of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources
and Evolution Graduate Program Newsletter
Previous newsletters may be found at:
Princeton-Penn Student Conference:
The annual P-R-P Conference was held on April 10th at Rutgers this year. The retreat is organized by students
as a forum for presenting short papers on their research and a chance to share
knowledge and ideas in an informal gathering. Five papers were presented by Rutgers students.
- Aabir Banerji, Ph.D. candidate in the
Peter Morin lab, “Indirect
Offenses in Ecological Communities: What If My Enemy Has Allies, Too?”
- Cara Faillace, Ph.D. candidate in the
Joan Ehrenfeld lab, "Snowy Plovers exhibit variable response to human
disturbance on two islands in southwest Florida” Cara defended her master’s on
- Sona Mason, , master’s student in the Judy Wies lab, “Effects of enhanced nutrient content in
polluted sediments on feeding time budgets of Uca pugnax”
- David Mellor, Ph.D. candidate in the
Rebecca Jordan lab, “Sexual selection as a diversifying force in Malwai
- Ai Wen, co-advised by David and Joan Ehrenfeld, “Avian
use of cranberry farms in the Pinelands”. Ai defended her Ph.D.
dissertation on March 31st.
Joan Ehrenfeld visited the University
of Wisconsin as the
“Distinguished Speaker” for the spring ecology symposium organized by Wisconsin
Ecology, the organization of the many departments and students working in
ecology throughout the university. Joan
was selected by the graduate student committee that organizes their spring
symposium. During her visit she gave two
public lectures, “Understanding Plant Invasions in Fragmented Landscapes” and
“Invasive plants, soils and ecosystem processes: what have we learned so
far?” She also met with many faculty and
Nina Fefferman has been busy.
She has presented:
- An invited talk at the AAAS meeting in San Diego
on uses of Virtual Worlds in Scientific Education and Research, entitled
"Playing with Plague: Exploring Disease Dynamics from Within".
- An invited talk at the Computer Science
Departmental Seminar series at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute entitled
"Self-Organizing Networks, Social Complexity, and Disease
Fefferman's work was
included in an article featured in Cell,
"Video Games and the Second Life of Science Class" by A. Maxmen (Cell, Volume 141, Issue 2, 201-203, 16
interviewed for a German Broadcast Radio program. The program (in German, of
course) can be found at <http://www.drs2.ch/www/de/drs2/sendungen/kontext/5005.sh10131410.html>
Visiting Scholar Frank Gallagher (Ph.D 2008, advisor Jason Grabosky), Urban
Forestry Program, presented on urban greenspace at the Shaping the ‘City’ of
New Jersey Workshop sponsored by the Center for Urban Environmental
Sustainability on April 16, at the Rutgers Continuing
Studies Conference Center.
Brian Johnson, a master's student in the Mike Sukhdeo lab,
received the 2010 NJAES Student Research Poster Competition in the Graduate
Applied/Field Research category for his poster titled "Urban Wetlands
Decrease Disease Risk for West Nile Virus."
Charlie Kontos, a Ph.D. student advised by Rick Lathrop, gave the
- "The Rare Forest Carnivores of New Jersey:
Bobcats, Coyotes, and Fishers" for the Boy Scouts of America on March
22, 2010, and also for The Nature Conservancy at Mashipacong Bogs Preserve
on April 17, 2010.
- A poster at the New Jersey Academy of Science
annual meeting on April 24, 2010 entitled "Assessment of Bobcats (Lynx rufus) in northwestern New Jersey."
Inga LaPuma, a Ph.D. candidate in Rick Lathrop’s lab, presented a talk at the US-Landscape Ecology Conference in
on April 7th. “Defining the ecological wildland urban interface: relating fire
and altered land to forest succession in the pinelands of New Jersey.”
Rick Lathrop gave the following invited
- “Issues pertaining to Forest Carbon in New Jersey.
Assessing the Potential of New Jersey’s Forests for Carbon Sequestration.”
NJ Society of American Foresters. Hamilton,
NJ. January 22, 2010.
- “Climate change, Impacts and Interventions for
Coastal Landscapes.” NJ American Association of Landscape Architects. Atlantic City, NJ
January 24, 2010.
- “Ecological Restoration: Why Bother? Establishing Restoration Priorities in New Jersey’s Coastal
Zone.” Society for Ecological
Restoration – Mid-Atlantic Chapter: Rutgers
University, New Brunswick,
NJ February 19, 2010.
