Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources


Ecology and Evolution Graduate Program Newsletter


May - June 2010




Previous newsletters may be found at:


In memoriam:

Charlie Kontos, a second year Ph.D. student working with Rick Lathrop, passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on May 28, 2010.  Charlie’s previous MS research completed at Montclair State provided proof that the fisher (Martes pennanti), formerly thought to be extirpated in New Jersey, can be found in northern parts of the state. He hoped with his doctoral research to discern if there is a resident population of fishers in the state, work toward having any such resident population listed for conservation and study the interactions between the fisher population and the re-introduced bobcat (Lynx rufus) population. 


Our thoughts are with Charlie’s family and loved ones at this difficult time.


A celebration of Charlie’s life and his contributions to ecology and conservation will be held in the late summer or early fall. More information will be sent to everyone once the plans are complete.


Contributions in Charlie’s memory may be made to The Nature Conservancy, 200 Pottersville Road, Chester, NJ  07930.



Lena Struwe reported the following presentation:

Judy Weis gave the following invited presentations:



Siobain Duffy reports the following publication: 


Lena Struwe has the following publication:


Lena  Struwe also reports the following published abstracts:


Judy Weis (Rutgers-Newark) has the following publication:


Faculty Achievements and Activities:

Joan Ehrenfeld was elected a Fellow of the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS), the highest honor given by the society. Fellows are active members of the Society who have been nominated by other active members to receive the honor, recommended by the Fellows Committee, and elected by the SWS Board of Directors.



Siobain Duffy reports the following grants:


Elizabeth Scott, (Entomology) a post-doc working with Karl Kjer and Co-PI’s Karl Kjer and Chris Raxworthy (American Museum of Natural History) received a 3 year grant from NSF, “Phylogeny and Classification of Ranid Frogs (Anura, Natanura): Synthesis of Morphology and Molecules” $546,021 of which the Rutgers subcontract is $61,415.   They will be studying frog phylogenetics.

Advisory Panels:

Judy Weis (Rutgers-Newark) has been appointed Chairwoman of the NJ DEP Science Advisory Board.  

Other E&E Graduate Program faculty members on the four newly created standing committees for the State include Keith Cooper, Joan Ehrenfeld, Josh Kohut, Peter Morin, and Eric Powell.

A complete list of the appointments can be found below:


Student Awards, Achievements, and Activities:

Josh Moody has received an award from the Society of Wetland Scientists for his proposal titled ‘An assessment of population densities of Geukensia demissa in relation to areas of coastal erosion in the Delaware Estuary.'  This award of $1,000 is to be put towards research needs. Josh is a Master’s student working with Dave Bushek.


Congratulations to Steven Gray on the successful defense of his Ph.D dissertation. Steven’s advisor was Rebecca Jordan.


Congratulations to Christen McCoy on the successful defense of her Masters. Christen was advised by Mike Sukhdeo.



Kyle Bennett (Ph.D. 2009, advisor Rich Lutz) has accepted a Visiting Assistant Professorship at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst IL.


Robert Cox (Ph.D. 2005, advisor Henry John-Alder) has a paper in Nature


Heather Bowman-Cutaway (Ph.D. 2004, advisor Joan Ehrenfeld) was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure at Mercer College in Macon GA.


Domenic D’Amore (Ph.D. 2009, advisor Kathy Scott) has taken a full-time tenure-track vertebrate biology professor position at Daemen College in Amherst NY near Buffalo.


Kenneth Elgersma (Ph.D. 2010, advisor Joan Ehrenfeld) has accepted a post-doctoral fellowship studying plant invasion in wetlands with Deborah Goldberg at University of Michigan.


Chris Martine (MS advisor John Kuser) has two pieces of good news to report. He was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and received the 2010 Charles Edwin Bessey Teaching Award from the Botanical Society of America.


Kim Mendillo (MS 2009, advisor Joanna Burger) is currently working for New Jersey Audubon as a grassland bird research technician, at Westover Air Reserve Base in MA. Kim has given the following two presentations:


Nellie Tsipoura is also an E&E alumnae advised by Joanna Burger. Nellie received her Ph.D. in 1999.

Emilie Stander (Ph.D. 2007, advisor Joan Ehrenfeld) has several news items to report.

Emilie reports two publications as well:


Ai Wen  (Ph.D. 2010, co-advisors David and Joan Ehrenfeld) has accepted a half-time post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Epidemiology at the  University of Michigan working with Deborah Goldberg and Betsy Foxman. Ai will be doing statistical (and spatial) data analysis and interpretation of human oral microbial communities, as well as their correlations with human oral diseases. Ai describes the position as a 1/3 microbiologist/dentist and 2/3 ecologist job.