ABERDEEN, S.D. – Dr. Alyssa Anderson has received the 2014 Nora Staael Evert Research Award at Northern State University.
The award, funded through a Northern State University Foundation grant, provides a summer stipend to support faculty engaged in scholarly research projects. Anderson’s project is “Analysis of Chironomidae (Insecta: Diptera) Diversity and Community Composition in Brown County, S.D.”
Chironomidae, also called non-biting midges, are a good indicator of water quality health. These tiny aquatic flies are the focus of much of Anderson’s research. According to Anderson’s project abstract, the goals for her research project are to:
• Assess Chironomidae diversity and community richness within two river systems (the Elm and James rivers)
• Relate these data to water chemistry and land use patterns
• Begin to compose a reference library of the Chironomidae of South Dakota, which will be valuable for future research projects.
This summer, Anderson and a student research assistant will collect Chironomidae samples, evaluate water quality and habitat parameters, and process data in a lab. Data processing and analysis will continue until spring 2015. Anderson will then present results at the 2015 annual meeting of the Society for Freshwater Science, and will prepare a manuscript for publication.
Anderson, assistant professor of biology, joined Northern’s faculty in December 2012. A native of Lake Crystal, Minn., she received her bachelor’s degree in biology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. Anderson earned her Ph.D. in entomology, with a graduate minor in conservation biology, from the University of Minnesota. She currently serves as co-editor of the CHIRONOMUS Newsletter on Chironomidae Research.
Besides her research with Chironomidae, her studies cover a broad range of topics, including entomology; conservation biology; fisheries and aquatic ecology; phylogenetics; and molecular and morphological taxonomic techniques that aid in species delimitation and description.