of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources
and Evolution Graduate Program Newsletter
Previous newsletters may be found at:
gave an invited presentation at the National Research Council, Everglades
Restoration meeting in Miami
Florida. The talk was titled “Status
of the Cape Sable seaside sparrow: a view from
the front lines. “
Peter Morin was
invited by the graduate students to speak in the Program in Ecology and
Evolutionary Biology seminar series at the University of Illinois,
Urbana-Champaign on 5 March. The title of Peter's talk was “Small Worlds: Using Experiments with Microbes
to Explore Patterns in Community Ecology.”
Jess Sanders, a Ph.D. candidate in Jason Grabosky's lab, gave a
presentation on March 6 at the New Jersey Arborist’s Chapter of the
International Society of Arborists. The
title of the talk was: “Urban tree planting and mortality statistics in the
boroughs of NYC.”
Lena Struwe reports the following presentations given at the 2008
Annual Meeting of Northeast Region of American Society for Horticultural
Science, Jan 3-5, 2008 in New
R., A. Novy, S. Eisenman, L. Struwe,
S. Bonos, & J. Grabosky.
2008. Assessing the genetic diversity of an ex situ germplasm collection
of dawn redwood (Metasequoia
glyptostroboides) trees. [poster]
S. W., A. Poulev, L. Struwe,
& I. Raskin. 2008. Genetic and
phytochemical variation in the medicinal plant wild tarragon Artemisia dracunculus L. [poster]
A., J. M. Hartman, P. Smouse, L.
Struwe, C. Miller, W. Skaradek, & S. Bonos. 2008. Can Population
Genetics Studies of Spartina
alterniflora (Smooth Cordgrass) Affect Marsh Restoration Horticultural
Andrew “Pete” Vayda,
Professor Emeritus, has given two presentations in England:
and don'ts in interdisciplinary research on causes of environmental
change: Illustrations from tropical forest-fire research," at
the University of Durham, Durham,
explanation of events as a research goal: Illustrations from Indonesia," at the University of Kent,
Canterbury, UK, March 11, 2008.
Holly Vuong, a Ph.D. student co advised by Peter Morin and Rick
Ostfeld, gave an invited presentation at the 9th Annual meeting of the NJ
Mosquito Control Association in Atlantic
City, March 11-14. The title of Holly’s talk was
"An exotic pathogen in an arid landscape: ecological associations of West
Nile virus and avian hosts of southern New
Steven Gray, a Ph.D. candidate in Rebecca Jordan’s lab, and Rebecca
Jordan have the following publication:
- Gray, S., C.E. Hmelo-Silver, L.
Liu, R.C. Jordan, H. Jeong. M.
Demeter. Learning with Ecosystem Models: A Tale of Two Classrooms. Proceedings of the International
Conference of the Learning Sciences. Utrecht,
has the following publication:
Blackburn, P. Cassey, and J.L. Lockwood.
The island biogeography of exotic birds. Global
Ecology and Biogeography 17: 246-251.
Lena Struwe reports
the following publication:
C., V. A. Albert, & L. Struwe. 2008. Amazonian lowland, white sand
areas as ancestral regions for South American biodiversity: biogeographic
and phylogenetic patterns in Potalia (Gentianaceae). Organisms, Diversity & Evolution 8: 44-57. This
publications shows for the first time that white-sand savannas in the
Amazon have evolutionary older plant lineages than the Andes and their
foot hills, clay-sediments in the Amazon, and the foothills of the tepuis
and Central America.
Andrew “Pete” Vayda published the
explanation as a research goal: A pragmatic view," chap. 19
(pp. 317-367) in Against the Grain: The Vayda Tradition in Human Ecology and
Ecological Anthropology, B.B. Walters et al.,
eds., Alta Mira Press, Lanham, MD, 2008.
Faculty Achievements and Activities:
Dighton, Director of the
Pinelands Field Station, would like everyone to check out the new and improved
web site for the Field Station (still under partial construction) at http://marine.rutgers.edu/pinelands/. Thanks to Anna Duljas for helping to set this
up - now watch for further improvements and additions.
