Department of Ecology,
Evolution and Natural Resources
Ecology and Evolution
Graduate Program Newsletter
Previous newsletters may be found at:
DEENR and the E&E Graduate Program
have much good news to celebrate this month.
Congratulations to the following faculty members on their promotions:
To Associate Professor:
To Professor I
Dr. Rick Lathrop
To Professor II:
We also have good news to report from Ted Stiles. He has completed his
regimen of chemotherapy and radiation and is looking forward to a full
recovery. Ted will be teaching Preserving New Jersey’s Open Spaces and Concepts
and Methods in Evolution as usual this fall.
The Rutgers-Princeton-Penn Conference was
held April 1st at the University of Pennsylvania.
The ecology and evolution
graduate students from Princeton, University
of Pennsylvania and Rutgers
meet yearly to give presentations on their research. The host university
rotates yearly with graduate students at the hosting university responsible for
organizing that years meeting.
Three E&E students gave
- Myla Aronson , a Ph.D. candidate in Steven Handel’s lab, presented “Past, present and future of an old
growth forest: vegetation change and exotic species invasions over 50
Lettini, a Ph.D.
student in Mike Sukhdeo’s lab presented work
done by she and Mike titled “Anhydrobiosis:
an ecological strategy to increase transmission success in
- Emilie Stander, a Ph.D. candidate in Joan
Ehrenfeld’s lab, presented “Do urban wetlands leak nitrogen?
The effects of urbanization on nitrate removal capacity of urban
Elgersma, Linda Rohleder, Di Li, John Ruppert, Aabir Banerji,
Kristen Ross, Kim Mendillo, Bill Landesman also attended
gave a plenary address, titled “Wetland Restoration in Urban Areas: Constraints
and Chances” at the 2006 Sustainable Landscapes Conference (entitled “Wildland and Urban Restoration: Processes of Rejuvenating
Place”) at Utah State
University on April 3.
Ehrenfeld gave a keynote address, titled “Finding Ecology
in the ‘Burbs” at the annual meeting of the
Mid-Atlantic Section of the Ecological Society of America on April 8, held in Branchville,
Alex Felson a Ph.D.
student in Steward T.A. Pickett’s lab,
lectured at the Natural Resources Summit, an EDAW firm-wide ecology symposium
in Sacramento California
also lectured at University of Pennsylvania
in the Landscape Architecture Department on March 31st.
Joe Paulin, a
Ph.D. candidate David Ehrenfeld’s lab has been quite busy:
was invited to participate in several symposiums at the 62nd Annual
Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, Burlington
Vermont April 23-26.
gave a presentation, “Reducing human-wildlife conflicts in New
Jersey,” at the general meeting of the Northeast
Wildlife Damage Management Research and Outreach Cooperative.
was an invited panelist for the symposium, “No Child Allowed Outdoors:
Perceived Wildlife Risks in the Great Outdoors,” sponsored by the NEWDM
Cooperative and the Human Dimensions Research Unit at Cornell
was also invited to participate in a pilot test of a bear management
simulation model being developed by Cornell
gave a guest lecture in Jason Grabosky’s Urban Forestry class on suburban/urban wildlife in New
trained Ocean County Master Gardeners in techniques to reduce unwanted
human-wildlife interactions around the home and garden.
was invited to present a table display to educate children about black
bears at the Mercer County Improvement Authority Annual Earth Day Event.
Jonathon Schramm, a
Ph.D. candidate in Joan Ehrenfeld’s lab,
presented a poster titled
"The presence of Japanese stiltgrass
(Microstegium vimineum) as
related to intermittent hydrology and forest age," at the chapter meeting
of the Mid-Atlantic section of the Ecological
Society of America.
Judy Weis visited Louisiana
in Baton Rouge to present a seminar
in the Biology Department on “Effects of the Phragmites Invasion in Atlantic
Joanna Burger has
authored Whispers in the Pines; A
Naturalist in the Northeast, published
University Press. The Rutgers University Press description
reads: “Joanna Burger takes us on a series of delightful trips through the Pine
Barrens... Whispers in the Pines is essential reading for
everyone concerned with the history and preservation of these unique landscapes
and their wildlife.”
