this issue, we welcome Henry John-Alder, our new department chairperson.
Henry has provided the following
I began my Rutgers career in 1985 as
an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.I transferred into the Department of Animal
Sciences and became Director of the Graduate Program in Animal Sciences in
1997, a position I held until becoming Chair of the Department of Ecology,
Evolution, and Natural Resources in 2007.Since coming to Rutgers, I have been an active
member of the Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution, the program through
which all of my successful graduate students have completed their degrees.
I describe myself as an ecological and evolutionary
physiologist, with particular expertise in ecological endocrinology.My general approach is highly integrative,
crossing traditional levels of biological organization from biochemical to
behavioral and blending descriptive and experimental studies in the laboratory
and the field.I stress the importance
of field experiments solidly grounded in natural history.While the dissection of underlying biological
mechanisms can require controlled laboratory experiments, the integration of
complex physiological and behavioral interactions of importance in organismal biology can be fully understood only in the
milieu of the natural environment.
My primary research
involves comparative and experimental studies on growth and the attainment of
adult body size, one of the most important quantitative traits of an
organism.In recent years, my group has
worked mainly with Sceloporus
lizards, in which both male-larger and female-larger sexual dimorphism in body
size has evolved in extant species.We
have discovered that adult dimorphism in body size is caused by sex differences
in growth rate earlier in development, which is at least partially controlled
by testosterone.In species in which
males grow faster to become larger as adults than females, testosterone
promotes growth.In contrast, in species
in which males grow more slowly and remain smaller as adults than females,
testosterone inhibits growth.Interestingly, experimental effects of testosterone on growth are
dramatically evident in experiments conducted on field-active lizards but can
be completely absent in the laboratory.This observation reiterates the critical importance of experimental work
in the field and raises questions about testosterone-induced energetic
trade-offs responsible for effects on growth and expressed only in the
behavioral context of the natural environment.Most of our work on growth and sexual size dimorphism has been done in
collaboration with Bob Cox (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~robertcox/),
a former graduate student, and more recently with Marguerite Butler (http://www2.hawaii.edu/~mbutler/)
and Emily Taylor (http://www.calpoly.edu/~bio/PERL/). We are currently
investigating the underlying molecular endocrinology [with WendieCohick (http://www.cook.rutgers.edu/~biotech/faculty/cohick.html)
and Kevin Kelley (http://www.csulb.edu/depts/endo/)]as
well as organismal energetic mechanisms that may
contribute to the opposing responses.Very recently, we initiated collaborative studies with Dr. Lukas Kratochvil (CharlesUniversity, Prague,
Czech Republic; http://www.natur.cuni.cz/~kratoch1/ ) to extend our studies to eye-lid geckos (Eublepharidae).
A second ongoing project involves integrative studies on
stress and social status, adrenal hormones, and adrenocortical
cell function (with Rocco V. Carsia, UMDNJ-SOM; http://lifesci.rutgers.edu/~molbiosci/faculty/carsia.html).This work is motivated by the ubiquitous
observation of cyclic changes in glucocorticoid
hormones in vertebrates and by the work of a previous graduate student, Dr.
Linda Smith (http://loki.stockton.edu/~smithlc/),
who reported striking seasonal changes in responsiveness to social stress in
Eastern Fence Lizards.Carsia’s expertise enables us to investigate the stress
axis at the level of glucocorticoid-secreting cells
of the adrenal cortex, a level that has been conspicuously overlooked in most
research.We have found that functional
capacities of adrenocortical cells are highly
malleable, depending on gender, season, gonadal
hormones, and nutritional status.Overall, our work emphasizes the importance of including adrenocortical cells themselves in studies on functional
variation in the vertebrate stress axis.
Finally, I have recently begun to collaborate with Rick
of Pittsburgh; http://www.pitt.edu/~relyea/) to
investigate why agrochemicals can be far more lethal to larval amphibians in
the presence of predators.Rick discovered
that the mere presence of a natural presence greatly increases the lethality of
carbaryl and other toxic agrochemicals.Together, we are investigating how the stress
axis in tadpoles may mediate this synergism between predator and toxicant.We conduct our organismal
experiments in Relyea’sfacilility
at the University of Pittsburgh’s
Ecology Laboratory on PymatuningLake in northwestern Pennsylvania.Hormone extractions and assays are done in my
laboratory at Rutgers.
also welcome our new graduate students:
The fall 2007 semester brings us
eight new graduate students. They come from diverse backgrounds and will be
doing their graduate work in many different areas.
