of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources
and Evolution Graduate Program Newsletter
Previous newsletters may be found at:
Please welcome Dr.
Ingo Fetzer, who is visiting the Morin lab to do some collaborative
research through the end of October. Ingo is a postdoctoral fellow from the
Department of Environmental Microbiology at the Helmholtz Centre for
Environmental Research in Leipzig,
Germany. He is
broadly interested in using microbial systems as models for testing ecological
Stacey and Brian
Lettini welcomed daughter Katelyn
Elizabeth Lettini, 6 lbs 15.6 oz, 18 inches born at 7:01 am on Aug. 22nd.
Everyone is doing well.
As always, students and faculty were active participants
in the Ecological Society of America’s
Annual Meeting (8/4/08-8/8/08), in Milwaukee
a Ph.D. candidate working with Joan Ehrenfeld, presented a poster:
"Plant-induced feedback loops between litter decomposition and soil
microbial communities" Co-authored by Kenneth Elgersma, Joan Ehrenfeld,
Shen Yu, and Torsten Vor.
- Was interviewed by Mitch Teich for Milwaukee ’s “Lake
Effect” radio program in which the citizen science sessions for the annual
meeting and associated symposia where discussed.
an Oral Session: Promoting Ecological Literacy in Public Audiences: Research
and Case studies in which she gave a talk titled “Research on adult
learning gains in an ecologically oriented project.” (co-authors Joan Ehrenfeld, Steven
Gray, Edwin McGowan, and Edward Goodell).
a special discussion session: Ecological Literacy in Public Audiences:
Building upon Successful Strategies and Defining the Research
invited to speak at an organized oral session: Linking Ecological Literacy
and Environmental Justice. Rebecca gave a talk titled “Integrating underserved groups into
scientific endeavors.” (co-authors Wesley Brooks, David Mellor, and
invited to speak at the Citizen Science Symposium. Rebecca’s talk was
“ Promoting ecological
understanding through citizen science: working within a framework where citizens
and scientists benefit.”
- Co-led a workshop titled: Promoting Ecological
Literacy in Public Audiences: Building upon Successful Strategies Using a
Citizen Science Approach.
William Landesman, Ph.D. candidate advised by John
Dighton, presented “The effect of climate change and
precipitation on soil microbial community structure, nitrogen mineralization,
and amino acid production in the New Jersey Pinelands.” Co-authored with John Dighton.
a Ph.D. candidate co-advised by Steward T.A. Pickett and Richard G.
Lathrop, gave a presentation titled "The spatial variation of lead in
urban residential soil and correlations with specific features of urban land
Alicia Shenko, a Ph.D. candidate co-advised by Ravit Golan Duncan and
Rebecca Jordan, presented a poster titled "The Backyard Mammal Project:
Promoting Ecological Literacy in Public Audiences." Coauthors: Steven A. Gray, Rebecca Jordan
Ai Wen, Ph.D. candidate, co-advisors Joan and David Ehrenfeld, "Species
Composition and Germination in the Seedbank of Abandoned Cranberry Farms"
Rachel Winfree (Entomology
and E&E Graduate Faculty) presented a talk titled “A meta-analysis of bees’
response to anthropogenic disturbance.”
Members of Jason Grabosky’s lab gave three presentations in late
July at the International Society of Arboriculture annual conference in St. Louis.
- Jason Grabosky’s presentation was
titled “Ten-year study data: tree growth in paved skeletal soils and plant
available moisture testing in skeletal soils.”
- Jess Sanders, a Ph.D. candidate,
presented “Tree planting in New
York City: a five-year mortality study.”
- Greg Dahle, a Ph.D. candidate,
gave a presentation titled “Relationship of vessel to fiber ratio and the
trade-off between hydraulics and mechanics in Norway maple (Acer
attended two other meetings while in Milwaukee:
Grant Project Director’s meeting (8/7/08-8/8/08). Rebecca presented a
poster titled “Weedy plant invasions on public conservation lands: using
citizen scientists to answer ecological questions.”
- Urban Ecology
Center of Milwaukee’s Citizen Science Symposium
Rebecca’s invited presentation was
titled “Promoting ecological understanding through citizen science.”
David Mellor, a
Ph.D. candidate advised by Rebecca Jordan, gave a contributed talk at the
annual conference for the Animal Behavior Society at Snowbird, Utah. The title
was "Female mate choice for male behavioral traits and its role in the
diversification of the Mbuna cichlids of Malawi." Authors: David
Mellor, Catherine Tarsiewicz , Rebecca Jordan.
reports the following presentations at Botany 2008 the Joint Annual Meeting of: Canadian Botanical
Association/L’Association Botanique du Canada, American Fern Society, American Society of Plant Taxonomists and the Botanical Society of America in Vancouver July 26 to the
- Kelsey, S., S. Eisenman, & L. Struwe. 2008. The
establishment and persistence of plants introduced to New Jersey by solid ballast on ships.
