Pictured, from left, are: Kaylee Wheeless, Quincy Gragg (who graduated in December with a degree in biology), Cecily Rodriguez, and Laura Camp.
A student research team from Henderson State University has learned their project is one of just 60 projects across the United States chosen for presentation at the Council on Undergraduate Research “Posters on the Hill” conference April 20-21 at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
The project, produced by the team of Kaylee Wheeless, Quincy Gragg, Cecily Rodriguez, and Lauren Camp, is an analysis of a unique cave system in Tennessee. The cave appears to be one of just a couple known in which a biological system functions totally through use of chemicals from deep in the earth with no dependence on photosynthesis, according to Dr. James Engman, professor of biology at Henderson.
“We have identified many unique bacterial species, some of which would traditionally only have been associated withblack smokers, which are volcanic vents located in some of the deepest parts of the ocean,” Engman said. “Our study has implications for understanding the potential for life under the Martian surface.”
Engman said Mike Taylor and Dr. John Hardee are also involved in the study.