Student Testimonials

Lindsay Swierk

Penn State University
Gaige Fund Award, 2011

“How does operational sex ratio in wood frog (Rana sylvatica) mating aggregations affect female fitness?”

Lindsay Swierk collecting frogs in the field

The Gaige Fund Award enabled me to pursue a research project on the reproductive behavior of a species of frog with an incredibly short, scramble mating system. Although wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) are reproductively active sometimes only for a few days of the year, the Gaige Fund Award allowed me to purchase video supplies and behavioral arenas so that, despite the very brief field season, I was able to successfully quantify behavior across varied sex ratios. I am extremely grateful to the Gaige Fund for supporting me in my research endeavors, as I otherwise would not have been able to conduct this exciting investigation. Having my research recognized by ASIH was truly an honor.

Beck Wehrle

Cal State University Northridge
Gaige Fund Award, 2011

“Why do lizards lounge? The role of sociality in exchanging microbial communities among hatchling Iguana iguana

Beck Wehrle holding a mature green iguana

I am characterizing the variation of digestive microbes in an herbivorous lizard in the context of space, time and social behaviors. The Gaige Award provided the funds to start the molecular component of my study so that I can sequence microbial communities from iguana feces and saliva. The honor of being chosen for this award has increased both confidence in my abilities to conduct herpetological research and the sense of being a valued member of a scientific community. 

Melissa Youngquist

Miami University
Gaige Fund Award, 2011

“At the edge: Implications for amphibian dispersal”

Melissa Youngquist holds two frogs while conducting field work at night

My research examines how different habitats in the landscape matrix affect dispersal of juvenile amphibians; I am specifically focusing on the American bullfrog and Blanchard’s cricket frog. Receiving the Gaige Award allowed me to conduct experiments to test habitat choice and movement behavior. The award has also enabled me to examine how different habitat characteristics influence an individual’s choice. Receiving the Gaige Award has jump started my scientific career and has encouraged me to continue pursuing questions of interest and of ecological and conservation concern.

rattlesnake coiled next to some desert rocks
Seminatrix pygaea
frog holding onto a large stem
rainbow snake