Nicholls Biology Student Brings Home Two Research Awards

(Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University Biology Grad Student Austin Ortman won two research awards at the Louisiana Chapter of the American Fisheries Society annual meeting.

Ortman received first place for his research poster and second place for his abstract, which was held virtually on May 27-28.

The title of Ortman’s research is “The effects of environmental hypoxia on red swamp crayfish procambarus clarkii life history and fecundity characteristics in the Atchafalaya River Basin.” His research examines how extended low oxygen water affects the size and population of the crayfish. Additionally, his research studies the fertility differences in female crayfish exposed to hypoxic, or low oxygen, and normal waters.

Ortman works in the Aquatic Ecology and Astacology Lab with Dr. Chris Bonvillain, associate professor of biological sciences and internationally recognized crayfish expert. Research at the lab focuses on the ecology and biology of Louisiana crayfishes and aquatic systems.

“These are efforts to improve water quality throughout the Atchafalaya Basin and Austin’s research will show why this is important for crayfish populations,” Dr. Bonvillain said.

Established in 1979, the society serves as a local resource for fisheries professionals and students to communicate and exchange information. The Louisiana chapter meets annually every Spring and offers workshops to expand professional skills.

For more information on Nicholls Biology, visit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, July 8, 2021

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