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Biology professor hosts high school research group

March 26, 2010

During the upcoming Easter break, Loyola University New Orleans biology professor Frank Jordan, Ph.D., will host and mentor high school students from The Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem who will assist him in his study of the Okaloosa Darter. The Okaloosa Darter is an endangered species of fish that is only known to exist in six streams located on Eglin Air Force Base near Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

For the past 18 years, Jordan, assisted by Loyola students and the U.S. Geological Survey, has researched the Okaloosa Darter through a grant funded by the Department of Defense. According to Jordan, the fish is likely to be down listed from endangered to threatened status next year.

“This is significant environmental and conservation news because very few species have successfully been removed from the endangered species list,” said Jordan. “My collaborative research with Howard Jelks of the USGS has played a central role in this conservation success story.”

In 2003, Young Women’s Leadership Network launched the Gulf Coast Spring Research Project, where students travel to south Louisiana to conduct wetlands research. The project offers an opportunity for high school students to participate in university-level research under the direction of Jordan and undergraduate research assistants from Loyola.

To be considered for the program, applicants submit an essay describing their background and desire to participate in the research experience. Upon their return to New York, participants give a presentation for the school community, funding organizations, parents and invited guests. They also generate a written report of their research and personal experiences.

Major funding for the Gulf Coast Spring Research Project is provided by Young Women’s Leadership Network, a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 by Ann Rubenstein Tisch. Additional funding for logistics and equipment is supplied by Loyola. Jordan volunteers his time to plan and lead the annual spring break field excursions.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Sean Snyder in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at smsnyder@loyno.edu or call 504-861-5882.

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