramatic fluctuations in abiotic factors such as salinity, dissolved oxygen, and temperature. Despite this, how abiotic factors mediate PFAS toxicity remains unexplored. We tested the hypothesis that salinity mediates toxicity of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in embryonic and larval sheepshead minnows (Cyprinodon variegatus; a model estuarine fish). In two factorial experiments, we exposed embryos through hatching and hatchlings to PFOS for 96 hours at 1, 10, 100, 1,000, and 10,000 parts per billion (ppb) across two salinity levels (10 and 30 parts per thousand (ppt)). In the embryonic exposure, we measured survival, size, and rate of development and in the larval exposure, measured survival and size. Although we found no effects on embryo survival, we observed increased time to hatch at 10,000 ppb PFOS, but no salinity by PFOS interactions. In contrast, larval survival was significantly reduced by PFOS, and PFOS was 3 times more toxic at 30 ppt relative to the 10 ppt salinity (LC50, 30 ppt = 1,108 ppb , LC50, 10 ppt = 3,106 ppb). Measured PFOS concentrations in water suggest that salinity may have influenced bioavailability of PFAS, which could explain the observed PFOS by salinity interaction on the larval LC50. Our results warrant more work aimed at assessing if/how PFAS toxicity is mediated by salinity and/or other factors that fluctuate under field conditions.

Title: Effects of PFAS and the Short Chain Replacement Polymer GenX on Infection Dynamics of Chytrid Fungus in Gray Treefrogs (Hyla versicolor)
Presenter: Evelyn M. Barragan
Authors: Evelyn M. Barragan, Tyler D. Hoskins, Allison Scott, Environmental Protection Agency: Matthew T. Hamilton, Lizz B. Allmon, Maria S. Sepúlveda

Title: Economic Contribution Analysis of Hardwood Industries in Indiana (2019)
Presenter: Dhruba Burlakoti 
Authors: Dhruba Burlakoti, Mo Zhou, Eva Haviarova, Shourish Chakravarty

Title: Accurate hardwood tree segmentation using UAS-RGB imagery
Presenter: Aishwarya Chandrasekaran
Authors: Aishwarya Chandrasekaran, Guofan Shao

Title: Exploring spatial distribution of dominant trees in Morgan-Monroe State Forest
Presenter: Bowen Li
Authors: Bowen Li, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources - Purdue University

Title: Invader species, not functional similarity, drives complex per-invader effects in a grassland community
Presenter: Andrea Nebhut
Authors: Andrea N. Nebhut, David U. Hooper, Department of Biology - Western Washington University, Jeffery S. Dukes

Title: FLAC Compression Ratio as a Low-Overhead Acoustic Index
Presenter: David Salvage
Authors: David Savage, Francisco Rivas, Bryan Pijanowski

Title: Evaluating the role of free-living nematodes found in black walnut on the Thousand Cankers Disease complex  
Presenter: Kelsey Tobin
Authors: Kelsey N. Tobin, Matthew D. Ginzel

Title: Central Hardwood Bark Image Dataset and Identification
Presenter: Charlie Warner 
Authors: Charles C. Warner, Rado Gazo, Fanyou Wu

Title: Synchrony of alewife, Alosa pseudoharengus, year-class strength in the Great Lakes region 
Presenter: Les Warren
Authors: Les D. Warren, Andrew E. Honsey, USGS Great Lakes Science Center, David B. Bunnell, Paris D. Collingsworth, Tomas O. Hook

Past Winners & More Awards

Undergraduate Winner

1st Place:
Stable Isotope Analysis Can Monitor the General Health of Mussel Populations
Authors: Alexander Hicks, Nancy Boedeker, Brant Fisher, Casey Maynard, Elizabeth Flaherty
Poster Abstract 

Graduate Research Winners

1st Place:
Oil Induced Cardiac Effects in Embryonic Sheepshead Minnows, Cyprinodon variegatus
Authors: Elizabeth Allmon, Grace Walker, Robert Griffit, Maria Sepúlveda
Poster Abstract

2nd Place:
Hyperspectral Analysis of Tree Foliar Chemical and Physiological Responses to Abiotic and Biotic Stress
Authors: Sylvia Park, Lorenzo Cotrozzi, Geoffrey Williams, Mathew Ginzel, Michael Mickelbart, Douglass Jacobs, John Couture
Poster Abstract

3rd Place:
Wood Moisture Content Predicts the Fate of Juglans nigra Threatened by Thousand Cankers Disease
Authors: Geoffrey Williams, Mathew Ginzel
Poster Abstract

Honorable Mentions:
Effects of Prescribed Fire on Mycorrhizal Fungi Abundance and Diversity
Authors: Sarah Cuprewich, Mike Saunders
Poster Abstract

The Self-Pollination of Amur Honeysuckle
Authors: Benjamin Rivera, Micheal Jenkins, Rick Meilan
Poster Abstract

Graduate Extension Winners

1st Place:
Hardwood CLT Product Development and Fabrication
Authors: Jue Mo, Eva Haviarova
Poster Abstract


View more awards: FNR Awards.