Lincoln Memorial University

LMU Students Study Microscopic Marine Life from Gulf of Mexico

floridatripsixHarrogate, Tennessee, July 10, 2019 —Six Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) graduate and professional students spent June learning microsurgery and nanotechnology research techniques on tiny, intricate and fascinating sea creatures called copepods.


The students visited Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory (FSUCML) to gather specimens from the Gulf of Mexico and returned to the LMU main campus to continue their research. They will present their findings at a conference at Duke University in October.


Dr. Stan Kunigelis, professor of physiology and director of LMU’s Center for Imaging and Analysis, headed up the ten-day trip focused on multiple student research projects dealing with vision and reproduction in copepods and heavy metal toxicity in shrimp. The trip is an annual excursion designed to provide students the opportunity for novel research in the estuary, where small marine creatures are abundant. LMU students and faculty collected biologically unique creatures like copepods and tardigrades, as well as marine plant life, to study via electron and light microscopy.


“I can spend a whole semester teaching, or I can pop students in the water for 30 minutes and they become conservationists for the rest of their lives,” Kunigelis said. “The field work is a unique opportunity and compliments the use of the special resources the students have on campus with the imaging lab. These LMU students are getting a one-of-a-kind summer experience.”


The research destination, St. Teresa, is located on Florida's panhandle and exposed to the Northern Gulf of Mexico which provided the perfect backdrop for summer studies. The FSUCML is a leader in conducting and supporting research that advances marine ecosystem science and conservation and offers research opportunities to people from around the world.


LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) medical students Zain Mahmood and Brittany Fehlbaum participated, along with master of science students Philip Crane, Chinelo Agwuncha, Ja’terra Robinson and Jamie Anne Mortel.


“The trip challenged me to experience research outside of my comfort zone,” Mortel said. “I have experienced research in a laboratory for some years but have little experience as a field scientist. It was a rewarding experience to learn so many new skills in a short span of time.”

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423.869.6280 or email at [email protected].


423.869.3611 | 800.325.0900
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752