Richard Lathrop, Director of the Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis
(CRSSA), reports that CRSSA has been busy the past month hosting workshops and
- On Feb 28, 2007,
the Walton Center for Remote Sensing &
Spatial Analysis hosted an all-day training workshop put on by the
Endangered & Nongame Species Program (ENSP). The hands-on workshop held in CRSSA's
Environmental Geomatics Instructional Computing Lab was focused on helping
government agency and nonprofit personnel understand and work with the
ENSP's Landscape Project GIS database.
The training session was filmed by NJN News network.
- The Walton Center for Remote Sensing &
Spatial Analysis (CRSSA) participated in a review of the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency’s “Research and Implementation Plan for a National
Atlas of Ecosystems Goods and Services.” James Wickham and Anne Neale of EPA’s
Office of Research and Development (Research Triangle, NC and Las Vegas,
NV) traveled to Rutgers CRSSA on February 27, 2008 to brief CRSSA faculty,
staff and graduate students on the proposed National Atlas, as well as a
broader restructuring of ORD’s Ecological Research Program to integrate
its wide-ranging ecological research around the theme of ecological goods
and services. The half day workshop
culminated in a roundtable discussion on the merits of the proposed
research plan and a short report summarizing CRSSA’s comments and
suggestions. Rutgers, along with Arizona State University,
were the only two universities invited to participate in this review
Scientists Visit CRSSA
On February 15, 2008, Dr. Zewei Miao, CRSSA Research
Associate, hosted Drs. Masayuki Yokozawa and Fulu Tao of the Agro-Meteorology
Division of the Japanese National Institute for Agro-Environmental
Sciences. Dr. Yokozawa presented a
seminar on his work modeling carbon dynamics in the soils of rice paddies and
Dr. Tao discussed his work on modeling carbon dynamics in forests.
The Environmental Geomatics Certificate Program, in its
18th year of operation, will be graduating its 150th student this coming
spring. The Environmental Geomatics Certificate is run jointly by the
Departments of Ecology, Evolution & Natural Resources and Landscape
Architecture and CRSSA, with Prof. Rick
Lathrop serving as advisor since its inception.
and Rebecca Boulton, a post-doc in
Julie’s lab, have received a grant of $75,000 from the US Fish and Wildlife
Service for “Conspecific attraction and the recovery of the Cape
Sable seaside sparrow (Ammodramus
Julie Lockwood has been appointed to the Editorial Board of Biological Invasions.
Robert Trivers has been awarded a Fellowship at the Institute for
Advanced Studied in Berlin
for 2008-2009 to complete his book on “Deceit and Self-deception.”
organized a workshop in “Phylogenetic analysis of morphological and molecular
data using Winclada and TNT” by invited speaker Christopher Hardy in the Graduate
Program in Plant Biology on February 29th.
Judy and Pete Weis spent the month
of January in a very remote western coastal area of Madagascar at a field station run
by an organization called Blue Ventures. Blue Ventures has volunteers that work
on reef monitoring and with local communities in setting up marine protected
areas. They were there as independent investigators. Judy reports that they
were the only ones who weren't diving at the reefs, but snorkeling in the
mangroves about a mile away from the site. They were investigating which
species of fish utilize the mangrove as a nursery habitat. Just by serendipity
(which was initially thought to be very bad luck) their time there coincided
with the time when the larger juveniles of many species left the mangrove
followed the next week by the recruitment of new small juveniles. Judy says it
turned out to be very interesting. Living conditions were very primitive - they
appreciated the 6 hours a day of electricity and 3 hours a day of running water
(though it looked like tea).
Richard Lathrop of DEENR and CRSSA and Endre
Boros of RUTCOR were awarded a Rutgers Academic Excellence Fund grant to
develop a "Climate and Health Initiative." Collaborating on the project is Nina
Fefferman of DIMACS, Melike Baysal-Gursoy of Industrial Engineering, Dina
Fonseca and Randy Gaugler of the
Center for Vector Biology, and Mark Robson of NJAES.
Tom Virzi, a Ph.D. candidate in Julie Lockwood’s lab, has been
awarded funding in the amount of $12,000 for the fourth consecutive year from
the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife - Endangered and Nongame Species Program
(ENSP) to continue his demographic study of American oystercatchers breeding in
coastal NJ. This year, Tom’s research
will focus on establishing breeding season survey protocols that will be used
by ENSP to continue monitoring oystercatchers after Tom completes his PhD this
summer. Additionally, he will be
continuing his mark-recapture study and establishing formal protocols that will
be used in the future for this long-term project.
