Michael Chaise Gilbert, senior from Ledbetter, Ky., won a $500 grant from the office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activity for his research on Bighead Carp and Native Larval fish in Kentucky Lake.
Gilbert’s proposal is focused on determining whether Bighead Carp are eating from the same food sources as local fish during their young stages. If his research proves the species is feeding on the same plankton as native fish, the region’s native fish may begin to suffer in number.
Gilbert, senior biological sciences major, said the award is critical to his research and he would be unable to perform the study without it.
Gilbert was accompanied by faculty mentor Michael Flinn, assistant professor of biological sciences, during his research. Flinn said Gilbert’s research is important to the threat posed by Bighead Carp and could possibly lead to their destruction.
“Using a word like nemesis may be a bit strong for something as menacing as the invasive Bighead Carp in Kentucky Lake, but (Gilbert) will definitely be collecting data that might someday lead to their eradication,” Flinn said.
Flinn also said he is very pleased with Gilbert’s research and how proactive he has been in his laboratory.
“I am privileged to have exceptional students like (Gilbert) who want to work on projects such as this,” Flinn said. “He is extremely enthusiastic and I am very confident that he will produce results that will be important for the future of Kentucky Lake as a resource.” Gilbert plans to present his findings during Murray State’s Scholars Week, which will take place on campus April 15-19.
He will also present his work to the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society which meets in Nashville, Tenn.