ATHENS, W.Va. – Concord University student Haidyn DePinho placed second in the poster competition at the annual SAEOPP McNair/SSS Scholars Research Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference, which took place this year on June 23rd-26th, provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students from all TRIO programs within the United States and the Trust Territories to share their research and discuss intellectual issues.
DePinho, an Environmental Geosciences major and McNair Scholar, was one of the 40 young scholars who presented in the poster category. Her presentation titled “Dendroecological Potential of Riverscour Woodland Tree Species” was awarded second place, and DePinho received a cash prize of $350 for her work.
Dr. Tom Saladyga, associate professor of geography at Concord University, is supervising DePinho’s research. Dr. Saladyga established the Environmental Geography Lab (EGL) at Concord University in 2011 to provide focused and enriching research experiences for undergraduates like Haidyn DePinho. For this project, Saladyga and DePinho are assessing the potential use of riverscour woodland tree species in dendroecological (tree-ring) research.
Riverscour woodlands and praries occur along fast-flowing sections of several rivers in West Virginia, including the New, Gauley, Greenbrier, Buckhannon, Tygart Valley, Cheat, Cacapon, and Potomac. These frequently flooded sites include exposed bedrock and poorly developed soils, high plant diversity, and scattered and stunted trees. The quality of these sites is negatively impacted by dams and alterations to river hydrology, non- native plant species, and trampling associated with recreational activities like boating and fishing.
DePinho is examining tree growth dynamics and patterns of establishment at one site along the New River within New River Gorge National Park & Preserve. Her work will provide baseline data and information that will guide future research on these sensitive sites. Results will ultimately be used by resource managers in the park and across the region.
The McNair Scholars Program helps prepare students for doctoral studies through involvement with research and other scholarly activities, like the SAEOPP McNair/SSS Research Conference. As McNair scholars, students conduct research with a faculty mentor and complete a summer internship. They are provided access to training and resources to make the transition into graduate school smooth and successful.
For more information about Concord University’s McNair Scholars program, visit concord.edu/McNair. To learn more about Concord’s EGL, visit saladyga-egl.com.
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