Senior Biology Major Received Drinko Research Grant

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Westminster College senior biology major James Black received an undergraduate research grant from Westminster's Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Black's research, "The Effect of Microspheres on Danio rerio Fry Mortality Rates," is conducted under the supervision of Dr. Ann Throckmorton, Westminster professor of biology.

When larger plastic products break down, small plastic particles (microplastics) can enter aquatic environments but little is known about how these microplastics affect small organisms including baby fish (fry).  Black's project experimented with the effects of microplastics on fish fry.

The results indicated the microplastics did not significantly affect the fry mortality.  Black cautions that his work only tested the effects of one shape, size, and color of microplastic on one species of fish but it is believed that other microplastics could have severe effects on many other aquatic sepcies.

Black is a son of James and Cindy Black of New Wilmington and a graduate of Wilmington Area High School.

Contact Throckmorton at (724) 946-7209 or email for additional information on Black's research.

The Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning was created to enrich undergraduate education at Westminster through advancing world-class teaching as well as by participating in collaborations that address community and regional needs including strengthening K-12 education.  The Undergraduate Research Initiative provides funding for students to conduct research and to present their research at regional and national conferences.  Click here for more information about the Drinko Center and its programs.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Westminster, a top-tier liberal arts college, ranks third in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster ranked 6th among liberal arts colleges in social mobility, according to the Washington Monthly College Guide, and is one of the most affordable national liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 376 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 42 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.

Drinko Center Information