Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Top prize in 2017 Student Science Writing Competition for StFX student

March 24th, 2017
L-r, Jadine Krist, Sonja Ehlers, and Zachary Sherker are pictured installing Mr. Sherker's field experiment on Nova Scotia's Atlantic coast last year.

Zachary Sherker, a December 2016 StFX graduate, has just won first prize in the undergraduate category in the 2017 Student Science Writing Competition sponsored by the Nova Scotian Institute of Science. His work resulted from research he completed as directed study in StFX biology professor Dr. Ricardo Scrosati’s Marine Ecology Lab.

A resulting manuscript is currently under review for publication.  

“Using complementary field and laboratory experiments, he investigated how chemical cues from predatory snails alter the shell morphology of intertidal mussels and how, in the end, such modifications actually enhance the resistance of mussels to predation,” says Dr. Scrosati, who supervised Mr. Sherker’s directed study in the summer and fall of 2016.

The project was part of a larger research line through which Dr. Scrosati’s lab investigates the non-consumptive effects of marine predators on prey and the ecological significance of such influences.

Mr. Sherker, who grew up in Washington, DC, and who graduated from StFX with a B.Sc. in aquatic resources and biology, says he tries not to get overly concerned with the outcome of competitions whether they work out in his favour or not. “But there is a sense of validation that comes with having my work and research be recognized by the scientific community in this way,” he says.

“Having the opportunity to work alongside and collaborate with all the amazingly bright, hard-working people in the Marine Ecology Lab has vastly expanded my capacity to produce impactful research and proved to be nothing but beneficial to my undergraduate education,” he says.

“Not to mention, I acquired wonderful friends throughout the whole experience. The sense of community and overall acceptance that I have witnessed at StFX is unlike any I have seen before and that quality is what I hope to carry on to any community I join in the future.”

Mr. Sherker hopes to start an M.Sc. in September.

Marine Ecology Lab members Julius Ellrich, Sonja Ehlers, and Jadine Krist all helped in various aspects of the project.

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