Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources


Ecology and Evolution Graduate Program Newsletter


January 2007



Previous newsletters may be found at:



Congratulations to Professor Robert Trivers on receiving the Crafoord Prize.


Dr. Robert Trivers was selected to receive the Crafoord Prize in 2007 for his many contributions to the field of evolutionary biology. This prize is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in areas not considered by the Nobel Committee, including Mathematics and non-medical Biological Sciences. It is an exceptional recognition of outstanding achievement by one of our colleagues.
Complete text of the announcement is available at the Academy’s Web site: .


For the Rutgers news release visit:



Joan Ehrenfeld gave a talk titledThe challenge of restoring soils and managing invasive plant species in hardwood forests” at the Mid-Atlantic Section Society for Ecological Restoration meeting in Philadelphia, PA.

Henry John-Alder with Robert Cox and Emily Taylor (Cal. State San Luis

Obispo) presented an invited contribution titled "Proximate Determinants of Sexual Size Dimorphism: Case Studies From Squamate Reptiles" in a Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) symposium called "Ecological Dimorphisms in Vertebrates: Proximate and Ultimate Causes".  The SICB conference was held in Phoenix during the first week of January.


Jeremy Feinberg, a Ph.D. student in Joanna Burger’s lab, presented a poster at the Eighth Conference of the Herpetological Association of Africa at North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa in January.

  • Feinberg, J.A., T.M. Green and K.E. Hoffmann.  2006.  “Using GIS to study habitat use and home range of rare herpetofauna at Brookhaven National Laboratory.”


On January 9th, Frank Gallagher, a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Jason Grabosky’s Urban Forestry lab, gave a presentation on the significance of green space in the New York Harbor for the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance. The talk was given as a correlate to a presentation by Amy Meyer, co-chair, People for a Golden Gate National Recreation Area.


Jason Grabosky spoke in Tempe AZ on January  9th  at the  Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture workshop. The talk was titled "Three quick looks at recent pruning studies."


Jason Grabosky spoke on January 17th to the Central Jersey Turf and Ornamental Institute at the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association (NJNLA) Conference and Tradeshow. The presentation was titled "Selection of plant materials for the urban environment."


Jason Grabosky gave a presentation titled "Best management practices for trees:  Trees on Park Grounds" to the Bergen County Parks and Recreation Department on January 25th in Hackensack, NJ.


Peter Morin visited the Netherlands from 23 January to 1 February to present three invited seminars and participate in graduate classes and meetings.

  • He presented a seminar to the Animal Ecology group at the University of Leiden, on 24 January, titled "Experimental Studies of Community Ecology - Linking Dynamics and Structure".
  • On 25 January he presented an invited lecture in the SEE series sponsored by the

Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at the University of Amsterdam.

  • On 26 January he participated in a "master class" for ecology graduate students at the University of Amsterdam.
  • He also presented the honorary lecture at the Verweij meeting of the Functional Ecology Graduate School (of the Netherlands, in Lunteren), which took place on Jan. 29-31. The title of his talk was "Experiments on the functional ecology of microbes: some lessons learned from small worlds." The goal of the Verweij meeting is to give graduate students in Ecology and Evolutionary biology in the Netherlands the opportunity to meet and present their research to an audience of fellow students and their supervisors.

Graduate Schools are organized around thematic topics in the Netherlands, and seven universities participate in the Functional Ecology Graduate School. Peter is keen to build collaborations between Rutgers and the many excellent ecologists and evolutionary

biologists that he interacted with in the Netherlands.

David Moskowitz, a Ph.D. student in the Mike May lab, has given several presentations recently:

  • Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) at Rutgers University National Law Center on Wetlands, Threatened and Endangered Species and Category 1 waters.
  • Rockaway Valley Garden Club on the  Butterflies of New Jersey
  • Mount Holly Garden Club on Landscaping for Butterflies and the Great Monarch Migration to Mexico


Jackie Taylor, a Master’s student in David Bushek’s lab, presented a poster at the Delaware Estuary Science Conference on January 22-24 titled “Preliminary investigations of constructed oyster reef habitat in lower Delaware Bay.”