- “Protecting Water Quality in the Pinelands:
Reversing the Barnegat
Presenter and facilitator on the topic of Land Use.” Pinelands Science-Policy Forum –
Lakehurst Naval Air Station, Lakehurst,
NJ. March 16, 2010.
- “Assessing the Vulnerability of the New Jersey Coast to Climate and Landscape
School for Planning
and Policy seminar series. New
March 25, 2010.
- “Preparing Your Community in the face of a
Changing Climate.” Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Presenter and panel member. A Status Update on Local Indicators of Sea
Level Rise. Tuckerton New Jersey. April
a master’s student in the Judy Weis lab, presented “The effects of contaminated
sediment on the feeding habits of Uca pugnax" at the Spring
2010 Atlantic Estuarine Research Society meeting in Atlantic City, March 4-6, 2010.
Marci Meixler gave the following two invited presentations:
- Meixler, M. S. 2010. “Applications of satellite imagery
in mapping and spatial modeling”. TIROS 1 50th
Anniversary, Science on Saturday, Princeton
University, Princeton, NJ.
M. S. 2010. “Non-target
fish timing and extent of seasonal movements”. Great Lakes Fishery
Commission, Sea Lamprey Research Board, Ann
Arbor, MI. 3 March.
has the following presentation:
- Sharma, A., A. Novy, S. Bonos & L. Struwe.
2010. New Jersey's
Swamp Pink: Genetic diversity and what it means for conservation. 24th
National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), Missoula, MT, 15-17
April, 2010 [poster by Aresty undergraduate student, selected presentation
out of 2600 submitted abstracts]
The Debashish Bhattacharya lab reports the following publications:
- Moustafa A, Evans AN, Kulis DM, Hackett JD,
Erdner DL, Anderson DM, Bhattacharya D (2010). Transcriptome profiling of
a toxic dinoflagellate reveals a gene-rich protist and a potential impact
on gene expression due to bacterial presence. PLoS ONE, 5(3):e9688.
- Reyes-Prieto A, Yoon HS, Moustafa A, Yang EC,
Andersen RA, Boo SM, Nakayama T, Ishida KI, Bhattacharya D (2010).
Differential gene retention in plastids of common recent origin. Molecular
Biology and Evolution. Advance Access Feb 1, doi:10.1093/molbev/msq032
and the following three book chapters in:
Seckbach J & Chapman D (eds.) Cellular
Origins, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology, Vol 13: Red Algae in the
Genomic Age. New York:
Springer, ISBN 978-90-481-3794-7.
HS, Zuccarello GC, Bhattacharya D. "Evolutionary history and taxonomy of
Gantt E, Berg GM, Bhattacharya D, Blouin NA,
Brodie JA, Chan CX et al. "Porphyra:
complex life histories in a harsh environment."
Bhattacharya D. "The Thermo-Acidophilic Cyanidiophyceae
Joan Ehrenfeld and two of her former students Jonathon
Schramm (Ph.D. 2008) and Heather
Bowman-Cutway (Ph.D. 2004) report the following publications:
- Schramm, Jonathon and Joan G. Ehrenfeld.
2010. Leaf litter and understory canopy shade limit the
establishment, growth and reproduction of Microstegium vimineum. Biological Invasions DOI
- Cutway, Heather Bowman and Joan G. Ehrenfeld.
2010. The influence of urban land use on seed dispersal and wetland
invasibility. Plant Ecology. DOI
Nina Fefferman reports:
- Lofgren, E.T., J.B. Wenger,
N.H. Fefferman, D. Bina, S Gradus, S. Bhattacharyya, Y.N. Naumov, J.
Gorski, E.N. Naumova.
Disproportional Effects in Populations of Concern for Pandemic
Influenza: Insights from Seasonal Epidemics in Wisconsin,
1967-2004" was accepted for publication by the journal Influenza (online publication ahead
Julie Lockwood reports the following article in press:
- Lockwood, J.L. Book review of Bioinvasions and Globlization by C.
Perrings, H. Mooney, and M. Williamson. Biological Invasions.
Julie Lockwood and two of her former students Ben
Baiser (Ph.D. 2009) and Alison
Seigel (Ph.D. 2008) have the following publications:
- Baiser, B. and J.L. Lockwood. In press. The relationship between
functional and taxonomic homogenization.
Global Ecology and
- Baiser, B., G.J. Russell, and J.L.
