Riverdale News & Stories
Knut Vanderbush, left, and Jacob Katz at work in the Lisman Laboratory last summer.
Three Riverdale students have won a $2,500 research grant from the Marjot Foundation for a study of the epigenetic adaptations of Picea, commonly known as spruce trees.
Knut Vanderbush ’20, Jacob Katz ‘20, and Obioha Chijoke ’20 submitted the grant application. The three students are among a group of Riverdale students and faculty who have traveled to the Alaskan Arctic the last two summers to collect needle samples from white spruce trees growing at different latitudes within the Arctic treeline.
This summer, the students want to investigate spruce trees growing in the Hudson Highlands, which is the southern ecological boundary of the species, to see whether there are similarities in how the trees are adapting to climate change.
The work is part of an ongoing study by the Summer Science Research Program of Riverdale’s Lisman Laboratory for Molecular Ecology, and augments work being done by Columbia University’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology and the Toolik Field Station Institute of Arctic Biology.
In 2013, two Riverdale students were awarded a grant by The Marjot Foundation for a study of the physical changes in Bronx River mollusks caused by environmental stress. The Lisman Laboratory has published two papers in connection with this research, which is ongoing.
The Marjot Foundation awards grants to students in grade 8 through 11 from New England and New York. The grant provides for a stipend to each of the students and their mentor and covers the costs associated with the research.
"The Marjot Foundation provides funding for high school students to pursue independent research involving ecology and the environment," said Dr. Rachel Cox, the Riverdale's director of science research and the director of the Lisman Laboratory. "I can't think of a better way to involve students in helping to solve some of the biggest global challenges that their generation of scientists will face. Our Marjot recipients are super excited to begin their work in the field and in the lab.
"The grant award from the Marjot Foundation represents professional recognition from scientists and educators," she added. "The message is clear: the novel experiments proposed by these students represent important ideas worth pursuing. That is just plain cool."