Radford University biology student featured in ‘American Scientist’ magazine
The work of Conner Philson, a senior majoring in biology, is featured in the magazine “American Scientist,” focusing on primate research.
‘American Scientist’ is an American bi-monthly science and technology magazine published since 1913 by Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society. Each issue includes feature articles written by prominent scientists and engineers who review research in fields from molecular biology to computer engineering.
In the article featuring Philson, the author notes that solar-powered, automated feeding and recording stations developed at Radford University are helping scientists collect data on animal behavior in the wild.
Philson was one of the driving forces in developing these devices during the PASSER Project, Programmable Automated System for Songbird Ecological Research. He deployed the devices during his participation in the Radford Amazon Research Expedition (RARE), and the article notes that, “Data collection was scant because nonhuman primates in the area kept a wary distance while the device was in place, but the two-week trial period demonstrated that the feeding station could withstand tropical weather and everyday wear and tear.”
Philson also had an amazing experience this summer in the Galapagos Islands as a National Science Foundation, Research Experiences for Undergraduates Award Recipient (NSF REU) with Christine Parent from the University of Idaho studying adaptive radiation, and microhabitat variations of endemic land snails.
“Having the opportunity to travel to mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands as part of my National Science Foundation REU this summer was really special,” Philson said. “I was able to experience an entirely new type of research as we studied the adaptive radiation of land snails in the field for two months. This NSF REU experience was a great opportunity to build upon other research opportunities I've had here at Radford such as SURF [Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships] and RARE.”