Steven Clemants and Carol Gracie have published Wildflowers in
the Field and Forest, A
Field Guide to the Northeastern United States.
For details visit the Oxford University Press website:
Gilman E and Grabosky J .
2006. "Branch union morphology affects decay following
pruning". Arboriculture &
Urban Forestry 32(2):74-79.
R., Kellogg, K., Howe, D., Juanes, F., Stauffer, J., and Loew
E. 2006. Photopigment spectral absorbance of Lake
Malawi cichlids. Journal of Fish Biology 68:
C., Z. Long, J. Krumins, and P. Morin. 2006. Population
and community resilience in multitrophic communities.
Faculty Achievements and Activities:
Joanna Burger is receiving an honorary
Ph.D. from the University of Alaska at their
commencement exercises this spring.
March 2006 issue of "Landscape Architect and Specifier
News" has a long article about the new "Orange
County Great Park"
project in California where Steven Handel's lab is restoring the
extensive natural habitats. The 1,450
acre land was a former U.S.
government air base. The article, "A Great Park, choosing the next
Olmstead," (pages 66-74) describes the competition process and alternative
proposals that were considered for this vast landscape.
Jordan is on the Ad-hoc
Taskforce for Undergraduate Education Curriculum implementation committee.
Bonnie J. McCay
reports the following:
The peninsula of Baja
California is the location of a research project
that I share with colleagues at several universities in the US
UC-Santa Barbara) and Mexico
(UABS, CIBNOR). It is funded through the NSF "Biocomplexity"
competition, and it seeks to use empirical data and modeling to account for the
performance of the benthic component of the marine ecosystems and the fishery-based
social systems of the Pacific Coast of Baja (better known as the home of the
"Baja taco"). A graduate student from Rutgers Anthropology, Wendy
Weisman, is doing ethnographic research on site, and in March (20-24) I had a
brief field trip there, together with consulting anthropologists Maria Cruz
Torres (Arizona State)
and Matthew Des Lauriers (Cal. State
Northridge). We spent the week on Isla de Cedros, about 20 m off the tip of the Vizcaino
peninsula, within the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve.
This site and others in the region are locales for fishery cooperatives that
recently (2005) received certification for sustainable lobster fishing from the
Marine Stewardship Council. This is the first time that either Latin
American or small-scale, artisanal fisheries have received such certification,
and we are trying to explain this case of sustainable fishing, as well as
account for others that may not be so sustainable (i.e., pink and green
will receive a Faculty Scholar-Teacher Award from President McCormick at a
reception on May 4th.
served on two EPA review panels for graduate fellowships and on the National
Sea Grant Review Panel.
Awards, Achievements, and Activities:
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
Elgersma, a Ph.D. student in Joan
Ehrenfeld’s lab, received a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
was for his project, “Invasive Species as Ecosystem Engineers: Plant-Soil
Feedback Alters the Competitive Environment.”
Three students received Special Study and Pre-Dissertation
Awards from the Graduate School New Brunswick:
- Domenic D’Amore, a Ph.D. candidate
co-advised by Kathy Scott and George McGhee received a $1000 for travel to
Denver Zoo to study feeding behavior and functional dentition in the
Komodo monitor, Varanus
- Kenneth Elgersma received a
$1000 for a project investigating the temporal pattern of nitrogen uptake
in an invasive shrub (Japanese barberry).
- David Mellor, a
Ph.D. student working with Rebecca Jordan,
received $1500 to go to Malawi
in December-January 2006/2007 to study the Lake Malawi
Jeremy Feinberg, a Joanna Burger Ph.D. student, was awarded a Henry
Phillip Kraft Environmental Grant through the Long Island Community
Foundation. This is a grant for non-profit organizations
given through the Foundation for Ecological Research in the Northeast (FERN) at
the Brookhaven National Lab. Jeremy will be conducting surveys of leopard frogs
throughout Long Island this summer. The grant is for $20,000.