Faye Benjamin, a Ph.D. student working with Mike May, has a B.S. in
Neuroscience from BrownUniversity.
Suzanne DeCoursey has her undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and
English from Notre DameUniversity.
Suzanne will be working towards her Master’s with Rebecca Jordan.
Karena DiLeo will be
a Master’s student in John Dighton’s lab.
Karena has a double undergrad degree in Biology and Environmental Science from UrsinusCollege
Emma Green-Beach will be working towards her Master’s with Dave
Bushek. Emma received her undergrad degree in Biology from the University
of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Jean Rothe, co-advised by Rick Ostfeld and Peter Morin, has a B.S.
in Biology from BostonCollege
and a M.A. from ColumbiaUniversity
in Conservation Biology. Jean will be working towards her Ph.D.
Craig Ruzicki, a Master’s student working with Joan
Ehrenfeld, has an Associates degree in Medical Technology
from George Washington University, a B.A. in Biology from Wilkes University and
a Master’s in Environmental Management from Webster University.
Jason Turnure, a Master’s student working with Ken Able
received his B.S. in Marine Science at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
Yiwen Zhao will be a
Ph.D. student in John Dighton’s lab. Yiwen
received her B.S. in Biology from XiamenUniversity and is completing her
Master’s at the University of Vermont
in Soil Ecology.
Society of America
Annual Meeting with Society for Ecological Restoration, San
Aabir Banerji gave a presentation coauthored with Peter Morin titled “Dynamics
and adaptive significance of inducible defenses and offenses in phenotypically
Kyle Bennett, a Ph.D. candidate in Rich Lutz’s
following presentation :
K. F. Bennett, A.
J. Reed and R. A. Lutz.“Habitat partitioning and
phenotypic plasticity in the marine bivalve Brachidontes exustus cryptic
Kenneth Elgersma, a Ph.D. candidate in Joan Ehrenfeld’s lab, gave a presentation titled: “Long-term legacies and short-term changes in
soil microbial community structure and function after Japanese barberry
invasion.” Co-authors:S. Yu, T.
Vor, and J.G. Ehrenfeld.
Galbraith-Kent and Steven Handel presented a talk titled “Above and below
ground interactions on growth between the invasive Norway maple (Acer platanoides) and the native red
maple (Acer rubrum).”
a paper titled “Assessing Ecological Understanding through a Citizen Science
Project.” Joan Ehrenfeld and David
Howe were coauthors.
Jenni Momsen, a
Ph.D. candidate in the JeanMarie Hartman lab, gave a presentation titled “Plant
community change and 20th century land use history in a suburban
Morin spoke in a symposium titled “Flexible Foragers in
Food Webs” on August 7. The title of his talk there was “Adaptive foragers and
community ecology: scaling individuals to communities”.
Kristen A. Ross, a
Ph.D. candidate in Joan
Ehrenfeld’s Lab, gave an oral presentation titled,
“Effects of Leaf Litter on the Growth of an Invasive Annual Grass”. This presentation
was coauthored with Joan
Jonathon Schramm, a Ph.D. candidate in Joan Ehrenfeld’s lab, gave a talk at ESA titled: "Using land-use
history in combination with local factors to understand invasion patterns of an
Emilie Stander, a Ph.D. candidate in Joan Ehrenfeld’s lab,gave a talk at ESA titled "the effects of atmospheric
deposition on nitrate retention and loss in urban wetlands."
Wen, a Ph.D.candidate co-advised by David and Joan
Ehrenfeld, gave a
talk at ESA titled: "The habitat use by birds of active and abandoned
cranberry farms in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey".
Brooks and Rebecca Jordan
presented a poster titled “Differential interspecific territoriality and the
invasion of the Florida Everglades by the Spotted Tilapia, Tilapia mariae”.
