Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources


Faculty and Student Newsletter

March 2005


Previous newsletters may be found at:






Dr. Jason Grabosky has given three recent presentations.

·        February 23 Dr. Grabosky spoke at the Cornell Co-Op Extension Organic Gardening Conference  in Ronkonkoma, NY.  His talk was titled “Plant establishment begins before transplanting: Site assessment and modification.”

·        March 10 he attended the Tree Care International Spring Expo in Long Beach, CA. His presentation at the Morning Pre-conference Workshop was titled "Roots grow the tree: Root zone modification."

·        March 29 his keynote address “Tree Preservation” was given to the International Society of Arboriculture New England ISA Annual Meeting at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Dr. Peter Morin presented an invited research seminar in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at SUNY Stony Brook on March 9. The title of the seminar was: "Experimental Studies of Food Web Dynamics: Productivity, Diversity, and Invasions."



The Northeast Ecology and Evolution Conference was held at Pennsylvania State University, March 18th - 20th. This conference, which was first organized by EcoGSA and held here at Rutgers in 2003, is organized by graduate students to highlight research presentations and posters by graduate students, post-docs and advanced undergraduates. Several of our graduate students and faculty presented posters or talks at NEEC this year:



From the Joan Ehrenfeld lab:

·        Emilie Stander, a Ph.D. candidate, gave an oral presentation.  The title is "The Effects of Urbanization on Nitrate Removal Capacity of Urban Wetlands."


From the Henry John-Alder lab:

·        Robert Cox and Henry John-Alder presented a paper titled. “Does reproductive investment constrain female growth and promote male-larger sexual size dimorphism in Yarrow's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii)?”

·        Robert Cox and Stephanie L. Skelly, Angela Leo, and Henry B. John-Alder presented  a poster  titled  Testosterone regulates sexually dimorphic coloration in the Eastern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus undulatus).”


From the Lena Struwe E&E lab:

·        Jeanmaire Molina and Lena Struwe  presented a talk titled “The phylogeny and floral ecology of Leeaceae.”


Dr. Struwe was also a co-author with four of her students from the Plant Biology Graduate Program  in the following oral presentations at NEEC:

·        “Determining the boundaries within the species complex Chelonanthus viridiflorus .
Angela Gorczyca, Kate B. Lepis and Lena Struwe

·        Chelonanthus alatus (Gentianaceae), widely distributed weeds to narrow endemics: where do you draw the species lines? “
Kate Lepis, Angela Gorczyca and Lena Struwe 

·        “A phylogenetic inquiry into the angiosperm genus Strychnos (Loganiaceae) using ITS sequences.”
Cynthia Frasier and Lena Struwe  

·        “Revision of Tachia (Gentianaceae): speciation patterns in South America using phylogenetic data from morphology and DNA.”

      Matthew Kinkade, Adrian M. Pohlit and Lena Struwe




·        Lin Jiang and Peter J. Morin. Predator diet breadth influences the relative importance of bottom-up and top-down control of prey biomass and diversity. The American Naturalist 65: 350-363.


·        Sukhdeo, M.V.K., and Hernandez, A.D. (2005) Food Web Patterns and the Parasite’s Perspective. In: Parasitism and Ecosystems (Edited by: F. Thomas, J.F. Guegan, and F. Renaud). pp. 54-67. Oxford University Press.


·        Karen Mabb, a Ph.D. student in Dr. Julie Lockwood’s lab, has co-authored (Kimball L. Garrett and Karen T. Mabb) an article titled, "Temple City and Arcadia Parrot Roosts  .  It will appear in the Pasadena Birding Guide. (in press).


·        Misson, L., Tang, J., Xu, M., McKay, M. and Goldstein, A. 2005. Influences of recovery from clear-cut, climate variability, and thinning on the carbon balance of a young ponderosa pine plantation, Agriculture and Forest Meteorology (in press).

·        Liu, B., Xu, M., Henderson M., Qi, Y. 2005. Observed trends of precipitation amount, frequency, and intensity in China, 1960-2000, Journal of Geophysical Research (in press).

·        Fisher, J. B., DeBiase, T. A., Qi, Y. Xu, M.  Goldstein, A. H. 2005. Evapotranspiration models compared on a Sierra Nevada forest ecosystem. Environmental Modelling & Software 20: 783-796.

