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SE’s Wren Pettett wins first place at OK-LSAMP Research Symposium banner

SE’s Wren Pettett wins first place at OK-LSAMP Research Symposium

September 25, 2023

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University McNair and OK-LSAMP Scholar Wren Pettett, a junior Fisheries and Wildlife major from Atoka, Okla., won first place in poster presentation at the Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (OK-LSAMP) Research Symposium on Saturday, September 23.

Pettett was one of nine Southeastern students who are McNair Scholars and OK-LSAMP Scholars to present at the symposium and his presentation on Mycoremediation of Nitrogen Using Pleurotus ostreatus won the first place honor out of 47 poster presentations across multiple disciplines.

“In total, worldwide, there have been approximately 30 amphibian species that have gone extinct because of the over-enrichment of nitrogen into waterways.” Pettett said. “It’s been causing fish kills as well as amphibians. It’s an issue that will only continue to get worse with the increase in human population, which will need more food, which is going to need more fertilizer, which can create a snowball effect in nitrogen enrichment. This study is hoping to find a more natural way of taking care of this problem.”

Pettett’s research, which was mentored by assistant professor of chemistry Dr. Caleb Smith, hypothesized that the common fungus Pleurotus ostreatus – or the blue oyster mushroom – can aid in removal of nitrates from waterways, due in part to common fertilizing practices. 

While Pettett’s research is ongoing, this could potentially reduce fertilizer needed in agricultural settings, as well as preserve safe drinking water supplies and prevent excessive kills of gamefish and other aquatic species.