Sharron Hicks Crane, a Ph.D. candidate in Tamar
and John Dighton’s labs, received a Ray Fatto Scholarship from the New Jersey Mycological Society
Jennifer Adams Krumins, a Ph.D.
candidate in Peter Morin’s lab, participated
in a working group at University College Cork in Ireland
that discussed food webs and made preparations for further collaboration among
the colleagues. The group consisted of
ecologists from across Europe and the US. The participants ranged in career standing
from early grad students to advanced professors. Jennifer presented two talks :”Causes and Consequences of Diversity in Microbial
Communities" and "Microbial Food Webs Under Excess Nitrogen in Forest
Linda Rohleder, a
Ph.D. student in Joan Ehrenfeld's lab, was
awarded a $1500 stipend from the Adkins Arboretum in Ridgely,
MD for research on "deer browse and competition in the management of the
invasive herb Alliaria petiolata".
Jonathon Schramm, a
Ph.D. candidate in Joan Ehrenfeld’s lab,
received the Caroline Thorn Kissel Summer
Environmental Studies Scholarship from the Garden Clubs of America for “ An analysis of factors influencing Japanese stiltgrass invasion at multiple spatial scales." The
money will be used to support traveling among a larger number of sites along
Tom Virzi, a Ph.D.
candidate in Julie Lockwood’s lab, received
funding for the second year in a row from the Edwin B. Forsythe National
Wildlife Refuge. The monies will pay for the field technician who will be
working on the refuge collecting data for Tom’s oystercatcher project. He was
awarded $2,800 plus housing for Steve Grodsky, a sophomore Natural Resource major at Cook
Undergraduate students, Bernie
Issacson, Angela Gorczyca, and Allisyn Gillet along with Rebecca Jordan gave a presentation at the New
Brunswick wide incoming student open-house on April
8. Details about the Ecology and Natural Resource major were given.
The highlight, however, was the use of rope and sticks to produce a
fire-starting ember care of Bernie.
Aronson, a Ph.D. candidate in Steven Handel’s lab, has
accepted a position as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology at Luther
College beginning in the fall. Myla
will be teaching Ecology and Botany and participating in a team-taught General
Biology course. Myla and her husband Scott are moving to Rochester,
Minnesota in June.
Johanna Choo, Ph.D. 2005, advisor Ted
Stiles, has accepted a postdoctoral position with the
Monitoring and Assessment of Biodiversity (MAB) program at the Smithsonian.
Johanna will be studying frugivory and fruit
production in Gabon,
Steven D. Garber,
Ph.D. 1994, advisor Joanna Burger, has received the Sierra Club's Lifetime
Achievement Award. Congratulations Steve!
Paula Maas, Ph.D. 1996 , advisor Tim Casey, has been named the Director of Assessment in
the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment at the College
of New Jersey.
a newly created position. Paula will implement and maintain assessment programs
consistent with Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation
requirements as expressed in The College of New Jersey's Strategic and Quality
Enhancement Plans for each department/unit. This will require developing and managing the
related information systems and developing the appropriate web resources and
training opportunities for faculty. More info can be found at http://www.tcnj.edu/~ir/. Follow the link
Shao, Ph.D. 2006, advisor Colleen
Hatfield, has accepted a position at AtheroGenics
Inc., a pharmaceutical company located north of metro Atlanta,
GA. Nan is a Senior
Biostatistician responsible for providing statistical support for the design,
implementation and analysis of clinical trials.
Steve Weeks, Ph.D. 1991, advisor Bob Vrijenhoek, reports the following publication:
Weeks SC, TF Sanderson, SK Reed, M Zofkova, B Knott, U Balaraman, G
Pereira, DM Senyo, WR Hoeh.
2006. Ancient Androdioecy in the Freshwater
Crustacean Eulimnadia. Proceedings of the
Royal Society of London, Series B