Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources


Ecology and Evolution Graduate Program Newsletter


June 2006


Previous newsletters may be found at:




Alex Felson, a Steward Pickett Ph.D. student, gave a talk on May 5th at the Conservation Development Symposium at Callaway Gardens in Georgia. It was titled  Defining environmental benefits for developers.”


Joe Paulin, a Ph.D. candidate in David Ehrenfeld’s lab, will present the following poster at the Society for Conservation Biology Annual Meeting, 25-28 June, San Jose, California 2006: PAULIN, JOSEPH B.; Drake, David; Ehrenfeld, David; Carr, Patrick C.; Burguess, Kelcey. “The effects of personal experience on public attitudes for or against the management of Ursus americanus in New Jersey, USA.”


J.A. Krumins, Z.T. Long, C.F. Steiner and P.J. Morin .  Indirect Effects of Food Web Diversity and Productivity on Bacterial Community Function and Composition.  Functional Ecology 20:514-521.


S.E. Lettini and M.V.K. Sukhdeo.  2006.  Anhydrobiosis increases the survival of trichostrongyle nematodes.  Journal of Parasitology, in press.


     Faculty Achievements and Activities:

Joanna Burger was the commencement speaker at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks on May 14th and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree by that University.


Peter Morin was an invited speaker/participant at a workshop held at NESCent, the National Evolution Synthesis Center, in Durham NC on June 13-17. The meeting, on the topic of "Historical Perspectives on the Distribution of Biodiversity in Madagascar", was organized by Drs. Anne Yoder (Duke) and Claire Kremen (Berkeley). Peter spoke about "Assembling

communities by invasion over evolutionary time", and learned many new things about Madagascar.


Student Awards, Achievements, and Activities:


Monica Palta, a Joan Ehrenfeld Ph.D. student,  received an EPA STAR grant for 2006-2009 for her proposal “Nitrate removal in urban wetlands: examining the roles of vegetation, soils, and hydrology in the creation of “hot spots” and “hot moments” of denitrification.” The fellowship provides up to $37,000 per year for graduate student support.


Alex Felson, a Ph.D. student in Steward T.A. Pickett’s lab, helped in landing an important project at the architectural firm where he works (EDAW INC and STV). Alex was involved in the master plan for the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries on the Hudson River in Beacon, NY.


Shannon Galbraith-Kent, a Ph.D. candidate in Steven Handel’s lab, received $2,000 from the New Jersey Forestry Foundation for work towards her dissertation, "Early demographic impacts of Norway maple and Japanese barberry on experimental forest communities."  


Joe Paulin, Ph.D. candidate in David Ehrenfeld’s lab, has been busy:

  • He was invited to sit on an advisory committee for white-tailed deer management on public lands in Hunterdon County.
  • Joe trained Monmouth County Master Gardeners in techniques to reduce unwanted human-wildlife interactions around the home and garden.
  • He assisted the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife with black bear mark and recapture research trapping.


Linda Rohleder, a PhD student in Joan Ehrenfeld's lab, led two botanical field trips to locations in Monmouth County, NJ: one for the Philadelphia Botanical Club to Crosswicks Creek on May 20, and one for the Torrey Botanical Society to Shark River on June 10. Both trips were quite productive, identifying more the 150 species each. One highlight was finding a large population of showy orchids (Galearis spectabilis) in bloom at Crosswicks Creek.

Kristen Ross, a Ph.D. student in Joan Ehrenfeld’s lab, accepted the Harold and Reba Martin Eagleton Fellowship Award.  This award is part of the Eagleton Institute of Politics 2007 Government Fellowship Program. It is for September 2006 to May 2007. The Eagleton award provides financial aid for tuition and fees and a $6,000 stipend.


Qualifying Exams:

Congratulations to the following students who successfully completed their qualifying exam and advanced to candidacy in the Ph.D program.

  • Kirsten Schwarz, coadvisors Steward T.A. Pickett and Rick Lathrop, on May 26th.
  • Joann Harvey, advisor Ed Green, on June 7th
  • Allison Candelmo, advisor Judy Weiss, on June 15th.




We say hello to three new additions to the E&E family this month.

  • Kyle and Nina Bennett are pleased to announce the birth of their son Beck Hamilton Bennett. Beck was born May 24th at 2:48 AM, weighing 9 lbs 1 oz and 20 1/2 inches long.
  • Han Han and Feng Qiao welcomed their daughter Ran into the family at 12:50 a.m. May 20th. Ran weighted 7 lb 1 oz .
  • Jonathon and Katie Schramm announced the arrival of Erich Rainer Schramm on the morning of June 15th.  Erich weighed in at 3.402 kg and 52.07 cm long (Converted: 7.5 lbs and 20.5 inches long).


We are happy to report that all babies, moms and dads are doing well.