In the news
Outreach Committee - EEB Graduate Student Organization
Write up by KUNews about the accomplishments of the Outreach Committee for the KU EEB GSO, which began in 2014. By spring of 2018, the EEB GSO had worked with over 600 Girl Scouts and developed over 10 modules that explore aspect of insect collections, marine biology, paleontology, and exploring DNA.
• Rock Chalk, STEM Hawks! GSKSMO Blog, Oct 2017. (http://gsksmoblog.org/2017/10/rock-chalk-stem-hawks/)
• GSKSMO Community Partner Award. KU EEB Outreach, May 2018. (https://outreachkueeb.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/gsksmo-community-partner-award/)
I spent the majority of my four years at the College of William and Mary studying the predatory flatworm Stylochus ellipticus. This Chesapeake Bay native consumes oysters and barnacles, thus the common name "oyster leech," but the early life history had been poorly understood. These flatworms are indirect developers, meaning they hatch as a lobed, dispersive larva before metamorphosing into an adult flatworm. There are types of indirect developing polyclad larva: Müller's and Götte’s. Müller's larva had previously been cultured through metamorphosis, but, Götte’s larva, which includes S. ellpticus, had never previously been cultured to the juvenile stage. My research determined that these previously described non-feeding larvae are actually obligate plankotrophs. Not only do they require food, but very high concentrations of specific algal types. These larvae appear to require high concentrations because, instead of seeking out food, they only consume as much as they can run into, thus the reference to "cookie-monster" behavior.