of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources
and Evolution Graduate Program Newsletter
November and December 2008
Previous newsletters may be found at:
are pleased to end the year with an expanded newsletter. We are now including
information from the undergraduates working in DEENR labs. The undergrad
departmental affiliation will be noted following their name or news piece.
to everyone who contributed to this inaugural edition of the expanded
newsletter. We look forward to hearing from more of you for future editions.
Steven Clemants, Vice President of Science at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and a member of the
E&E graduate program passed away suddenly on November 2, 2008. We send our
sympathies to his wife and family. The Dr. Steven
Clemants Wildflower Fund has been established to honor our late colleague and
friend. Steve's widow, Grace Markman, is
working with the Greenbelt Native Plant
Center to plan a living memorial that
will foster the planting of native wildflower species in New York City parks. Please contact Marsha
Morin for information about this fund.
Undergrad Information and News:
Make the most of your research experience! You could
be earning credits. Talk to your mentor about this. You could also
be eligible for funding or scholarships. The Aresty Research
Center offers research
grants and also provides information about other scholarship programs.
Everyone should complete an SEBS Scholarship Application. It's easy to
apply and the Scholarship Office will do the work of finding programs for which
you are eligible. Apply every year. Next round begins in February.
Check out these links:
DEENR has undergraduates working in several labs to gain
hands-on research experience.
- Wayne Blum, a junior in the
Ecology and Natural Resources major, is earning credits towards his degree
working in Michael Sukhdeo’s lab this semester. Wayne
is doing a survey of parasites in frogs in a small creek. He collects and identifies the frogs,
dissects and searches the various organs of the body for parasites. Any
parasites found are then identified.
Chandler and Joe Pignatelli are working in the Joan Ehrenfeld lab helping
with field work, data entry, and plant identification.
- Chris Dougherty is working for Rick Lathrop as a GIS programmer. He is developing a Web-accessible
wildlife sightings database for the NJDEP Endangered & Nongame Species
Wildlife Program. This system will
allow citizen volunteers to geolocate and upload their wildlife sightings
- Neha Gautam, a Bioenvironmental Engineering
major, is working
with Lena Struwe as a herbarium technician at the Chrysler Herbarium.
Mughal, a junior in the SAS
Genetics department, is doing a lab-rotation with Peter Smouse this
semester, and working on the NSF Valley Oak Project, for research
credits toward her major.
- Stevie Steffey, an EENR undergrad,
is volunteering her time with Rebecca Jordan and Rebecca’s graduate
students in an effort to learn more about graduate study.
- Kerrie Tiedemann, an Animal Science
undergrad, is completing her Cook Honors Project with Rebecca Jordan.
Kerrie is investigating public perception of bear-proof garbage
- Sean Hayes, an EENR undergrad, is
working with graduate student Maria Stanko in Peter Morin’s group on
plant-pollinator networks involving native and non-native species.
- Laura Chen, a SEBS undergrad, is
working in Peter Morin’s lab on predator-prey dynamics in continuous
Lena Struwe has
two students working on Aresty projects:
- Ramya Raviram, a biotechnology
major, is working on genotyping the endangered Metaseqouia (dawn redwood).
- David Zaitz, an ecology and
natural resources undergrad, is working on a revision of Symbolanthus (Gentianaceae) in Colombia.
David provided the following information on his project: Symbolanthus (ring gentians) is a
montane, neotropical plant genus spanning the Andes and other mountainous
ranges from Central America down to southern Bolivia (Struwe et al, 2002).
Part of the distinct gentian family, and characterized by having bright
and showy flora, Symbolanthus is unique in its morphology by having
a large trumpet- or funnel shaped flowers in a variety of colors and
patterns. This distinct flower morphology is arguably what makes it
beautiful but also facilitates part of the taxonomic problems that have
plagued this group. Symbolanthus species are rare and the exact
number of species and populations are unknown, and many of its habitats
are currently highly endangered due to habitat fragmentation arising from
agricultural and logging activities (Molina & Struwe, 2008). Habitat
loss may have devastating effects on biodiversity. It is important to identify
the species within these highly threatened Andean ecosystems to be able to
preserve them and save them from extinction.
gave two invited seminars at the University
of Connecticut in
madness: definitions and null hypotheses in invasion ecology” was given in
the Ecology and Evolution Seminar Series.
it for the long haul: conservation of the Cape Sable seaside sparrow in
the Everglades, Florida”
was given in the Natural Resource Management Seminar Series.
