Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources


Ecology and Evolution Graduate Program Newsletter


January 2006


Previous newsletters may be found at:


We are pleased to begin the new year with the expanded newsletter. We are now including information from not only DEENR faculty, E&E graduate students and alumni but from E&E graduate program faculty as well. The E&E graduate program faculty’s departmental affiliation, if other than DEENR, will be noted in parenthesis following their name or news piece.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this inaugural edition of the expanded newsletter. We look forward to hearing from more of you for future editions.



Jason Grabosky  gave the following presentations this month:

  • On Jan. 18 he spoke at the North Jersey RCRE Turf, Tree and Landscape Symposium. His talk was titled: "The top five ways to kill your client's tree and not even realize it"
  • On Jan. 30 he presented two talks titled "Tree selection software and resources" and

"Dealing with tree-pavement conflicts.” at the Atlantic City NJASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) annual meeting.


Teresa Johnson, a Ph.D. candidate in Bonnie McCay’s lab, gave a presentation on Cooperative Research in Marine Fisheries at a special symposium of the American Fisheries Society, Anchorage, Alaska, September 2005.  She and Bonnie McCay were invited panelists for the 2 day Sea Grant symposium on Cooperative Fisheries Science and Management. 


Jennifer Adams Krumins, a Ph.D. candidate in Peter Morin’s lab,  gave a presentation to the Advanced Life Support Research and Development Group at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on January 10, 2006 titled, "Causes and Consequences of Diversity in Microbial Communities".  


The research of Michael May (Entomology) and his Ph.D. student David Moskowitz were featured in National Geographic in October. The work is in collaboration with Martin Wikelski of Princeton University.

For more information about the use of radio transmitters and dragonfly migration:


George McGhee (Geological Sciences) gave an invited lecture, "A Spatial Approach to Evolutionary Constraint", on 4 August at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Vienna, Austria, where he was in residence as a Fellow.


Kristen Ross, a Ph.D. candidate in Joan Ehrenfeld’s lab, attended a conference sponsored by the Ecological Society of America held January 8-12, 2006, in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.  The conference was titled: Ecology in an Era of Globalization: Challenges and Opportunities for Environmental Scientists in the Americas.

Kristen presented a poster, co-authored with Joan Ehrenfeld and Manisha V. Patel, in the Invasive Species poster session. The poster was titled “The Effects of Soil Amendments on the Nitrogen Dynamics of Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) and Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) in New Jersey Forests.”.

Kristen’s travel was partly sponsored by the Graduate School of New Brunswick Conference Travel Award program.



Dave Bushek (Marine and Coastal Sciences and Haskins Shellfish Research Lab) and Sean Boyd a Master’s student in David’s lab report:

  • David Bushek and Sean Boyd. "Seasonal Abundance and Occurrence of the Asian Isopod Synidotea laevidorsalis in Delaware Bay,USA."  Biological Invasions (2006) 00:1-6


Robert Cox (Ph.D. 2005) and his advisor Henry John-Alder (Department of Animal Sciences) published the following:

  • Cox, Robert M. and Henry B. John-Alder. Testosterone has opposite effects on male growth in lizards (Sceloporus spp.) with opposite patterns of sexual size dimorphism. Journal of Experimantal Biology 208: 4679-4687.


Kathy Sedia (Ph.D. 2001) and her advisor Joan Ehrenfeld co-authored:

  • Sedia, E. and J. G. Ehrenfeld. Extracellular enzyme activities and decomposition rates in lichen and moss mats of the New Jersey Pinelands. Biology and Fertility of Soils.  


Rebecca Jordan reported the following:

  • Spady, T.C., O Seehausen, E.R. Loew, R.C. Jordan, T.D. Kocher, and K.L. Carleton. 2005. Adaptive molecular evolution in the opsin genes of rapidly speciating cichlid species. Molecular Biology and Evolution 22: 1412-1422.


Julie Lockwood published the following:

  • Lockwood, J.L. Stranger in a strange land: Book review of Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion.  Issues in Science and Technology 22:85-88.
  • Lockwood, J.L. Life in a double-hotspot: the transformation of Hawaiian bird diversity following invasion and extinction.  Biological Invasions 8: 449-457.
  • Marchetti, M.P., J.L. Lockwood and T. Light. Urbanization promotes invasion and extinction but not homogenization among California freshwater fishes. Biological Conservation, 127: 310-318.


