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Scholarship Recipient

Sterling Spilinek

Sterling Spilinek

Sterling Spilinek

Texas State University

Year Received: 2018

Master’s in Wildlife Ecology

Rumen papillae morphology of White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) consuming two different energy diets.

Born and raised in Douglas Wyoming. Graduated from Whitman College with a degree
in Biology and thesis on Effects of flower cutting on the foraging activity of Chelostoma
rapunculi. College varsity baseball all four years with a short stint of semi professional baseball
as a left-handed pitcher. Worked seasonal wildlife jobs for three years for state and federal
agencies. I also assisted in a foundation called Forever West, where youth individuals were
introduced to hunting.

Enrolled at Texas State University in the Fall of 2017, under Dr. Weckerly. Thesis
research is on white-tailed deer, looking at rumen morphology as a function of nutrient
absorption. Deer were collected at the Kerr WMA from research pens, where true age and energy
of diet was known. Seventy-four deer were culled, and four samples were collected from each
rumen. Samples were quantified by measuring the length, width, and density of papillae, then
averaged across the four samples to get an average surface enlargement factor of the rumen.
Preliminary results indicate a significant positive correlation between the absorption potential of
the rumen and the quality of the diet, as well as more molar wear and rumen weight in deer
consuming the lower energy diet.

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