Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural
and Evolution Graduate Program Newsletter
Previous newsletters may be found at:
The E&E family continues to
Ravit Golan Duncan, husband Alex and son Oz welcomed son Aitan
Duncan. He arrived on May 1st, two weeks ahead of schedule, weighing
7 pounds and being 18 inches at birth. Everyone is doing well.
Kyle and Nina Bennett welcomed a second son on May 19th. Baby Bennett, who was born at home at 10:07 am, weighed 7
lbs 11 oz and 21.5 inches long. He joins older brother Beck. Kyle is a Ph.D.
candidate advised by Rich Lutz.
Sharron Crane (co advisors Tamar Barkay and John
Dighton) presented a talk co-authored by Tamar Barkay and John Dighton titled "The effect of mercury on
the ectomycorrhizal community of Pinus
rigida (pitch pine)" twice recently:
- April 4 at the
Penn-Princeton-Rutgers Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity Graduate
- April 20 at the Wageningen University-Rutgers University
Joint Microbiology Graduate Student Symposium
The following presentations by members of the Tamar Barkay
lab were given at the 109 Annual Meeting of the American Society for
Microbiology, May, 17 - 21, 2009 in Philadelphia:
- Zac Freedman gave a presentation titled “Isolation of
Chemoautotrophic Mercury Resistant Bacteria from microbial Mats in Yellowstone National Park”.
presentation was titled “Mercury Contamination and its Effects on
Phylogenetic and Functional Diversity of Soil Hg resistant
Crane’s poster presentation was
titled “Fungal Succession on and
Decomposition of Lymantria dispar (Gypsy Moth) Frass”. Sharron’s poster was co-authored by John Dighton and Dennis Gray.
presented an invited talk titled “Exotic
species and soil microbial communities: Complex interactions complicate the
issues” at the “Odum Conference 2009 - Understanding and managing biological
invasions as dynamic processes: Integrating information across space and time”
in Rensselaerville, NY
Zac Freedman, a
Ph.D. candidate advised by Tamar Barkay, gave a talk at the Theobald Smith
Society (NJ Chapter of the American Society for Microbiology) Annual Meeting at
the Cook Campus Center
on May 6th. The talk was titled "Isolation of Early Evolving Mercury
Resistant Bacteria from Yellowstone
Zac was awarded the "Best
Oral Presentation" for the talk.
Steven Gray, a Ph.D. candidate in
Rebecca Jordan’s lab, gave the following presentation
S. Ives, M., Scandol, J. and Jordan. R. Identifying the Risks in
Fisheries Management. The presentation was given at the Society for
Conservation Biology International Marine Conservation Congress. in Washington D.C.
in May 2009
reports several presentations this month
- Jordan, R., C. Hmelo-Silver, S. Gray*, A. Goel, and S. Rugaber.
Poster: Modeling Practices as a Function of Task Structure: American
Educational Research Association's Annual Meeting. April 14. San Diego (*presenting author Steven Gray is a
Ph.D. candidate in the Jordan
Evaluation. 4-H Department Reappointment and Promotion Inservice Workshop.
April 29 in New Brunswick.
an understanding of the ecological nature of science through public
participation in research. Invited Poster. Cary Conference XIII. May 5-7, Millbrook, NY.
J., R. Jordan, and H. Ballard
(presenting) with coauthors: C. Wilderman, E. McCallie, T. Phillips, and
R. Bonney. Environmental Learning or Environmental Action Exploring
Outcomes of Public Participation in Research Workshop. World
Environmental Education Congress. May 13, Montreal.
Rick Lathrop presented the seminar "Assessing the Impact of Land-Use
Change and Sea Level Rise on New
Jersey's Southern Coasts" as part of the Dupont
Clear Into the Future Seminar Series.
The lecture was held on May 5, 2009 at Cumberland County
gave an invited seminar in the Department
of Biology at Villanova,
University titled “Homogenization of island bird faunas.”
