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Large National Science Foundation grant awarded to MSU professor

MURRAY, Ky. -- Dr. Howard Whiteman, professor of biological sciences and director of the Watershed Studies Institute at Murray State University, has been awarded $459,998 from the National Science Foundation for his research.

Whiteman and his collaborator, Dr. Cy Mott of Valdosta State University, are studying how size variation in a top predator affects both the production of new predators and their effects on other members of aquatic food webs.

He is using salamanders as the top predator in his research, in part because they provide an excellent model system for the questions he is studying, and also because the proposed research is built upon more than two decades of research on salamander ecology in Whiteman's lab.

During the next four summers, Whiteman and Mott will conduct observational and experimental studies at the Hancock Biological Station on Kentucky Lake and the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado.

Three undergraduate students -- one each from Murray State, Valdosta State and Kentucky State University, will be collecting data with Whiteman and Mott each summer. Additionally, students from Murray and Valdosta will conduct research in the lab throughout the year and analyze data collected during the project. All of the involved students will have opportunities to present their research at scientific meetings and potentially publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals.

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