MCC students to present isopod findings at symposium Dec. 8

MCC science students in research lab
Friday, December 3, 2021

Three McCook Community College students enrolled this semester in a scientific research class, will present their findings at a public science symposium Wednesday, Dec. 8, in Tipton Hall.

Sophomores Anika Johnson, Trey Weintz, and Tasha Scott are set to reveal their discoveries at 2:30 p.m. at the Weeth Theater in Tipton Hall.

Johnson’s research tries to determine how different breeds of isopods (also known as roly polies) are impacted by ground vibrations made by agricultural machinery and human activity. Weintz’s research examines how isopod survival may be affected by climate change. Scott has been looking at ispods’ ability to decompose in different types of plant life.

Instructor Rob Bogardus who first offered this course in 2014, said it was designed to allow biology students the chance to create and conduct original research, and to create their own experiments to answer questions that have never been tested before. 

It’s a one-semester experience in being a scientist, Bogardus said, and helps prepare students for future science careers. MCC has devoted a designated research space in the former greenhouse on the west side of Barnett Hall, to house the research equipment as well as the experiments.

Wednesday’s symposium, is also designed to give students additional experience both in preparing and communicating scientific work.

Bogardus said terrestrial isopods are used because they are easy to find locally and relatively inexpensive when it comes to setting up experiments. Also known as roly polies, pill bugs or wood-lice, these creatures are actually crustaceans, like lobsters.) They are important contributors to plant decomposition and soil quality – another locally relevant aspect of the research.