SW13: Pre-proposal Recommendation

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Kyle Rand on 08-12-2010 and tagged ,

Review Panel: Kyle Rand, Mike DiNunzio, Russell Buescher, Tyler Lacy

Proposal #1 (King) creates a method of determining whether an environment will be suitable for the mitten crab based on ecological data. The author plans to first compare temperature and salinity against crustacean population density using remote sensing probes, then recreate a range of these conditions within the lab to determine their effect. Based on this information, the author hopes to be able to create a extrapolative model that will be able to determine an areas vulnerability to mitten crab invasion.

Proposal #2 (Shaughnessy) plans to evaluate the effectiveness of using the native blue crab as a biocontrol agent for the European green crab. The experiment will involve monitoring two environments: one on the Chesapeake Bay, an area home to both species, and one in Massachusetts, an area home to only European green crab with introduced blue crab species. The populations of each species and the native fauna will be recorded every month over a yearlong period.

Proposal #3 (Ferguson) focuses on the potential use of Microphallus sp as a biocontrol mechanism for Potamopyrgus antipodarum in the Great Lakes.  The purpose of her experiment is to both evaluate the effectiveness of Microphallus as biocontrol, and to ensure that its introduction into the Great Lakes will not cause a new invasive species problem.

Proposal #4 (Cefaro) focuses on the analysis of the possible effects that the spiny water flea has on the Great Lakes. He plans to mimic his study on previous studies to validate what it is negatively affecting the ecosystem of the lake.

Our review panel recommends funding be used for Ferguson’s proposal.  She demonstrates extensive knowledge of the problem of the New Zealand mud snail, as well as the possible negative side effects of using other species for biocontrol.  However, she has sound research methods that seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of Microphallus as biocontrol, all the while also measuring the effect of Microphallus on other species in the Great Lakes.  Her understanding of the issues are shown by this two-fold research approach, and the experimental design will certainly produce outcomes relevant to understanding how to eliminate the New Zealand mud snail.

As a panel, we chose Ferguson’s proposal over the others because her methodology accurately addresses the issue presented by the New Zealand mud snail, and the anticipated outcomes have strong future implications towards this specie’s elimination.  While King’s proposal addresses a pressing issue about the Chinese mitten crab, key parts of this proposal’s methodology are excluded, and it fails to explain how a predictive model will ultimately help to control the crab.   Similarly, the research question detailed by Shaughnessy is relevant to the control of the blue crab, but we would recommend including both male and female blue crabs in the Massachusetts study to simulate normal conditions.  Also, he lacks a complete explanation of the future outcomes of the Massachusetts population of European green crab if the blue crab is shown to be effective as a biocontrol agent.   Meanwhile, though Cefaro’s ideas are good, his paper is not presented in a way that is easily understood and the outcomes of his project seem less beneficial than the other proposals.  Ultimately, Ferguson’s strength in fully explaining her logic, methods, and anticipated results are why we chose her proposal over the others.

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