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Summer research takes Catawba student to Spain

The research that Catawba College senior Logan Ellis of Julian completed last summer off the coast of Virginia carried him across the Atlantic Ocean to Spain in February.

Ellis spent last summer participating in a National Science Foundation funded Research Experience for Undergraduates at Old Dominion University’s Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Science in Norfolk, Virginia. He was able to present his research from that Research Experience for Undergraduates at the 2015 Association for the Science of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) Aquatic Sciences meeting in Granada, Spain, Feb. 22-27.

Ellis was part of the ASLO Multicultural Program which brought together approximately 70 undergraduate students from around the United States to present their work in either a poster or an oral presentation. The ASLO program is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Ellis’ poster presentation was entitled “’The Impacts of Storms on Phytoplankton Growth and Productivity.” The list of authors included L.S. Ellis, K.R. Carroll, K.C. Filippino, P.W. Bernhardt and M.R. Mulholland. Ellis’ summer research project was completed in Dr. Mulholland’s lab and Dr. Mulholland and Katherine C. Filippino were his mentors from Old Dominion University. Katie Carroll, Ellis explained, was another Research Experience for Undergraduates student and some of her work was included, with attribution in Ellis’ poster.

During his Research Experience for Undergraduates, Ellis studied the nutrients in rainwater and how they can cause algal blooms. He was also trained in analytical water chemistry techniques and conducted field work on an offshore research vessel.

“I never imagined that the REU I participated in at Old Dominion University would open as many doors as it has,” he said. “I was able to do research that not only allowed me to give a presentation at an international conference, but also allowed me to meet many people along the way who can influence my future.”

Ellis had never traveled internationally before his trip to Spain and he said the conference “provided me with the perfect opportunity to both present my research and experience another culture. I was excited to have the chance to use some of the Spanish language which I have learned while taking classes here at Catawba.

“The other students in the multicultural program were from around the United States and I was able to form friendships with some of them and we experienced the Spanish culture as a group when we had breaks from the conference. The conference also allowed me to network with professionals from around the world who are leaders in their field,” he added.

“The biology faculty are so pleased that Logan applied for and maximized his opportunity to do oceanography research at ODU. It’s a testament to our strong biology students at Catawba College that he was selected from his REU group to represent their summer research in Spain,” said Dr. Jay Bolin, an assistant professor of biology at Catawba.

Ellis, a biology major, will graduate in May of 2015. While at Catawba, he has been a student-athlete, playing on Catawba’s golf team, as well as a member of the Dead Athenian Society and the Order of the Blue and White. He came to Catawba from Southeast Guilford High School.

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