- Raviram, R., S. Eisenman, A. Novy, S. Bonos, & L. Struwe.
2008. Assessing the genetic diversity in an ex situ germplasm collection
of dawn redwoods (Metasequoia glyptostroboides).
- Struwe, L., E. Heiberg, S. Haag, & J. Grant. 2008.
Comparative ecological analysis of sympatric and allopatric species and
clades in the Andes.
presented a poster and co-authored a presentation at the Conference on the
Ecology & Evolution of Plant-Pollinator Interactions in August 2008.
meta-analysis of bees’ response to anthropogenic disturbance"
honey bee pollination “crisis”: where can native bees take up the
slack?" (3rd author on talk, C. Kremen presenting author)
was an author on a talk presented at the International Congress of Entomology,
July 2008 titled “Responses of bees to changing landscapes.” (3rd author on
talk, N. Williams presenting author)
Baiser, B., J. L. Lockwood, D. La Puma,
and M. F. J. Aronson*. (2008) A perfect storm: two ecosystem engineers interact
to degrade deciduous forests of New
Invasions 10: 785-795.
received her Ph.D. in 2007, advisor Steven Handel.
Baiser, B., R.L.
Boulton and J.L. Lockwood. The influence of water flows on nest success of
the endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow in
the Florida Everglades. Animal
Conservation 11: 190-197.
Pechmann I., Bogden J., Grabosky J., and Weis P. Soil
Metal Concentrations and Productivity
of Betula populifolia (gray birch) as
Measured by Field Spectrometry and Incremental Annual Growth in an Abandoned
Urban Brownfield in New Jersey, Environmental
Pollution. In press.
and Steven Gray, Ph.D. candidate in
her lab, report the following publications:
C. Jordan, R, Lui, L. Gray, S., Demeter, M., Rugaber, S., Varrtam, S., and
A. Goel. (2008) Focusing on function: Thinking below the surface of
complex natural systems. Science
Scope, 31: 27-35.
R.C., S. Gray, M. Demeter, L. Lui, and C. Hmelo-Silver. (2008) Quick fix:
Don’t forget behavior in systems thinking! American Biology Teacher, 70: 329-330.
The research team of Richard Lathrop of
the Center for Remote Sensing & Spatial Analysis and John Hasse of Rowan
University have released a report entitled “Tracking New Jersey’s Dynamic
Landscape: Urban Growth and Open Space Loss 1986–1995–2002.” The executive
summary and full report are available at http://www.crssa.rutgers.edu/projects/lc/urbangrowth
Oscar Schofield (Marine and Coastal Sciences, and E&E Graduate
Faculty) reports the following publications:
R., Glenn, S., Schofield, O., Chant, R., Wilkin, J., Kohut, J. 2008.
Seasonal evolution of hydrographic fields in the central Middle Atlantic
Bight from glider observations. Geophysical
Research Letters, 35, L03617, doi:10.1029/2007GL032335
A., Vardi, A., Schofield, O. 2008. Feature Article: Effect of
phytoplankton physiology on export flux. Marine Ecology Progress Series 354: 3-19.
O., Kohut, J., Glenn, S. M. 2008. Coastal observing networks and dawn in a
new millennium of well sampled oceans. Sea
Technology. 49: 31-36
R., Schofield, O., Glenn, S. M., Kohut, J., Chant, R. 2008. Cross-shelf
transport of fresh water in the New Jersey Shelf during spring and summer
2006. Journal of Geophysical
B., O. Schofield, R. Chant, J. Wilkin, E. Hunter, S. Glenn, and P. Bissett
2008. Dynamics of turbid buoyant plumes and the feedbacks on near-shore
biogeochemistry and physics, Geophysical
Research Letters doi:10.1029/2008GL033595
Julie Lockwood reports
the following grants:
Ecosystems Science Initiative, National Park Service for “Recovering small
Cape Sable seaside sparrow subpopulations: the breeding and dispersal of
sparrows in the eastern Everglades.” –
Fish and Wildlife Service, Developing an emergency management action plan
for the endangered Cape Sable seaside
sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus
mirabilis) – $37,184 (with G. Slater, R. Boulton, and S.L. Pimm)
University Research Council, Conservation genetics of eastern bluebirds in
Bermuda – $1,940 (with J. Avery)
The EPA funded two grants submitted by DEENR and/or E&E Graduate
Faculty. Please read the special announcement section for more information: http://es.epa.gov/ncer/biodiversity/
Institute for Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook,
NY, $750,000 – will investigate how
differences in animal community composition affect the risk of Lyme
disease transmission in Duchess
County, NY. Richard
Ostfeld and colleagues
- Rutgers University, New
Brunswick, NJ, $749,995 – will investigate the relationships
between diversity in plant, bird, and mosquito populations and West Nile virus prevalence in urban wetland
communities in northern NJ. The
research team will also consider how people’s attitudes about and
behaviors in these wetlands affect their risk of disease transmission. Joan Ehrenfeld and colleagues.