Amy Karpati and
Steven Handel presented a postertitled
“Potential for regeneration of Ageratina
altissima (Asteraceae) in the presence of Microstigeum viminicum (Poaceae) invasion in a post-agricultural
presented a poster coauthored with Steven Handel titled “Improving restoration
of native habitats: DELLA response plasticity in Arabidopsis thaliana as an approach for defining appropriate
genotypes for stressful conditions.”
Palta and Joan Ehrenfeld
coauthored a poster titled “Nitrate removal in urban wetlands: Examining the
roles of vegetation, soils, and hydrology in the creation of “hot spots” and
“hot moments” of microbial activity.
Linda Rohleder, a Ph.D. candidate in Joan Ehrenfeld’s lab, presented a poster titled: "Using GIS and
Floristic Quality to Assess Forests in Suburban New Jersey."
Jack Siegrist, a Ph.D. student in the Peter Morin lab, presented a posterat the ESA meeting titled “A theory of
relative abundance distributions parameterized by species-area relationships.”
In late June, Shannon Galbraith-Kent, a Ph.D. candidate in the
Steven Handel Lab,gave an invited lecture to the
Office of Research & Development at the USEPA in Cincinnati, which was
restoration and management in urban lands: lessons learned from New York
projects & similarities with the USEPA-ORD".
Frank Gallagher, a Ph.D.
candidate in Dr. Jason Grabosky’s Urban Forestry
lab, gave two presentations on the role of soil metals in vegetative assemblage
structure and development of an urban brownfield.The first on Aug 1st was given at the
International Society of Arboriculture conference in Honolulu, Hawaii.The second on
August 15th was given at the professional development lecture series
for the Department of Environmental Protection in TrentonNJ.
La Puma, a Ph.D. candidate in Julie
Lockwood’s lab, gave a presentation on Radar Ornithology to
the Bucks County Birders (club) at the PeaceValleyNatureCenter,
Doylestown, PA.titled “Birding on a mega-scale - using Doppler radar
to predict birding conditions in the Northeastern US”on July
Bonnie McCay (Human Ecology and E&E Graduate Program) delivered the
keynote address at a conference held July
5-9, 2007 sponsored by the MARE institute, at the University of Amsterdam,
“People and the Sea IV: Who Owns the Coast.” Bonnie’s
talk was titled: “The Littoral and the
Liminal; Or, Why It is Hard and Critical to
Answer the Question “Who Owns the Coast?”
At the triennial meeting of the International Society for
Theoretical and Applied Limnology held in Montreal, Canada, Peter Morin spoke in
a symposium titled “Reconciling divergent views on trophic relationships:
functional responses in aquatic environments” on August 14. The title of
his talk was “Predator-prey dynamics in simple microbial food webs.”
Joe Paulin, a Ph.D. candidate
working with David Ehrenfeld,presented a talk entitled, “The Effects Of Personal Experience
And Wildlife Density On Public Attitudes Towards Black Bear In New Jersey,” at
the 21st Annual Meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology in Port
Elizabeth, South Africa.
Joe Paulin also taught children at a
local summer camp about black bear ecology and trained them in the proper ways
to react when encountering a bear.
Patricia Ramey, a
Ph.D. student in the Fred Grassle lab,attended the 9th International Polychaete Conference in
Portland ME and presented a talk titled” Undescribed
diversity in the genus Polygordius:
Pygidial glands as a useful taxonomic character.”
La Puma, a Ph.D. candidate in the Julie
Lockwood lab,reports his first "popular
science" article just came out in WildBird
magazine. The article is about using radar to detect bird migration, and
specifically how anyone could use the internet to do so. It's David’sfirst article
on the subject but it's the focus of a website he has been running since Inga
and he moved to New Jersey( www.woodcreeper.com).
Here's the website preview of the issue: http://www.wildbirdmagazine.com/wb/magazine.aspx
J. and Gilman E.F. 2007. Response of two oak species to
reduction pruning cuts. Arboriculture
& Urban Forestry 33(5):360-366.
Julie Lockwood reports two publications in press:
·Cassey, P., J.L.