Tom Virzi was
also awarded funding from US Fish and Wildlife Service in the amount of $3,000
for the fourth consecutive year to continue to support his work studying the
factors influencing American oystercatcher nest success at the Edwin B.
Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. This
year, the funding will be used to help support a nest exclosure study being
conducted by Patti Rendo who begins her work on her master's degree with Dr.
Julie Lockwood this coming fall. Tom
believes this is the first attempt to use exclosures on oystercatcher nests and
if successful could prove to be an important conservation tool in efforts to
increase productivity for the species since nest depredation is a key limiting
factor throughout the species' range.
served on the National Science Foundation review panel for Dissertation
Improvement Grants in Ecology.
Awards, Achievements, and Activities:
Jean Deo, Ph.D.
student co-advised by Peter Morin and Rick Ostfeld, received a Rea Grant of
$3960 from the Powdermill Nature Reserve, the Biological Research Station of
Museum of Natural History . http://www.powdermill.org/. Jean will be
using this money to continue her research on the effects
of acid rain on the health and reproduction of Ovenbirds and Wood Thrush. Specifically, she will examine how calcium
loss, a result of soil acidification, affects the nesting success and immune
response in these two species.
Steven Gray, a Ph.D. candidate in Rebecca Jordan’s lab, has received a grant from the
National Science Foundation Office of International Science and Engineering for
$10,500. The grant is titled: Improving
the Management of Data-poor fisheries: Evaluating Risk and Uncertainty in
Management. This money will allow Steven to spend 2 months in Sydney, Australia
working with the Department of Primary Industry, Branch of Capture
Fisheries under the advisement of fisheries ecologist, Dr. James
In March and April, Esther Leibovich, a
Ph.D. candidate in Gary Taghon’s
lab, will be running the 3-week microteaching workshop for CASTL and the
Teaching Assistant Project. Esther is a Head TA for the General Biology courses
in the Division of Life Sciences.
Blake Mathys, a
Ph.D. candidate in the Julie Lockwood lab, and Ai Wen, a Ph.D. candidate working with Joan and David Ehrenfeld, co-led
a birding trip on March 8th for the Whitesbog Preservation Trust. The trip was to
introduce the public to the avifauna in the historical Whitesbog Village
and the active/abandoned cranberry and blueberry farms.
Holly Vuong, a Ph.D student co-advised by Peter Morin and Rick
Ostfeld, has been accepted by DIMACS/AIMS/SACEMA for the second phase of
infectious disease modeling in Muizenburg, South Africa from June 30-July 11,
2008. The program will consist of some lectures, but the main focus will be
completing the research project Holly began at last year's workshop. The
sponsors cover flight, food, and lodging costs.
Ai Wen, a Ph.D.
candidate co-advised by Joan and David Ehrenfeld, received a $5000 grant from
the New Jersey Water Resource Research Institute for year 2008.
Congratulations on the successful
completion of the qualifying exam to:
- Steven Gray,
advisor Rebecca Jordan on March 11th.
Feinberg, advisor Joanna Burger, on March 13th.
(Ph.D. 1986, advisor Robert Vrijenhoek) has published the following -
Graham, J. H., A. J. Krzysik, D. A. Kovacic, J. J. Duda, D.
C. Freeman, J. M. Emlen, J. C. Zak, W. R. Long, M.P. Wallace, C.
Chamberlin-Graham, J. Nutter, and H. Balbach. 2008. Ant community
composition across a gradient of disturbed military landscapes at Fort Benning, Georgia. Southeastern Naturalist (in press).
Jeremy Fox, (Ph.D. 2000, advisor Peter Morin) reports the following publication:
Fox, Jeremy W., and W. Stanley
Harpole. 2008. Revealing how species loss affects ecosystem function: the
trait-based Price Equation partition. Ecology
Ishaani Sen, (M.S. 2008, advisor David Ehrenfeld)
has accepted a position as Associate Programme Officer with the UN Fund for
International Partnerships (http://www.un.org/unfip/).
Ishaani is responsible for assisting with all aspects of program development
and management, with a special focus on environmental programs (biodiversity,
energy, and climate change).
(M.S. 1988, Ph.D. 1992, advisor Peter Morin) has been promoted to the rank of
Professor in the Department of Entomology at the University
of California, Davis. Congratulations to Sharon!