Oscar Schofield (Marine and Coastal Sciences, and E&E Graduate Faculty)
reports the following grants:
- Department of Defense-Office of Naval Research, DURIP
2008 “Characterizing continental shelves with satellites and gliders”
Oscar Schofield, Scott Glenn, Josh Kohut, Mathew Oliver ($351,000)
Science Foundation Office of Polar Program 2008-2013. “West Antarctic
Palmer LTER” PIs Ducklow, H., Martinson, D. G., Schofield, O., Steinberg,
D., Stammerjohnn, S., Fraser, W., Baker, K. S. ($5,100,100)
Science Foundation, Computer Sciences Directorate, Major Research
Infrastructure Development Grant 2008-2011 “Development of Next Generation
Collaborative Underwater Robotic Instrumentation” Metaxas, D., U.
Kremer, Manish P., Schofield, O., Glenn, S. ($2,000,000)
Partnerships in Higher Education program Norway -North America 2008-2011
“Technology for marine monitoring and ocean observation” Johnsen, G.,
Moline, M. A., Berge J. Glenn, S. M., Schofield, O. ($1,700,000 Norwegian
and Betty Moore Foundation 2008-2011 “From Microbes to Mammals: A Robotic
Network to Study Climate Induced Changes in an Antarctic Marine Ecosystem”
Schofield, O., Glenn, S. M., Martininson, D. G., Steinberg, D.
Joan Bennett (Plant
Sciences, and E&E Graduate Faculty) has been awarded The ADVANCE grant from
NSF for institutional transformation (women in science). It starts on
Sept. 1, 2008 and runs for five years (Aug 31, 2013) for a total of $3.67
Faculty Achievements and Activities:
was elected Vice President of the International Union of Microbiological
John Dighton and Walt Bien (Drexel University ) were interviewed last
week for the NJ Network radio program Sounds of Science (airing Tues Aug 26 @
7pm, Thurs Aug 28 @ 10pm, Sat Aug 30 @ 3:30pm and Sun Aug 31 @ 9.30 pm) They
are discussing the nature of the NJ pine barrens, some of it's problems and
some of the research we are doing.
traveled to Charles University in Prague
to work with Dr. Lukas Kratochvil and Henry’s student, Alison Golinski, on
their ongoing collaborative study of the development and evolution of sexual
dimorphisms in eyelid geckos. They began their collaboration after Lukas
and Henry met at an international workshop on sexual size dimorphism at Monte
Verita several years ago. Last year, Lukas was supported by the Fulbright
Foundation to spend 5 months in Henry’s laboratory here at Rutgers.
He brought with him a species of eyelid gecko (Coleonyx elegans) from his captive breeding population for their
first collaborative experiment. Subsequently, Alison was selected to
participate in NSF’s Central Europe Summer Research Institute program that
places graduate students in central European laboratories. Her funding through
this program provided the opportunity for their second experiment, this time on
the gecko Goniousaurus lichtenfelderi.
During the Botany 2008 conference in Vancouver, Canada, Aug
26-31, recent Plant Science undergraduate Sarah Kelsey, Plant Biology graduate student Sasha Eisenman, and faculty Lena Struwe
received the national annual award for best presentation in Historical
Botany by the Botanical Society of America. The title of the poster is
"The Establishment and Persistence of Plants
Introduced to New Jersey
by Solid Ballast on Ships" and an abstract is here:
Robert Trivers will be at the Institute
of Advanced Studies in Berlin for 2008-2009 on
a fellowship to finish a book on deceit and self-deception.
had two news releases about her work:
- Macon, GA Telegraph, “Interest in native
bees on the rise,” 19 July 2008
- The Philadelphia
Inquirer, “Seeking pollinators in wings,” 7 July 2008
Awards, Achievements, and Activities:
This past spring the EcoGSA established the Edmund Stiles
Memorial Fellowship to be awarded to a student in support of research that would be broadly in the areas that interested
the late Dr. Stiles. Jeremy
Feinberg, a Ph.D. candidate advised by Joanna Burger, was awarded the Edmund Stiles Memorial
Fellowship of $900 for his proposal titled
“The Decline of Southern Leopard Frogs from Long Island, New
York: Investigating Causes for Conservation.”
