Biology professors and students present at conference

Northwestern College biology professors Dr. Laura Furlong and Dr. Sara Sybesma Tolsma and four students presented their collaborative research at the Ecological Genomics Symposium at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., Nov. 6–8.

Research contributors Alison Schutt, sophomore biology health professions major from Alton, Iowa; Emily Stricklin, senior biology ecological science major from Sioux Falls, S.D.; Britta Ten Haken, senior biology health professions major from Urbandale, Iowa; and Joseph Tolsma, junior biology ecological science major from Orange City, joined in the presentation. Together, they presented their poster, “Analysis of Alternative Storage Conditions for DNA Recovery From Field Samples,” during the symposium.

The poster presented information on what techniques were best for specimen preservation when collecting DNA samples in the field. Numerous preservation techniques were tested and scrutinized for not only the integrity of DNA specimens being preserved, but also the practicality of obtaining these preservation materials at field sites and the safety at which they can be transported. The students assisted in testing a control group of DNA in six different preservation solutions and measured the results.

This research is an extension of an ongoing research project by professors Tolsma and Furlong as they continue their study on the mayfly populations in California. By perfecting a DNA preservation solution, the professors will be able to successfully preserve and transport their mayfly specimens across state lines.

The 13th annual symposium featured a diverse array of established and emerging leaders in the field of ecological science and evolutionary genomics. It was sponsored by Kansas State University’s Ecological Genomics Institute.