Not many students get the chance to discover a new species, but Illinois College senior Shanna David made the most of a summer internship opportunity by co-authoring a manuscript that describes a new species of crustacean from Hawaii.
“If the peer-review process goes well and the new species is published, Shanna will be one of a very small number of undergraduates in the nation to have a new species description to her credit, and the first Illinois College student to do so,” Illinois College Biology Professor Lawrence Zettler said.
A biology and environmental biology major from Trivoli, David interned at the Gulf Coast Marine Lab affiliated with the University of Southern Mississippi, in Ocean Springs, Miss. At the lab she was a teaching assistant for Richard Heard, professor of invertebrate zoology, who co-authored the manuscript with David. During this time, she worked on describing the new species of Marine Tanaid, a marine crustacean. The Gulf Coast Marine Lab is a 50-acre waterfront facility, with field work at the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi’s barrier island, Mississippi Sound and adjacent coastal waters.
David will be presenting an abstract of her research at the 105th annual meeting of the Illinois State Academy of Science hosted by Illinois College on Friday and Saturday, April 5-6. The manuscript will be submitted to a scientific journal in an attempt to have the new species officially recognized by the scientific community.
Heard obtained the specimen from
collections made in the western Hawaiian Islands, and David was assigned the task of documenting various body parts that are unique to this species. “The new species, named Cryptoapseudes leroyi
, represents the fourth species attributed to the genus Cryptoapseud
,” David said. “The discovery of Cryptoapseudes leroyi
extends the range for the genus from the western Indian Ocean over 14,200 km northeast to the northern Pacific Ocean.”
David was one of five interns who received support in 2012 from Illinois College’s Environmental Issues Internship Program. The program is funded by a grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation. According to Illinois College President Axel D. Steuer, “The Margaret A. Cargill Foundation’s grant has allowed us to establish an endowed internship program that provides our students with experiential learning opportunities to complement classroom learning.”
“This unique program has allowed our students to design exceptional internship opportunities. While most interns are environmental studies and biology majors, we also accept proposals from students in other disciplines – as long as the focus is environmental studies.” said Susie Drake, director of career services. “Students can take the initiative to contact a potential employer, negotiate the terms of their internship and submit a proposal to the selection committee. Shanna designed a great project that will have an important impact on her educational and career goals.”
Margaret A. Cargill is the granddaughter of William Cargill, cofounder of Cargill Inc. The Margaret A. Cargill Foundation was created upon the philanthropist’s death in 2006, and assists programs that reflect her passions and priorities including the environment; the arts; services to families, children and the elderly; disaster-related relief, recovery and development; planned health; and animal welfare.