John Ruppert, a Ph.D.
student working with Ravit Golan Duncan, has accepted a full-time position at
St. Peter's College as the Lab Coordinator and instructor for biology lab.
John received his Masters in
Education in May from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education.
Alison Seigel, a
PhD candidate in Julie Lockwood's lab, will be teaching the Fall 2008 course
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University
of Hawai`i at Manoa in Honolulu.
Jay Turnure, a Master’s student in Ken Able’s lab, mentored Moravian College student Brian Reckenbeil in the IMCS Research
Internship in Ocean Sciences (RIOS) program (an NSF REU program). Brian presented a poster of their summer work at a
poster session on August 8 at the IMCS building titled “Quantifying movement
and dispersal in adult weakfish (Cynoscion
regalis): Day vs. night comparison.” Authored by Brian Reckenbeil, Jason
Turnure, Thomas Grothues, Kenneth Able
Congratulations to Kyle Bennett, Ph.D. candidate advised
by Rich Lutz, on the successful defense of his Preliminary Proposal on August
Ph.D. 1992, advisor Joanna Burger, after 15 years of working as a PI for the
USGS has opened a research and consulting firm
in Spring Lake, CA.
In Bill’s own words. “I'm now my own boss and love it! “ For more
information on the company visit:
Ph.D. 2005, advisor Ted Stiles, has accepted a one year visiting Assistant
Professor position at Kings College,
Ph.D. 2008, advisor Jason Grabosky, and Part Time Lecturer in DEENR, gave two
presentations at the Ecological Society of America meeting in Milwaukee. On Monday August 4th,
as part of a team representing the American Forest Foundation, a 1.5 hour
workshop was delivered on secondary science education using the Places We Live
secondary module. This Module integrates science, social studies, and
environmental studies to investigate local community issues. On Tuesday August
5th, a concurrent session entitled “Vegetative assemblage
distribution and long-term guild trajectories in a metal contaminated brownfield”
was also delivered.
Ph.D. 2008, advisor Bonnie McCay, has accepted a tenure-track assistant
professor position (of marine policy) at the University
of Maine in the School of Marine Sciences
in Orono beginning September 1.
Matt Kimball, Ph.D. 2008, advisor Ken Able, accepted a postdoctoral
fellowship at the Louisiana State University AgCenter School of Renewable
Natural Resources (which is in Baton
Rouge). Matt is stationed at the NOAA
& Coastal Fisheries
Center in Lafayette working with Dr. Lawrence
Rozas. The project will focus on fish
use of salt marshes and specifically examine the effect of water control
structures on fish migration through salt marsh habitats.
Jennifer Krumins, PhD. 2007
advisor Peter Morin, was awarded an NSF IRFP (International Research Fellowship
Program) Postdoc. The title of Jennifer’s research proposal was
'Herbivorous Nematodes and the Microbial Loop: Unraveling Below-Ground
Mechanisms Affecting Plant Production'. Jennifer will be working with Wim
van der Putten at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology beginning in February ‘09.
Ph.D. 2005, advisor Peter Morin, has much news to report:
- A 6
month old daughter, Oona Plum McPhearson. Welcome Oona!
has accepted a position as an Assistant Professor of Ecology at Eugene Lang College
at The New School in the village. The New School
is starting a new Environmental Studies program and Timon is the first
hire for the program which launches this fall. Timon will also
retain his Columbia
affiliation as a visiting assistant professor associated with the Earth
latest publication is an education piece in a book from a conference he
attended in Switzerland:
McPhearson, P. Timon, Stuart P.D. Gill, Robert Pollack, and Julia
E. Sable. 2008. Increasing Scientific Literacy in
Undergraduate Education: A Case Study from “Frontiers of Science” at Columbia University. In A Vision of Transdisciplinarity: Laying Foundations for a World
Knowledge Dialogue (Eds. Frédéric Darbellay, Moira Cockell, Jérôme Billotte, and Francis
Waldvogel), EPFL Press, Switzerland.
Jonathon Schramm, Ph.D. 2008, advisor Joan Ehrenfeld, has accepted
a post-doc at Michigan
The funding is provided by two sources: a center for undergraduate learning at Michigan State
University and the other through the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research
Center at Kellogg
Biological Station. The common thread is that both projects will be looking at
students' (college and K-12) understanding of carbon and energy in ecosystems,
as well as the effectiveness of typical methods used in teaching those topics.