Oscar Schofield (Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences) has given
four presentations recently:
days in the West Antarctica Peninsula:
The impact of regional warming on the marine ecosystem (Princeton University, NJ)
personal story of why high school kids need to learn science: Preparing
for the gathering storm (Department of 4H, Rutgers, NJ)
of ocean observatories by the United States
(EuroSITES Annual review meeting, Cape Verde)
Webb gliders to maintain a sustained ocean presence. (SPIE Defense
Security and Sensing Symposium, Orlando
Judy Weis (Federated Department of Biology, Rutgers-Newark/NJIT) was
in Manado, Indonesia where she gave a keynote
talk at the World Ocean Conference at the session on Marine Pollution. The talk
was titled “Marine pollution: the state of the world's oceans.”
The week following the World Ocean Conference in Indonesia Judy
Weis attended the International Marine Conservation Congress in Fairfax VA
where she chaired a session on "Sea Grant work on Ecosystem-based
Bhattacharya co-authored a report that was published (with accompanying
commentary) in the April 10th issue of Science.
- Green Evolution and
Dynamic Adaptations Revealed by Genomes of the Marine Picoeukaryotes
Micromonas. Alexandra Z. Worden,et al. Science 324, 268
(2009); DOI: 10.1126/science.1167222
will be joining the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources in
look forward to his arrival.
Ehrenfeld has the following
Ehrenfeld, Shen Yu, and Yongguan Zhu.
Urban Conservation and
Environmental Protection in China:
a Major Effort by the Chinese
Academy of Sciences.
Volume 23, No. 3, 546–547
Steven Gray, a Ph.D. candidate in
Rebecca Jordan’s lab, reports the following publication:
S. 2009. William D. Ruckelshaus. The Modern American Environmentalist.Ed:
George Cevasco. Johns
Press. Baltimore MD. 448-452.
has a publication in press:
- Blackburn, T.M., J.L. Lockwood, and P. Cassey. Following birds on the pathway to
invasion, and beyond. The Biologist
Blake Mathys and
advisor Julie Lockwood have the
following publication in press:
B. and J.L. Lockwood. Rapid
evolution of great kiskadees on Bermuda:
an assessment of the ability of the Island Rule to predict the direction
of contemporary evolution. Journal
Oscar Schofield (Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences) reports two
publications from his lab:
M., Doney, S. C., Ducklow, H., Fraser, W., Martinson, D., Stammerjohn, S.
E., Schofield, O. 2009. Recent changes in phytoplankton communities
associated with rapid regional climate change along the Western
Antarctic Peninsula. Science.
323, 1470 (2009), DOI: 10.1126/science.1164533
M., Ducklow, H., Schofield, O. 2009. Contribution by different marine
bacterial communities to particulate beam attenuation. Marine Ecology Progress Series.
Holly Vuong, a Ph.D. candidate co advised by Peter Morin and Rick
Ostfeld, has the following paper in press:
- Vuong, H., M.
Remmenga, R. Creamer, and D. Caccamise. Ecological associations of West
Nile virus and avian host in arid environments of southern New Mexico. Studies in Avian Biology.
Rachael Winfree (Department of Entomology) published an article in National Wildlife Magazine, “The buzz on native pollinators,” June/July 2009
Faculty Achievements and Activities:
Nina Fefferman’s work was reported on, or Nina was interviewed by, CNN,
Wired Magazine, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Radio, BBC's Newsnight, and
938LIVE radio program (Singapore).
All of the reports had to do with her work on epidemics and outbreaks (some,
but not all related to the swine flu).
Rick Lathrop presented background on the trends in New
Jersey land use change and open space loss at the Garden State
Preservation Trust Educational Forum on Monday, May 4, 2009 in Trenton, NJ.
Rick Lathrop has been appointed by Dean Goodman as Faculty Director of
the Rutgers University Ecological Preserve on the Livingston Campus.
As many may have seen reported in the Rutgers Focus:
Robert Trivers, professor of anthropology and biological sciences, was
named an Honorary Distinguished Fellow by the University of the West Indies. Robert is one of only five scholars to
receive the award, including two former prime ministers. He is the only
non-Jamaican to be so honored. This is a lifetime appointment.
(Department of Entomology) was interviewed on Sirius Satellite Radio by Judith
Regan on 4 February 2009.