Jeremy Feinberg, a Ph.D. student in Joanna Burger’s lab, has the following publication:

  • Goodyear, S.E. and J.A. Feinberg.  2006.  Heterodon platirhinos (Eastern Hognose Snake).  Envenomation and Prey Survival.  Natural History Note.  Herpetological Review. 37 (3): 352-353.    


William Landesman, a Ph.D. candidate in John Dighton’s lab, collaborated with students and faculty from Washington University in St. Louis on the following publication:

  • William J. Landesman, Brian F. Allan, R. Brian Langerhans, Tiffany M. Knight, and Jonathan M. Chase, “Inter-annual Associations Between  Precipitation and Human Incidence of West Nile Virus in the United  States.” Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. (in Press)


Inga Parker La Puma, a Ph.D. candidate in Rick Lathrop’s lab, has published her Master’s work:

  • La Puma IP, Philippi TE, and SF Oberbauer "Relating NDVI to ecosystem CO2 exchange patterns in response to season length and soil warming manipulations in arctic Alaska," Remote Sensing of Environment (in press).


Advisory Panels:

Jason Grabosky was a Delegate for an international research group convened by US Forest Service, urban and community forestry to discuss research priorities in pruning of landscape trees. The research group met in Phoenix AZ. on January 8th .


Jason Grabosky has been asked and agreed to serve on the board of directors for the New Jersey Shade Tree Federation.


Student Awards, Achievements, and Activities:

Jeremy Feinberg, a Ph.D. student working with Joanna Burger, appeared in a segment of the new PBS television program, Science Investigators, which aired January 10th. Jeremy described his research on the mysterious disappearance of Leopard Frogs from a portion of their previous range in Long Island, as part of a segment on amphibian declines. If you missed the show, and want to see this segment, you can view it at Go to chapter 3 "Mystery in the Swamp." It is approximately 10 minutes long.


Cindy Puzio, an undergraduate working in Jason Grabosky’s Urban Forestry program, received an at-large student scholarship for $1000 from the Bartlett Tree Foundation. These special scholarships are made to four to students in arboriculture/urban forestry who have a genuine interest in a career in arboriculture



Myla Aronson, advisor Steven Handel, successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation on December 21st.  Myla’s dissertation was titled “Ecological Change by Alien Plants in an Urban Landscape.”  Congratulations Myla!


Eric Simms, advisor John Quinlan, successfully defended his Master’s on Dec 21st. Congratulations Eric!



Robert Cox, Ph.D 2005, advisor Henry John-Alder, reports the following presentations and publications. Bob will be moving to Dartmouth as a postdoc this month.

  • Cox, RM, A Munoz-Garcia, M Jurkowitz, and JB Williams. “Beta-glucocerobrosidase activity in stratum corneum of house sparrows acclimated to high and low humidity.” Presented at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in Phoenix.
  • Cox, RM, and HB John-Alder. Increased mite parasitism as a cost of testosterone in male Striped Plateau Lizards, Sceloporus virgatus. Functional Ecology (in press).


Dan Hernandez, Ph.D. 2005, advisor David Drake, has been on an expedition to Tierra del Fuego in southern Chile for the past few weeks. He has a webpage with many photographs, video, and a detailed travel log:


Dan is currently an Assistant Professor at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.


The E&E extended family continues to grow with the birth of Simon Nathaniel Price. Simon was born to Jennifer Price (Ph.D. 2004, advisor Peter Morin) and her husband Chad, five weeks early on Dec 22nd. Simon weighed only 4 lbs. 2 oz. at birth. He spent a week in neonatal intensive care but is now home and doing very well. Congratulations Jennifer and Chad.


Phil Stouffer, Ph.D. 1989, advisor Harry Power, has the following publication in Science 315:238-241.

  • A Large –Scale Deforestation Experiment: Effects of Patch Area and Isolation on Amazon Birds.  Co-Authors include Goncalo Ferras, James D. Nichols, James E. Hines, Richard O. Bierregaard Jr., and Thomas E. Lovejoy.