Lynn

Notable Achievements

In 2023, Professor of Biology Romi Burks contributed to a United States Department of Agriculture - Agriculture Research Services (USDA-ARS) effort to communicate the latest science on the invasive apple snail that occurs across the southeastern region of the United States. The content of that Apple Snail Workshop, entitled “Apple Snails: Discussion of past problems and future solutions for an emerging pest in the United States agriculture/aquaculture,” now appears published in World Aquaculture, the magazine for the World Aquaculture Society. Recent Burks’ Lab researcher, now professional scientific illustrator, Lauren Muskara ’21 provided the photograph of an apple snail laying eggs on a pylon that the authors chose for the cover of the article. The full article can be read on page 46 here.

MORE

Expertise

Aquatic ecology, molecular ecology, wetland science, apple snails, invertebrate biology and CHOCOLATE

Hi! I’m @ProfRomi, an aquatic ecologist at Southwestern University. Visit my comprehensive webpage at www.profromi.com to learn more about my integration of research, teaching and a special interest in teaching with chocolate.  

In my science life, I work as an aquatic ecologist interested in how ecological life histories influence behavior, diversity and distribution of freshwater invertebrates. My lab has adopted a number of applications of molecular ecology to study freshwater snails.

My research at Southwestern focuses primarily on a group of large freshwater snails - commonly called apple snails because they can reach the size of an apple. In Texas, one species, Pomacea maculata (formerly P. insularum), occurs as a non-native, invasive species but has native populations in South America. 

 

My Teaching Philosophy rests on 3 main pillars:

1. Teach who you are

2. Make your classroom a lab (experiment!)

3. Make your lab a classroom (teach critical thinking!)

 

For the 2023-2024 Academic Year, I will be on sabbatical.  However, I will also be recruiting for a summer 2024 Study Abroad Experience in Belize - co-taught with Dr. Melissa Johnson.  

Ecologies & Cultures of Belize - Summer 2024

  • Hi! I’m @ProfRomi, an aquatic ecologist at Southwestern University. Visit my comprehensive webpage at www.profromi.com to learn more about my integration of research, teaching and a special interest in teaching with chocolate.  

    In my science life, I work as an aquatic ecologist interested in how ecological life histories influence behavior, diversity and distribution of freshwater invertebrates. My lab has adopted a number of applications of molecular ecology to study freshwater snails.

    My research at Southwestern focuses primarily on a group of large freshwater snails - commonly called apple snails because they can reach the size of an apple. In Texas, one species, Pomacea maculata (formerly P. insularum), occurs as a non-native, invasive species but has native populations in South America. 

     

    My Teaching Philosophy rests on 3 main pillars:

    1. Teach who you are

    2. Make your classroom a lab (experiment!)

    3. Make your lab a classroom (teach critical thinking!)

     

    For the 2023-2024 Academic Year, I will be on sabbatical.  However, I will also be recruiting for a summer 2024 Study Abroad Experience in Belize - co-taught with Dr. Melissa Johnson.  

    Ecologies & Cultures of Belize - Summer 2024

  • Overall, my undergraduates and I focus on:

    1. Using freshwater snails to understand the ecology of eDNA
    2. Uncovering patterns of cryptic diversity among apple snails in Uruguay
    3. Looking for morphological patterns and genetic patterns to tell apart species and identify hybridization

     My research has included an international collaboration in Uruguay where native apple snails occur and current partnerships with Dr. Kenneth Hayes to study patterns of diversity and distribution of apple snails, with Dr. Matthew Barnes at Texas Tech to investigate applications of environmental DNA and with Dr. Russ Minton at Gannon University to tackle similar questions associated with mysterysnails.

    I obtained by PhD from the University of Notre Dame in 2000 and my BS and BA from Loyola University Chicago in 1995. Find out more about undergraduate research, project descriptions and collaborators on my website.

  •  

    2020

    • Burks, R. L. 2020. Setting Up Nonparametric Tests. Make Teaching with R in Undergraduate Biology Less Excruciating 2020, QUBES Educational Resources. doi:10.25334/PFE8-D888
    • Glasheen, P. M.*, S. R. Campos*, R. L. Burks and K. A. Hayes. 2020. First evidence of introgressive hybridization of apple snails (Pomacea spp.) in a native range. Journal of Molluscan Studies 86(2): 96-103. doi:10.1093/mollus/eyz035

    2019

    • Emery, N., A. Hunt, R. Burks, M. Duffy, C. Scoffoni, and A. Swei. 2019. Students as ecologists: Strategies for successful mentorship of undergraduate researchers. Ecology and Evolution: https://rdcu.be/btaia

    2018

    2017

    • Perez, K. P., V. G. Gamboa, C. M. Schneider* and L. Burks. 2017. Resaca supports invasive apple snails (Pomacea maculata, Perry, 1810; Caenogastropoda: Ampullariidae) within the Rio Grande Valley, Texas. CheckList 13(3): https://doi.org/10.15560/13.3.2134
    • Glasheen, P. M.*, C. Clavo, M. Meerhoff, K. A. Hayes and L. Burks. 2017. Survival, recovery, and reproduction of apple snails (Pomacea spp.) following exposure to drought conditions. Freshwater Science 36(2): 316 - 324.
    • Burks, R. L., J. Bernatis, J. E. Byers, J. Carter, C. W. Martin, W. G. McDowell and J. van Dyke. 2017. Identity, reproductive potential, distribution, ecology and management of invasive Pomacea maculata in the southern United States. Pages 293-334. 2nd edition of Global Advances in Ecology and Management of Golden Apple Snails.

    2016

    • Sterling, E., A. Bravo, A. Porzecanski, Burks, J. Linder, T. A. Langen, D. S. Fernandez, D. Ruby and N. Bynum. 2016. Think before (and after) you speak: Practice and self-reflection build student confidence and bolster performance in oral communication skills in ecology and conservation biology classes. Journal of College Science Teaching 45(6): 87-99.
    • Burks, R. L., Miller* and A. Hill*. 2016. CABI Compendium project on Pomacea maculata. (Not traditional peer-review): http://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/116486
    • Perez, B. J.*, A. H. Segrest*, S. R. Campos*, R. L. Minton and L. Burks. 2016. First record of Japanese Mystery Snail Cipangopaludina, CheckList 12(5): http://dx.doi.org/10.15560/12.5.1973.
  • Recent Ecological Society of America Presentation  - Wait, don’t leave me? How to maintain research productivity with undergraduates after they graduate


In the News

  • The Sweet Side of Science

    Professor of biology shares her passion for chocolate education.

  • Incredible Journeys

    Southwestern students, staff, and faculty learn—and grow—abroad.

  • The Wonders of Chocolate

    Professor of Biology and chocolate expert Romi Burks talks chocolate with Bloomberg Radio.