Dan Cariveau, post-doctoral fellow and Rachael Winfree (both Department of Entomology) report the
honey bee and native bee pollination of cranberry: examining the role of
bee species and bog characteristics. D. Cariveau (PI), R Winfree (Co PI). New Jersey
Blueberry and Cranberry Research Council. $6613
Oscar Schofield (Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences) reports the
Aeronautics and Space Administration, Earth-Sun System Division 2009-2012.
Satellite Driven Studies of Climate Mediated Changes in Antarctic
Food-Webs. Oliver, M., Kohut, J., Irwin, A., Fraser, W., Schofield, O.
Oscar Schofield (Institute
of Marine and Coastal
Sciences) has been appointed
Chair of the Advisory Committee for the European EuroSITES program.
Awards, Achievements, and Activities:
The following graduate students have received summer
research awards to begin or continue research conducted at the Hutcheson Memorial Forest Center. Each
student has been awarded $1500 for work to be done in the coming year.
Avery – will investigate how the current community of short-distance
temperate migrants and year-round residents have responded to the significant
changes in forest structure at Hutcheson
Memorial Forest. Graduate Program in Ecology & Evolution;
Advisor – Julie Lockwood.
Baiser – will continue surveys of breeding birds and compare current
patterns with historical records of bird abundance from the 1970s, to evaluate
recent changes in community structure. Graduate Program in Ecology &
Evolution; Advisor – Julie Lockwood.
Fowler – will look at how initial physical and seed bank conditions
influence woody plant old-field succession. Graduate Program in Plant Biology;
Advisor – Jean Marie Hartman.
Stanko – will use the Hutcheson
and surrounding properties as field sites for research on networks of
pollination interactions in woodland and old field communities. Graduate
Program in Ecology & Evolution; Advisor – Peter Morin.
- Elena Tartaglia – will be studying
hawk moth pollination and behavior in various urban and sub-urban habitat
fragments around New Jersey (including
HMF) and Staten Island,
New York. Graduate Program
in Ecology & Evolution; Advisor – Steven Handel.
- Holly Vuong – will map individual trees in the old
growth forest, using existing 50m x 50m plots at HMF, that will provide
the groundwork for long-term studies of forest dynamics. Graduate
Program in Ecology & Evolution; Advisor – Peter Morin.
E&E Academic Excellence Fund Awards – 2009
E&E Graduate Program was pleased to make six
$1000.00 awards in response to
proposals submitted by graduate students for the 2009 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.
- Brian Clough – will test the hypothesis that the
loss of understory structure due to deer overbrowse increases mean soil
temperature and encourages pulses of high moisture availability, enhancing
litter decomposition rates and thus increasing loss of soil carbon through
increased respiration. Advisor: Joan Ehrenfeld.
- Denise Hewitt – will examine native bee species richness and abundance
on 11 multi-crop farms in 6 New
Jersey counties to
acquire important baseline data regarding how native bee pollinator communities
respond to fragmentation and land use differences. Advisor: Peter Morin.
- Lea Johnson – will work documenting the long-term outcomes
of urban ecological restoration by assessing effects of woodland
restoration in New York City. She will determine the current community
composition of urban woodlands, and collect data on ecological characteristics
of the sites and adjacent areas in order to determine what factors have influenced
outcomes at each site. Advisor: Steven Handel.
- Charles Kontos – will assess
the fisher and bobcat populations in northwestern New Jersey using genetic analysis using
a hair-snare survey. Charles was the recipient of the Edmund Stiles Memorial Fellowship. This award is given in memory of the late Dr. Ted Stiles to support
research on the conservation of New
Jersey lands and animals. The award this year is
funded equally by the Ecology and Evolution
Academic Excellence Funds and the EcoGSA.
Advisor: Rick Lathrop.
- Monica Palta – will expand on a project undertaken in 2006 in 5 wetland
sites in Liberty
State Park. Monica
will test if the denitrifying bacteria are limited in their activity due
to competition for NO3 with plants. Advisor: Joan Ehrenfeld.
