Cape Breton University student Jeff Clements received top honours at the Atlantic Provinces Council on the Sciences (APICS) Undergraduate Biology Conference held in Halifax, N.S., March 11-13. The conference highlights the scientific contributions of outstanding undergraduate students. Clements’ presentation titled Feeding Ecology of the Northern Moonsnail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia was awarded Best Oral Presentation – the first time in 35 years that a CBU student has received this honour.
“When I received the award for best oral presentation I was shocked. The quality of presentations at this conference was amazing and made it very competitive – I really did not expect to receive this prestigious award. I am extremely honoured to be the first CBU winner,” says the Glace Bay native.
Clements’ research looks at different aspects of the feeding behaviour of predatory moonsnails found in high abundance along the local beaches of Cape Breton. These snails feed on a wide range of bivalves and other snails, including members of their own species, by drilling a hole through the shell of their prey and ingesting the tissue inside. Specifically, Clements’ looks for changes and preferences of prey types and sizes across the snail’s development, from juvenile to adult.
Dr. Timothy Rawlings, Jeff’s supervisor, also attended the conference and was thoroughly impressed by the quality of undergraduate research that was presented. “Over the past three years of attending this conference, I have always returned excited about the research possibilities that exist at the undergraduate level, and this year was no exception. I am extremely proud of Jeff – this is a phenomenal achievement, particularly given the quality of presentations at this conference,” says Dr. Rawlings.
Clements, who is in his fourth year studying at CBU, credits his academic success to the type of education CBU fosters. “CBU has given me the opportunity to engage in undergraduate research and ultimately find my niche in the area of biological research, paving the way for my future. My entire experience here at CBU has been nothing less than amazing and I will always attribute my future success to this institution and the professors who have provided me with the skills and experience needed to succeed and have been there for me day in and day out,” he says.