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2021 Lehigh Valley Ecology and Evolution Society (LVEES) Meeting

April 17, 2021 @ 8:00 am - 1:00 pm



Sponsored by LVAIC (Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges) and Muhlenberg College

Lehigh Valley Ecology and Evolution Symposium (LVEES) 2021
17 April 2021

Organizer: Dr. Erika Iyengar, Biology Department, Muhlenberg College (iyengar@muhlenberg.edu)

The Zoom link will be the same for the entire conference. The link itself will be emailed out by Thursday, 15 April, to anyone who has registered (free!) for the conference.

Registration: While the registration form for LVEES has closed, if you are interested in attending please email Dr. Erika Iyengar (iyengar@muhlenberg.edu) directly up until noon Friday (16 April) and she will send you the Zoom link for the conference.  There is no charge for registration.

8:45 | Welcome, orientation remarks

9:00* | Traditional Talks Session 1 | 12 minutes talk, 3 minutes questions
*we will start earlier if orientation remarks end earlier
Moderator: Dr. Richard Niesenbaum, Muhlenberg College
• Elizabeth Long, Muhlenberg College; Predators in the water: What’s an isopod to do?
• Nikki Morley, Lafayette College; Effect of habitat fragmentation by roads on soil salinity & abundance of terrestrial salamanders
• Jessica Hoban, Drexel University; Do metabolic interactions structure the endosymbiotic communities of the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum?
• Karan Singh, Arcadia University; Testing the center-periphery hypothesis in red cornsnakes (Pantherophis guttatus) at the edge of their range
• Cole Geissler, Muhlenberg College; Variable flowering phenology dependence on climate change by native and non-native plants

10:15 | Short Break

10:30 | Session 2
Moderator: Dr. Sara McClelland, Moravian College
• Austin Hoffman, Muhlenberg College; Fish are friends? Lack of predator threat recognition in aquatic isopods
• Katie Kavanagh, Lafayette College; Invasive Asian shore crabs and Chinese mitten crabs: Current response, best management practices, and competition dynamics with native blue crabs
• Megan Keene, Gettysburg College; Ecosystem service trade-offs within coral reefs: A global analysis
• Valerie Kuppek, Dickinson College; Effects of the American toad (Anaxyrus americanus) on the agricultural ground-dwelling insect community
• Cole Bower and Timothy Cruz, DeSales University; Effect of habitat quality on aggression in convict cichlid (Amatitlania nigrofasciata) pairs

Lunch Break

12 noon to 1:00 pm

1:00 | Lightning Round Session 1 | 4 * 5 minute pre-recorded talks, then 10 minutes questions
Moderator: Dr. Megan Rothenberger, Lafayette College
• Janniry Cabrera Belen, Moravian College; Pesticide contamination in wetlands: Impacts of pesticides on anuran diversity and abundance
• Tyler Paul, Arcadia University; Testing the center-periphery hypothesis of reduced genetic variation in eastern kingsnakes (Lampropeltis getula getula) at the edge of their range
• Caitlin Segarra, Muhlenberg College; Development of sexually dimorphic branchiae in Streblospio benedicti
• Richard Lu, Drexel University; Gut bacterial symbionts of turtle ants express genes for pollen digestion

1:30 | Lightning Round Session 2 | 3 * 5 minute pre-recorded talks, then 10 minutes questions
• Patricia Nguyen, The College of New Jersey; Habitat use of red cornsnakes (Pantherophis guttatus) in the New Jersey Pine Barrens
• Midelys Franceschini, Moravian College; Measuring color change as a non-invasive method to monitor stress levels in amphibians
• Lauren Crispina; Cedar Crest College; Assessment of microplastic presence, type, and concentration in drinking water on the Cedar Crest College campus

2:00 | Wrap-up and announcement of best traditional talk awards

– 12 minute live presentation via Zoom with screen sharing
– 3 minutes of questions

– 5 minute pre-recorded talk shown on conference day
– audience views 3 lightning round presentations, then open for 10 minutes of questions across all 3 speakers who will be in live attendance via screen sharing

Undergraduate students, graduate students, post-docs, and faculty are encouraged to present current research. Top priority will be given to graduating students to present, in the case that there are too many applications to maintain a shortened conference.

No poster session this year; would-be poster presenters are encouraged to consider a “lighting talk” instead.

“Best talk” awards will be given for traditional format talks only.

Dr. Erika Iyengar
Biology Department
Muhlenberg College

Date: Saturday, 17 April 2021

Time: 8:45 am to 2:30 pm

Location: Due to Covid, this conference will be virtual hosted by Dr. Erika Iyengar, Muhlenberg College.

What to Expect:

  • Traditional talks
  • NEW: Lightning round talks
  • Registration is FREE
  • Condensed conference schedule

Spring 2022:
We look forward to an in-person conference next year with a keynote speaker, poster session, and more social time over breaks and lunch.

Important Dates:
Abstract submission deadline: Friday, March 26 (250 words maximum)
Lightning round video submission deadlines: Friday, April 9
Registration deadline (for non-presenters): Monday, April 12

No Longer Accepting Applications – INTENT FORM *- for planning, purposes, please fill out this form by Friday, February 26

* NOTE: Your responses on the INTENT FORM are non-binding. However, speakers who fill out this INTENT FORM by the stated deadline typically will be given higher priority over those who do not fill out the INTENT FORM if the need arises to decline some talk applications.


April 17, 2021
8:00 am - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


Virtual Conference
Provided after registration closes., PA


Eirka Iyengar