Lockwood. In press. Connectance and species richness
determine invasion success via trophic interactions in model food webs. Oikos.
- Seigel, A. and J. L. Lockwood. In press. How increasing levels of
private land enrollment in conservation agreements affect the population
viability of grassland birds. Biodiversity and Conservation.
Marci Meixler has the following publication
- Meixler, M. S. and M. B. Bain. 2010. A water
quality model for regional stream assessment and conservation
Management 45(4): 868-880.
has the following publication:
- Scofield, D. G., V. L. Sork, and P. E. Smouse.
2010. Influence of acorn woodpecker social behaviour on transport of coast
live oak (Quercus agrifolia) acorns in a southern California oak savanna. Journal of Ecology 98:561-572.
reports the following publication:
- K. B. Lepis, P. J. M. Maas, & L. Struwe. In
press. A new species of Sipapoantha from northern Brazil
(Gentianaceae: Helieae). Blumea.
Faculty Achievements and Activities:
Steven Handel is part of an
award winning website.
- The urban ecology website, www.safari7.org,
has been awarded the 2010 American Society of Landscape Architects
National Honor Award for Communication.
The site helps redefine the urban environment, and engages a
non-traditional audience, subway riders, about the environment through
which they are traveling. Steven
Handel wrote and recorded the "Weed Walk" component of the
safari, explaining ecological function and history of the more common
plants in the urban sphere. The
Award will be presented at the ASLA national meeting in Washington, D.C.
Awards, Achievements, and Activities:
A Pre-Dissertation Award of $1000 from the GSNB was received by Andrea
Egizi for her research proposal titled “Population genetics of a newly
introduced disease vector in Hawaii.”
The award monies will be used to travel to Hawaii to collect mosquitoes for genetic
analyses. Andrea is a Ph.D student working with Dina Fonseca.
E&E Small Grants Awards – 2010
The E&E Graduate Program was pleased to
make five $1000 awards in response
to proposals submitted by graduate students for the 2010 competition for
research grants. These awards are made possible by generous donations made by
alumni/ae, faculty, and friends to the E&E Graduate Program.
The awardees and their proposal titles are:
Freedman “Some like it hot: The
interactions of microorganisms with mercury in Yellowstone hot springs”.
Advisor: Tamar Barkay.
Robinson “Determining the Relative Importance of the Native
Shorebirds In the Diet Of Foxes, and the Importance of Anthropogenic Input
Into Coastal New Jersey Island Food Webs”. Advisor: Julie Lockwood
Shappell “Flood Tolerance of an Exotic Invasive Grass, Microstegium
Vimineum (Trin.) A. Camus”. Advisor: Joan Ehrenfeld
Shenko “The Role and Function
of Small Mammals in Post-Agricultural Wetlands”. Advisor: Rebecca Jordan
- David Smith “The Impact of Regional Land
Use Patterns on the Succession Dynamics of New Jersey
Pine Barrens Riverside Savannas”.
Advisor: Rick Lathrop. Dave’s proposal was awarded The Ted Stiles Memorial Award for Ecological Research and
Conservation from the EcoGSA and thus was funded in part by EcoGSA funds.
If you would like to contribute to the funding on these awards please
visit our Support E&E web link. http://ecoevo.rutgers.edu/support.html
Karen Wylie, a Ph.D student working with Nina
Fefferman, has been selected to attend the joint DIMACS/MBI/US-African
Biomathematics Initiative's Advanced Study Institute on Conservation Biology
(July 28 to August 10) and their Workshop on Conservation Biology (August 11th
- 13th). Karen has been granted full funding to attend the study institute and
workshop, which will be happening at the Kenyan Wildlife Service Training
Institute in Naivasha, Kenya. The institute and workshop
are jointly sponsored by DIMACS, the Mathematical Biosciences Institute at Ohio State University
(MBI) and the US National Science Foundation.
Congratulations to following on the
successful defense of their Ph.D. dissertation:
- Amy Karpati, advisor Steven Handel, on May 10, 2010.
- Kenneth Elgersma, advisor Joan Ehrenfeld, on May 11, 2010.
Congratulations to following on the
successful defense of their Master’s thesis:
- Cara Faillace, advisor David Ehrenfeld, on April 26, 2010.
- Scott Haag, advisor Rick Lathrop, on April 9, 2010.
- Jay Turnure, advisor Ken Able, on April 23, 2010.