·        Tang, J., Qi, Y., Xu, M., Misson, L., and Goldstein A. H. 2005. Effects of forest thinning on soil respiration in a ponderosa pine plantation in the Sierra Nevada, Tree Physiology 25: 57-66.


·        Dutech C, Sork VL, Smouse PE, Davis F (2004) Relationships between fine-scale genetic structure and gene flow in a wind pollinated tree species, Quercus lobata Neé.  Am. J. Bot. 92, 252-261.

·        Sork VL, Smouse PE, Apsit VJ, Dyer RJ and Westfall RD. 2004. A two-generation analysis of pollen structure in Missouri Ozark populations of flowering dogwood (Cornus florida, Cornaceae). Am. J. Bot. 92, 262-271.

·        Mylecraine KA, Kuser JE, Smouse PE and Zimmermann GL. 2004. Geographic allozyme variation in Atlantic white-cedar, Chamaecyparis thyoides (Cupressaceae). Can. J. For. Res. 34, 2443-2454.

·        Smouse PE, Robledo-Arnuncio JJ (2004) Defining pollen structure as the probability of paternal identity. In: B Li and S McKeand (eds.) Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding in the Age of Genomics: Progress and Future. IUFRO  Joint  Conf.  Div. 2.  Proc. 2004, pp. 148-150.

·        Soto A, Robledo-Arnuncio JJ, González Martínez SC, Smouse PE, Gómez A, Alía R (2004) Contrasting patterns of genetic diversity in the six Iberian pine species. In: B Li and S McKeand (eds.) Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding in the Age of Genomics: Progress and Future. IUFRO Joint Conf. Divis. 2. Proc. 2004, pp. 186-188.

·        Robledo-Arnuncio JJ, Alía R, Gil L (2004) Increased selfing and correlated paternity in a small population of a predominantly outcrossing conifer, Pinus sylvestris L. Molec. Ecol. 13, 2567-2577.

·        González-Martínez SC, Robledo-Arnuncio JJ, Collada C, Díaz A, Williams CG, Alía R, Cervera MT (2004) Cross-amplification and sequence variation of microsatellite loci in Eurasian hard pines. Theor. Appl. Genet. 109, 103-111.

·        Robledo-Arnuncio JJ, Gil L (2005) Patterns of pollen dispersal in a small population of Pinus sylvestris L. revealed by total-exclusion paternity analysis. Heredity 94, 13-22.

·        Smouse PE and Robledo-Arnuncio JJ (2005) Measuring the genetic structure of the pollen pool as the probability of paternal identity. Heredity (in press)







Achievements and Activities:


Dr. Steven Handel, Dr. Steven Clemants and the Center for Urban Restoration Ecology were featured in an article in the Spring 2005 Nature Conservancy Magazine. The article titled “The City Wild’ highlighted urban ecological restoration and conservation in New York City. Dr. Handel and his group are responsible for the restoration of the Fresh Kills Landfill.


Dr. Peter Smouse spent Spring Break in California, working on propagule flow in Valley oak (Quercus lobata) with colleagues from UCLA and UCSB. He also hosted Dr. James Hamrick and Ms. Eva Gonzales from the Univ. Georgia, who are working on Enterolobium cyclocarpum and Trillium cuneatum, respectively.


Dr. Juan José Robledo-Arnuncio will be traveling to Costa Rica at the end of March to participate in a major field study of tropical dry forest Guanacaste (Enterolobium cyclocarpum), contrasting levels of genetic connectedness across landscapes that are natural with those that are anthropogenically disturbed.


Advisory Panels:


Dr.  Peter Morin chaired a committee that conducted a performance review of the director of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) in Santa Barbara, CA (February 28-March 1).

Dr. Peter Smouse has been appointed to the Technical Dispute Resolution Board of the Pacific Salmon Commission, a binational (US / Canadian) team that can provide technical expertise, in the case of international fisheries disputes


Student Awards, Achievements, and Activities:


Domenic D’Amore, a graduate student in the labs of Dr. Kathy Scott and Dr. George McGhee, is working on a paleoecology question involving how dinosaurs fed. He has been doing a portion of this research and collecting data at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. For more information on his work see this link:



Daniel Hernandez, a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. David Drake’s lab, participated on an expedition led by NJ Endangered Nongame Species Program to Tierra del Fuego in February to study Red Knots.  This is the second year of a project on Knot foraging that he has led.

Dan, who will defend is Ph.D. thesis this spring, has accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Conservation Biology at the Richard Stockton College of NJ beginning this fall.