Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources


Ecology and Evolution Graduate Program Newsletter


July 2009



Previous newsletters may be found at:



Special Highlights


The August 2009 cover of Ecology is an article by Rachael Winfree (Department of Entomology)

·        Winfree, R., R. Aguilar, D. P. Vázquez, G. LeBuhn, and M. A. Aizen. A meta-analysis of bees’ responses to anthropogenic disturbance. Ecology, 90(8), 2009, pp. 2068–2076


Judy Weis, (Federated Department of Biology, Rutgers-Newark and NJIT) has co-authored a book with Carol Butler entitled Salt Marshes: A Natural and Unnatural History published as a paperback by Rutgers University Press. The book, which contains many illustrations, is not highly technical but is accessible to the interested general public, naturalists, environmentalists, undergraduate and graduate students, etc. Citing many examples from current research, it covers the basic natural history and ecology of marsh plants and animals; there are chapters on human inference in and destruction of the marshes and chapters discussing restoration and use of marshes in environmental clean-up. The final chapter is about the decline and resurrection of the Hackensack Meadowlands. Rutgers University Press Blurb from John Teal: "Judith S. Weis and Carol A. Butler put salt marshes into a broad environmental context. With chapters on marshland species, pollution and restoration, this book is both valuable and encompassing for anyone interested in the future of salt marshes."




Lea Johnson gave a seminar about her research on July 15, 2009 to the 2009 Waksman Student Scholars Program (WSSP) for high school students and the 2009 HiGene Program for high school teachers. The talk covered urban forests and restoration ecology including how duckweed affects the NYC waterways. The audience consisted of 35 high school students and 20 teachers who are participating in this year's summer Institute. Lea is a Ph.D candidate in Steven Handel’s lab.


Alicia Shenko, Ph.D. candidate in Rebecca Jordan’s and Ravit Golan Duncan’s lab, gave a poster titled “Ecology of small mammals with implications for wetland conservation and restoration” at the American Society of Mammalogists annual meeting in  Fairbanks AK held June 24 to June 26, 2009.


Jay Turnure, master’s student in Ken Able’s lab gave the following presentation at the

Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in Portland, OR on July 27, 2009.

·        Effects of reproductive phenology on habitat use in weakfish (Cynoscion regalis): Observations from a small New Jersey estuary using acoustic telemetry.
Authors: Jason T. Turnure, Kenneth W. Able, Thomas M. Grothues




The Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ recently published an article written by Charles Kontos, a Ph.D. student in Rick Lathrop’s lab. The cover article was a Rare Species Spotlight on fishers, Martes pennanti. Charlie is conducting his Ph.D. research on the repatriation of fishers in New Jersey.


Judy Weis also reports the following publication:

·        Weis, J.S., P. Weis, L. Pearson, J. MacDonald. 2009 Rapid changes in fish utilization of mangrove habitat in Western Madagascar.  Wetlands Ecology and Management 17: 345-354


Rachael Winfree (Department of Entomology) also reports:

·        Lonsdorf, E., C. Kremen, T.H. Ricketts, R. Winfree, S. Greenleaf, and N.M. Williams, 2009. Modeling pollination services across agricultural landscapes. Annals of Botany 103: 1589-1600.


Andrew “Pete” Vayda, (Professor emeritus Department of Human Ecology), reports the following article coauthored with E&E alum Bradley Walters (Ph.D.):

·        Bradley B. Walters and Andrew P. Vayda, "Event Ecology, Causal Historical Analysis, and Human-Environment Research”, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Volume 99, Issue (July 2009), pages 534 - 553.


Faculty Achievements and Activities:


Rachael Winfree (Department of Entomology) lab’s research was covered by NPR/WHYY Philadelphia on 25 June


Rachael Winfree (Department of Entomology) reports there was also an interview/story about her work on the Rodale Press daily news web site.

Advisory Panels:


Judy Weis (Federated Department of Biology, Rutgers-Newark and NJIT) participated in EPA Science Advisory Board committee on the Report on the Environment from  June 29 to July 1.


Student Awards, Achievements, and Activities:


Wes Brooks, Ph.D. candidate in Rebecca Jordan’s lab, received a Governor's Executive Fellowship from the Eagleton Institute for the coming academic year.




Congratulations to William Landesman, advisor John Dighton, on the successful defense of his Ph.D. dissertation on July 27, 2009.




Marielle Anzelone (MS 2000, advisor Jean Marie Hartman) and husband Brodie Crawford welcomed baby James in February.  He receives lots of attention from older brother Jackie.


Marielle also organized the 2nd annual NYC Wildflower Week in May 2-9, 2009. NYC Wildflower Week is dedicated to creating a cultural framework to engage and connect people to their local environments and aims to inspire and empower New Yorkers to create a landscape that is sustainable, beautiful and ecologically sound. It is a celebration of National Wildflower Week, an initiative begun by Lady Bird Johnson. A grassroots environmental event, NYCWW features lectures by keynote speakers, plant walks, educational salons, gardening giveaways, contests, children’s hands-on activities and tasting opportunities. In 2009, over 40 partner organizations participated throughout the five boroughs. Except for the restaurant programs, all events were free and open to the public.   Press coverage included New York Times, Brian Lehrer Live and Elle Magazine.  Marielle was very grateful to have many from the DEENR community volunteer their time and expertise for the event, including faculty Jean Marie Hartman and alumni Richard Pouyat, P. Timon McPhearson, and Matthew Palmer. For more information, visit:


Liz Johnson, (M.S.1992 advisor Peter Morin) reports an article titled “Urban soil ecology as a focal point for environmental education.”  Urban Ecosystems: Volume 12, Issue1 (2009), Page 79. The article is also available electronically on SpringerLink: .

Patricia Ramey (Ph.D. 2008, co advisors Fred and Judy Grassle) reports the following grant:

·        Fuller, C. (lead PI), Ramey, P., Fuchs, H., Grassle, J. and Taghon, G. Taghon. National Science Foundation RAPID, "RAPID: Role of Ephemeral Bottom Roughness Patches in Unpredictable Recruitment of Surfclams on the Continental Shelf." 5/1/09-4/30/10,



Wade Worthen (Ph.D. 1988, advisor Terry McGuire) is lead editor on a volume that examines competition across a variety of academic disciplines, from biology to religion, from psychology to history, etc.  Chapters are written exclusively by Furman University faculty with the intention to use it in first-year seminar courses or as a first-year reading experience. Wade hopes others of you on the E&E distribution list might consider it for your programs, as well.

The link to the volume: