Nicholls biology students brought home numerous awards from the Louisiana Chapter of the American Fisheries Society annual meeting on May 24 in Baton Rouge.

Three Nicholls marine and environmental biology graduate students swept the abstract competition and earned the top oral presentation award. This is the second year in a row that Nicholls students have won the top abstract and oral presentation awards.

A Fredericksburg, Virginia, native, Alexa Rixner received the top award for oral presentation and third-best abstract for her research comparing bowfin diets and reproductive activity in the Barataria Estuary and the Atchafalaya River Basin. Gabrielle Sisson, of Alden, New York, received the top honor for abstracts for her look at the fishery-dependent stock of crawfish in the eastern Atchafalaya River Basin. Alexa Ballinger, of Thibodaux, placed second in the abstract competition for her research on the characteristics of crawfish across two hydrologically different southeastern Louisiana bodies of water.

“Nicholls Marine and Environmental Biology students receive the training to be as, if not more, successful than our peers at larger institutions,” said Dr. Quenton Fontenot, professor and department head of biological sciences.

The American Fisheries Society has more than 8,000 members including fisheries managers, biologists, professors, ecologists, aquaculturists, economists, engineers and geneticists from around the world. The organization’s primary goal is to promote scientific research and the sustainable management of fisheries resources.