Lockwood, J.D. Olden and T.M. Blackburn. The varying role of population
abundance in structuring indices of biotic homogenization. Journal of
·Cassey, P., J.L.
Lockwood, and K.H. Fenn. Using long-term
occupancy information to inform the management of Cape Sable
seaside sparrows in the Everglades. Biological Conservation.
Struwe, L., et al. “International education in biodiversity
and biodocumentation - collaborative approaches.” inEcological Characteristics of Biodiversity.
2007. Khorog, Tajikistan:
Academy of Sciences
of the Republic of Tajikistan
Faculty Achievements and Activities:
the World Conference on Science and Technology Education in Perth,
Western Australia (July 9-12, 2007). The Perth Declaration
supported by UNESCO in which a focus on global sustainability will be
integrated with science and technology education was developed at this meeting.
Terry McGuire (Department
of Genetics and E&E Graduate Program) reports the following activities:
Terry was appointed as a Presidential CASTL Faculty Fellow - GraduateSchool and CAAT at Rutgers.
(CASTL = CarnegieAcademy
for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning). He will work with TA
Accepted for faculty development workshop for CREATE
((Consider, Read, Elucidate hypotheses, Analyzeand interpret
the data, and Think of the next Experiment), Create isa
new method for teaching science, and the nature of science,through
primary literature. CREATE is an NSF
Selected for a CASTL workshop at SENCER (one of
13). The workshop will be working to support publication in
the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
Lena Struwe was interviewed by the Boston Globe about the
gentian-flavored soda called Moxie.
Judy Weis (Biological Sciences, Rutgers Newark and E&E Graduate
Program) has served on two advisory boards this summer. In July Judy served on
the EPA Science Advisory Board committee evaluating draft of EPA's Report on
the Environment 2007(ROE) and contributed to the review of the Water Chapter
and the Ecosystems Chapter in Washington, D.C. and in August she was a member of theNRC Committee on Desalination in Woods
Judy Weis reports
her work is cited in a Naturenews article about fiddler crabs depurating metals through molting.:
Linda Rohlederand Kristen Ross from
Joan Ehrenfeld’s lab, Denise Hewitt, in Bonnie
McCay’s lab, Andrea Kornbluh, working with John Dighton, and Eva
Gonzales, a postdoc with Peter Smouse,volunteered with The Nature Conservancy on
June 30 at the Blair Creek preserve in northwestern NJ. The group was able to
help them implement a pilot vegetation sampling effort that will serve as a
baseline for the preserve.
Congratulations to the
(advisor Bonnie McCay) defended her
Ph.D. on Sept 12th.
Jennifer Adams Krumins(advisor
Peter Morin) defended her Ph.D. dissertation
on August 22nd. Jennifer has accepted a position as Substitute
Assistant Professor in Department of Natural Sciences at Baruch College CUNY.
Jennifer Momsen(advisor JeanMarie
Hartman) defended her Ph.D. on August 24th and will begin a
post-doc immediately.Jenni has
accepted a postdoctoral position in biology education at MichiganStateUniversity
with Diane Ebert-May in Plant Biology.
Emilie Stander (advisor Joan Ehrenfeld) defended her dissertation on August 23rd
and will start her a postdoctoral position with the Environmental
Protection Agency's National Risk Management and Research Laboratory,
which is a division of the Office of Research and Development in
mid-October.Emilie will be working
for the Urban Stormwater Management Program in
Edison, New Jersey.The position
involves researching the effectiveness of engineered stormwater
retention structures and constructed wetlands in removing nutrients and
pollutants before they reach receiving surface waters.
to the DEENR/E&E family:
Julie Lockwoodand Tabby Fenn welcomed their
son, Henry Merritt Fenn on June 19th.
Henry weighed in at 7 lbs. 1 oz. and 21 inches in length.
The family is all doing well.
Cesar Rodriguez –Saona (Entomology and E&E Graduate Program) and his wife,
Corrine Williams, welcomed their new son Marcello Rodriguez (8 lb 5 oz. 21
inches) on August 6th .Mom, baby and big brother, Renzo, are all doing well.