Lena Struwe had
the following abstract and presentation:
L. & S. Eisenman. 2008. Good Botanical Practices in Pharmaceutical
Studies. NRF(KISC)/GIBEX - Africa Workshop on developing novel strategies
for natural product-based drug discovery for tropical diseases, 3-6 Nov
2008, Cape Town, South Africa.
Judy Weis, Department of Biology, Newark,
was an invited speaker at the WEBS (Women Evolving Biological Sciences)
conference sponsored by University
"ADVANCE" grant for women in sciences. The conference was held in
Ph.D. 2008, advisor Jason Grabosky, has the following publication:
F J, Pechmann I, Bogden J D, Grabosky J, Weis P. 2008. "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
was a contributing author to the monograph:
stormwater for urban sustainability using trees and structural soils.”
2008. S. Day and S Dickinson
Eds. VPI Blacksburg,
has the following publication in press:
- Blackburn, T.M., P. Cassey and J.L. Lockwood. The role of species traits in overcoming
small initial population sizes within exotic birds. Global
Lauren Spearman, a Ph.D. candidate in Mike May’s lab, has the following publication in Zootaxa,
published November, 2008:
species of flightless katydids from South Africa (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae:
Meconematinae). Piotr Naskrecki, Corinna S. Bazelet & Lauren A.
Holly Vuong, a
Ph.D. candidate co-advised by Peter Morin and Rick Ostfeld, wrote an article on
tick biology in the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference Trailwalker for the November/December
issue. It's titled: "Ticks: No One's Hiking Friend."
has received two grants:
Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Conservation of American oystercatchers in New Jersey –
$140,000 (with Tom Virzi)
capabilities in Ecology and Organismal Biology Lab Courses – $7,100 (Rutgers University, with David Howe).
Faculty Achievements and Activities:
Kay Bidle, Marine
Sciences, received a pre-tenure faculty career development awards for his
proposal on “Genetic mechanisms of DNA repair in ancient ice microbes.”
hosted Dr. Peter May from Melbourne Australia (Burnley College Univeristy of
Melbourne retired) and Dr. Yukio Kida who works with Toho Leo Corporation
in Tokyo. While
on campus they discussed soil design research for urban trees and pavement
in the US
Ed Green attended
the Society of American Foresters National Convention in Reno, NV
(Nov 4-9), where he participated in the Editor's meetings.
Rebecca Jordan and
David Mellor, a Ph.D. candidate in Rebecca’s lab, received a pre-tenure
faculty award of $3,050 from the School
of Environmental and Biological
Sciences to study the mating behavior of cichlids from Lake
George McGhee, Geological Sciences,
has been elected a Centennial Fellow of the Paleontological Society, the
oldest organization of professional paleontologists in North
America. Currently, in
2008, the society has 1492 members, of whom only 68 are Fellows.
Dr. John Tedrow,
professor emeritus, reports continuing studies on the origin of the boulder
fields (a.k.a. block fields and/or Felsenmeer) in Southwestern Pennsylvania and
the Western Pennsylvania mountains.
Judy Weis, Department of Biology, Newark, received the Chancellor's Award for
Faculty Community Research from Rutgers-Newark.
and Tom Virzi, Ph.D, 2008, advisor
Julie Lockwood, attended a Management Workshop as Advisory Panelists. The workshop titled,“Managing fire within Everglades National Park
for Cape Sable seaside sparrows”, was co-sponsored by Everglades National Park,
Big Cypress National Preserve, and US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Judy Weis, Department of Biology, Newark,
attended the National Sea Grant Advisory Board meeting in Baton Rouge.
Congratulations to Suzanne Decoursey on the successful defense
of her Masters degree. Suzanne’s advisor is Rebecca Jordan.
Congratulations to the following on
the successful completion of their Qualifying Exams:
- Wayne Rossiter,
advisor Michael Sukhdeo, on November 19th
- Holly Vuong,
advisor Peter Morin, on November 25th.
- Lea Johnson,
advisor Steven Handel, on December 1st
Tartaglia, advisor Steven Handel, on December 2nd.
Michael P. Lombardo,
Ph.D. 1984, advisor Harry W. Power, Professor of Biology at Grand Valley State
University, Allendale, MI has the following publication:
M. P., P. A. Thorpe, B. M. Brown, and K. Sian. 2008.
Digit ratios in birds. The
Anatomical Record DOI 10.1002/ar.20769.
(Published online on 2 October 2008)
Chris Martine, M.S. 2001, advisor John Kuser, reports the
C.T., S. Leicht-Young, P. Herron, and A. Latimer. Fifteen woody species
with potential for invasiveness in New England.
Rhodora 110: 345-353.