Vuong – will examine the contribution of New Jersey breeding and resident
bird hosts in supporting Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), and examine
the genetic diversity of Bb based on the outer surface protein C (ospC)
types detected in black-legged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) collected from
these birds. Advisor : Peter Morin
Sharron Crane, a Ph.D. candidate co-advised by Tamar Barkay and John Dighton, received the Theobald Smith Society
(TSS) Graduate Scholarship for $1000 on May 6. The TSS is the New Jersey branch of the
American Society for Microbiology.
Jay Turnure, a master’s student advised by Ken Able, received the
2009 George Burlew Scholarship Grant of $750 from the Manasquan Marlin and Tuna
Club in New Jersey,
which will go towards research expenses and conference travel.
Congratulations to Esther Leibovich on the successful
defense of her Preliminary Proposal on April 30th.
Patricia Alvarez-Loayza (Ph.D. 2009,
advisor James White) reports the
Thompson, G. Katul, J. Terborghand P.
Alvarez-Loayza. 2009. Spatial organization of vegetation arising from
non-local excitation with local inhibition in tropical rainforests. Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena. doi:10.1016/j.physd.2009.03.004.
Volume 238, Issue 13, 15 June 2009, Pages 1061-1067
Michele Bakacs (MS 2003, advisor Colleen Hatfield) began employment on
May 1st with Rutgers' Department of
Agricultural and Resource Management Agents.
She will be working with Middlesex and Union
Counties as a County Environmental
and Resource Management Agent. In her capacity with RCE, Michele will provide
leadership and support to develop educational programming and research
appropriate to the needs of the clientele in the county-pair in natural
resource management with a focus on water resource protection, watershed
management, and environmental conservation and protection. Welcome back to New Jersey and Rutgers
Niall Dunne, (MS
2008 advisor Steven Handel) reports two publications:
Mathews, N. Dunne, E. York, and L.
Struwe. 2009. A phylogenetic analysis and taxonomic revision of Bartonia
(Gentianaceae:Gentianeae), based on molecular and morphological evidence. Systematic
Botany, 34(1): pp. 162—172.
- Dunne, N. Healthy
Soils for Sustainable Gardens.
2009. New York: Brooklyn Botanic
John H. Graham, (Ph.D. 1986, advisor Robert Vrijenhoek), Reid Professor
of Biology at Berry College, Mount
Berry, Georgia, was appointed to the
editorial board of Genetica, which
publishes papers dealing with genetics, population dynamics and evolution.
(Ph.D. 2005, advisor David Drake) has received tenure at Richard Stockton
College of New Jersey effective fall 2010.
Stockton changed the tenure policy/procedure; Dan’s cohort is the
1st to go through the new system. He
finished tenure review in his 4th year and signed the last 2 year
contract. After the second year of this
contract he is officially tenured.
Chris Martine (MS
2001, advisor John Kuser), Assistant Prof at SUNY Plattsburgh has a new paper:
C.T., G.J. Anderson, and D.H. Les. 2009. Gender-bending aubergines:
molecular phylogenetics of cryptically dioecious Solanum in Australia.
Australian Systematic Botany
Chris is spending three weeks doing field research in Kakadu National Park, Northern
this month to study the roles of pollinating bees and frugivorous wallabies
in structuring populations of these same "wild eggplants".
Dana Price (Ph.D. 2007, advisor May May) and Kim Bloodsworth welcomed
Skylar Keaton Bloodsworth Price born on January 26th, 2009. Skylar was 7lbs 14 oz. and 21 inches long.
She joins big sister Bayley.
Patricia Ramey, (Ph.D. 2008, co
advisors Fred and Judy Grassle) reports the following publication:
P.A., Teichman, E., Oleksiak, J. and Balci, F. (2009) Spontaneous
alternation in marine crabs: an invasive versus a native species. Behavioral Processes,
Celine Santiago Bass (Ph.D. 2007,
advisor Judy Weis) has accepted a position as Academic Chair for the Science
Department with Kaplan
University. Kaplan is an
online university. Celine has about 60 full-time and part-time faculty that
teach online courses in Nutrition, Environmental Science, Biology, and