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COSAM benefactor’s fund for excellence awards Department of Biological Sciences students

Published: 06/08/2017

By: Lindsay Penny

The Meredith Ann Birchfield Endowed Fund for Excellence in the College of Sciences and Mathematics’ Museum of Natural History has recognized two graduate students in the Department of Biological Sciences for their efforts conducting fieldwork with museum curators. Each award comes with a stipend for research support and travel to expand the museum’s taxon representation.

The award will allow Randy Klabacka to conduct fieldwork in Thailand and return with specimens and DNA samples of flying lizards of the genus Draco of Southeast Asia. The museum currently has no specimens from the family or region.

Breanna Sipley will collect freshwater snails and their parasites in Mobile and Tennessee River drainages. Often neglected, parasites are an important and largely undocumented part of biodiversity.

Birchfield is a longtime supporter of Auburn University and became interested in and involved with the Museum of Natural History after participating in a research trip to Costa Rica, which was purchased by Birchfield as part of the silent auction at an annual COSAM Dean’s Scholarship Golf Classic.

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