Bonnie McCay (Human Ecology) reports the following publications:

·       Bradley Walters, Bonnie J. McCay, C. Paige West, and Susan Lees, eds.  Forthcoming.  Against the Grain:  TheVayda Tradition in Anthropology and Human Ecology.  Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

·        McCay, Bonnie J. 2005.  Gender, Globalization and a Tragic Choice on Fogo Island, Newfoundland:  The Human Rights Case,” in Barbara Neis, Marian Binkley, Siri Gerrard and Maria Cristina Maneschy, eds.,  Changing Tides: Gender, Fisheries and Globalization. Halifax, Fernwood Press.  Pp 116-132.

·        McCay, Bonnie J. 2006. “Oyster Wars, the Public Trust, and the Law in New Jersey,” in New Jersey’s Environments: Past, Present, and Future,  Neil M. Maher, ed.  New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

·        McCay, Bonnie J. 2005. “Getting to the Bottom of It:  Bringing Social Science into Benthic Habitat Management” in P.W. Barnes and J.P. Thomas, eds., Benthic Habitats and the Effects of Fishing.  American Fisheries Society Symposium 41. Bethesda, MD: American Fisheries Society.


Peter Morin’s lab reports the following publication:

  • Jennifer B. Hughes Martiny, Brendan J.M. Bohannan, James H. Brown, Robert Colwell, Jed Fuhrman, Jessica Green, M. Claire Horner-Devine,Matthew Kane, Jennifer Adams Krumins, Cheryl R. Kuske, Peter Morin, Shahid Naeem, Lise øvreås, Anna-Louise Reysenbach, Val Smith, James Staley. 2006. Microbial biogeography: Putting microorganisms on the map. Nature Reviews Microbiology 4: 102-112.


Steward T.A. Pickett and his lab at the Institute for Ecosystems Studies (IES) in Millbrook, NY have published the following:

  • Grove, J.M., M. Cadenasso, W.R. Burch, Jr., S.T.A. Pickett, J. P. M. O'Neil-Dunne, K. Schwarz, M. Wilson, A. R. Troy and C. Boone.  2006. "Data and Methods Comparing Social Structure and Vegetation Structure of Urban Neighborhoods in Baltimore, Maryland." Society & Natural Resources 19:117-136.


Alison Siegel,( M.S. 2006, advisor Colleen Hatfield) a Ph.D. student in Julie Lockwood’s lab, and Jean Marie Hartman (Landscape Architecture) report the following:


The Peter Smouse lab is continues to be busy:

·        Smouse PE and Robledo-Arnuncio JJ. 2005. Measuring the genetic structure of the pollen pool as the probability of paternal identity. Heredity 94:640-649.

  • Sork VL, Grivet D and Smouse PE. 2005. Gene flow in California valley oak varies both spatially and temporally. In: Proc. XVII Internat. Botan. Congr. Vienna, p. 210.
  • Grivet D, Smouse PE and Sork VL. 2005. A new approach to the study of seed dispersal: a novel approach to an old problem. Molec. Ecol. 14:3585-3595.
  • Gonzales E, Hamrick JL (2005) Distribution of genetic diversity among disjunct populations of the rare forest understory herb, Trillium reliquum. Heredity 95:306-314
  • Sork VL and Smouse PE. 2006. Genetic analysis of landscape connectivity in tree populations. Landsc. Ecol. (in press)
  • Peakall R and Smouse PE. 2005. GenAlEx 6: Genetic Analysis in Excel. Population genetic software for teaching and research. Molec. Ecol. Notes (in press).
  • Gonzales E, Hamrick JL, Smouse PE and Dyer RJ. 2006. Pollen mediated gene dispersal within continous and fragmented populations of a forest understory species, Trillium cuneatum. Molec. Ecol. (in press)


Software release:

·        Peakall R and Smouse PE. 2005. GenAlEx 6: Genetic Analysis in Excel. Population Genetic Software forTeaching and Research ã Aust. Natl. Univ., Canberra, Australia.


