I want to give a proud congratulations to my first graduate student, Shannan McAskill, for successfully defending her masters thesis last month and graduating today from FGCU. Shannan studied the island apple snail; a very large invasive snail that is gobbling aquatic plants and disrupting ecosystems in Florida and elsewhere in the southeastern US. Shannan's work investigated the snail's potential to damage tapegrass beds in brackish waters. (Tapegrass is an important food for manatees, turtles, and birds and an important habitat for fish, crabs, and shrimp.) Interestingly, though both tapegrass and apple snails prefer freshwater, Shannan found that slightly brackish water may provide a safe haven for tapegrass by hurting the snails more than it hurts the tapegrass.
Keep up the good work, Shannan! Let's get those publications out this summer.