Two new and very rare species of the anti-malarial gentian genus Tachia have been described by Lena Struwe, Paul Maas, and Cook honors undergraduate Matt Kinkade in the most recent issue of Blumea. These species have only been found once or three times, respectively, and are from the southern part of Brazil in an area that this genus previously was not known.  Tachia siwertii is named after Swedish palynologist Siwert Nilsson, and Tachia lancisepala is named after its knife-like sepals, with long sharp apices.

To read more:
 Struwe, L., M. P. Kinkade, & P. J. M. Maas. 2005. Two new Brazilian species of Tachia (Gentianaceae: Helieae). Blumea 50: 457-462.


Robert Trivers (Anthropology) and his co-authors William M. Brown, Lee Cronk, Keith Grochow, Amy Jacobson, C. Karen Liu, Zoran Popovi had the cover article in Nature: “Dance reveals symmetry especially in young men.” on Decemeber 22, 2005, p1148


Judy Weis (Dept of  Biology, Newark) reports the following publications:

·        Weis, J.S. Diet and food web support of the white perch, Morone americana, in the Hackensack Meadowlands of New Jersey. Environ. Biol. Fishes 74:109-113 (2005)

·        Yuhas, C., Hartman, J., Weis, J.S. Benthic communities in Spartina alterniflora- and Phragmites australis-dominated salt marshes in the Meadowlands, New Jersey. Urban Habitats, vol 3 #1 on line (2005).

·        Weis, J.S. and P. Weis. Use of intertidal mangrove and sea wall habitats by coral reef fishes in the Wakatobi Marine Part, Indonesia. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 53: 119-124 (2005)


     Faculty Achievements and Activities:

Peter Smouse will join the Genetic Variations and Evolution grants panel of NIH in February 2006.


A workshop on "Teaching Evolution at Rutgers" for all university faculty has been planned for 8 Feb 2006 by members of the E&E graduate program. The keynote speakers will be Eugenie Scott (Director of the National Center for Science Education), Diane Ebert-May (Professor of Plant Biology, Michigan State University), Paul Falkowski (IMCS, Rutgers University), and Robert Goodman (Executive Dean of Cook College, Rutgers University). Following the morning symposium, and a catered lunch, faculty will break out into workshop sessions. Workshops will cover several topics, including: bringing evolutionary content into 'non-evolutionary' courses; designing life-science curricula and university core curricula with evolution in mind; and Pathways to Scientific Teaching about Evolution. The planning for the workshop/symposium is a joint effort by Jody Hey and Chi-hua Chiu (Genetics, FAS) and Lena Struwe, Karl Kjer, Rebecca Jordan and Peter Smouse (all of the department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources). The event is sponsored by both the FAS Executive Dean and the Cook Executive Dean, as well as several departments at Cook and FAS. For more information, go to:

Register before Jan 29 - space is limited!


Advisory Panels: 

  • Joan Ehrenfeld served as a member of the Energy Policy Advisory Group to the Corzine Transition Team.
  • Bonnie McCay (Human Ecology) serves on the New Jersey Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Offshore Wind Energy, which is due to make its final report in March 2006. 


Student Awards, Achievements, and Activities:

Sean Boyd, a Master’s student in Dave Bushek’s lab, was awarded $2000 from the NJ Water Resources Research Institute for his research. The project is titled: “The Potential Impact of the Asian Isopod, Synidotea laevidorsalis (Miers 1881), on the Delaware Bay, USA.”



Juan Jose Robledo Arnuncio, a Post-doc in Peter Smouse’s lab, has taken a position with the Laboratoire Génétique et Environnement, Université de Montpellier (France), where he is a recipient of the very prestigious Marie Curie Postdoctoral Award from the EU. We will miss him and wish him all the best.



John Graham,(Ph.D.1986, advisor Robert Vrijenhoek) Reid Professor of Biology and Chair of the Biology Department at Berry College, in northwestern Georgia has sent the following news items that appeared in their own newsletter: 

  • Dr. Graham was recognized for writings that “stand out in terms of importance and quality” during a review of the book Developmental Instability: Causes and Consequences that recently appeared in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.  Dr. Graham and his collaborators wrote five chapters for the book describing various elements of their cutting-edge theoretical and empirical work on the phenomenon of fluctuating asymmetry.  The review was written by Benedikt Hallgrimsson of the University of Calgary. 
  • Dr. Graham has coauthored an article published in Ecological Indicators that is titled “Leaf Fluctuating Asymmetry, Soil Disturbance, and Plant Stress: A Multiple Year Comparison Using Two Herbs, Ipomoea pandurata and Cnidoscolus stimulosus.”  These two herbs respond to ecosystem-level stress associated with military training at Fort Benning, GA. Graham and colleagues found that leaf asymmetry increased with soil disturbance and burning in the previous year. 
  • In August, Dr. Graham presented one paper and was coauthor of two other talks at the joint meetings of the International Congress of Ecology and the Ecological Society of America in Montreal.  Dr. Graham’s talk, titled “Intermediate Disturbance and Ant Communities in a Forested Ecosystem,” was coauthored with students Russ Long and Jonathan Nutter and collaborators at Prescott College and the University of Illinois, Champaign.  Prior to that meeting, Dr. Graham’s colleagues presented results from their research on landscape disturbance and biodiversity at the International Botanical Congress in Vienna.

Recent papers in 2005:

  • Miglia, K. J., E. D. McArthur, W. Moore, H. Wang, J. H. Graham, and D. C. Freeman.  Narrow hybrid zone between basin and mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata: Asteraceae).  XIV. Nine year reciprocal transplant update: the importance of multiple-year tracking of fitness.  Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (in press)
  • Freeman, D. C., M. L. Brown, J. J. Duda, J. H. Graham, J. M. Emlen, A. Krzysik, H. Balbach, D. Kovacic, and J. C. Zak.  Developmental instability in Rhus copallinum L.: multiple stressors, years, and responses.  International Journal of Plant Sciences (in press)
  • Freeman, D. C., M. L. Brown, J. J. Duda, J. H. Graham, J. M. Emlen, A. J. Krzysik, H. Balbach, D. A. Kovacic, and J. C. Zak.  2005.  Leaf fluctuating asymmetry, soil disturbance and plant stress: a multiple year comparison using two herbs, Ipomoea pandurata and Cnidoscolus stimulosusEcological Indicators 5: 85-95.

John’s homepage:


Robert Hedin, ( Ph.D. 1987, advisor Joan Ehrenfeld) President of Hedin Environmental in Pittsburgh. reports the following publication:

Hedin RS, Stafford SL and Weater TJ, 2005. Acid mine drainage flowing from abandoned gas wells. Mine Water and the Environment: 24(2) 104-106.


Alex Hernandez, (Ph.D. 2005, advisor Michael Sukhdeo) was awarded a two-year Post-doctoral Fellowship grant by the Japan Society for the Progress of Science (JSPS) to study the ecology of parasites and Japanese macaques on Yakushima Island, Japan.  The title of the grant is: Structure and energetics of the Yakushima Island food web sustaining Japanese macaques (Macaca uscata) and their helminth parasites". Alex’s stay in Japan is sponsored by the Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University and the work will be in collaboration with Dr. Michael Huffman.


Jorge Saliva (Ph.D. 1995, advisor Joanna Burger) is working with the Endangered Species Program of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Boquerón, Puerto Rico. He sent the following publication co-authored with David Shealer (Ph.D. 1995, advisor Joanna Burger). David is in the Department of Biology at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

  • Shealer, D.A., J.E. Saliva, and J. Pierce.  2005.  Annual survival and movement patterns of Roseate Terns breeding in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Waterbirds 28: 79-86.


Kathy Sedia (Ph.D. 2001, advisor Joan Ehrenfeld) has been promoted to Associate Professor of Biology at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Congratulations Kathy!


Bradley Walters (Ph.D. 2001, advisor Bonnie McCay) is a tenured associate professor at Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada.  He is beginning a new forestry research project on the Caribbean island of St Lucia.  He and Professor Bonnie McCay are co-editors of a forthcoming Lexington Press volume, “Against the Grain,” which commemorates the career and ideas of emeritus faculty member Andrew P. (“Pete”) Vayda.