Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources


Faculty and Student Newsletter

May 2005


Previous newsletters may be found at:




Presentations & Conferences:

Dr. Jason Grabosky was busy again this month.

  • On May 10th he spoke at the USDA Forest Service Northeast Regional Meeting for the Urban and Community Forestry Group. His presentation was titled "Update on the Northern Trees Selection Web."
  • On April 26th he gave a presentation titled  "Best management practices for trees" to the   Bergen County Parks Department in their Park Management Seminar Series.


Dr. Steven Handel gave a lecture "The potential to restore native habitats on the NYC Waterfront" to a meeting of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Citizen's Advisory Committee, in Brooklyn.  This group is designing, with help from The Center for Urban and Restoration Ecology (CURE), a 80-acre public park below Brooklyn Heights on abandoned industrial port facilities. 


Jennifer  Adams Krumins, a Ph.D. candidate in Peter Morin’s lab,  was involved  in two workshops this month:

·        At NCEAS (National Center for Ecological Assessment and Synthesis) she participated in the  Microbial Biodiversity working group from April 29-May 2 in Santa Barbara, CA.  

·        On April 22, 2005 Jennifer also participated in the CHASER panel workshop at the Graduate School-NB with a presentation titled "Start Early on Your Marketing."


Dr. Peter Morin was an invited participant at the 2005 Cary Conference (May 3-5, Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY) titled Infectious Disease Ecology: Effects of Disease on Ecosystems and of Ecosystems on Disease.



Dr. Harry Power was one of eight people asked to speak at a surprise symposium organized to honor Dr. Eugene S. Morton on his retirement from The Smithsonian. Dr. Power spoke on his work on beneficial sexually transmitted microbes in birds. The symposium was held at the joint meeting of the American Field Ornithologists and Wilson Ornithological Society April 23rd  in Beltsville, MD. 


Dr. Lena Struwe gave two presentations while in Brazil:

  • “Understanding Neotropical biogeography using evolutionary studies and GIS - an example using the plant family Gentianaceae”,  at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, 14 April 2005 and at
  • Jardin Botanico Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 20 April 2005.




Faculty Achievements and Activities:


Dr. Joan Ehrenfeld will be serving as an External Examiner for the Swarthmore College Honors Examinations.  For these exams, the student answers a 3-hour written exam, and then has an oral exam on the subject (Biodiversity and Ecosystems).


Dr. Jason Grabosky was installed as a trustee of the New Jersey Arborist Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture in April 2005.


Dr. Lena Struwe supervised the George H. Cook student, Matthew Kinkade, who successfully defended his honors thesis, "REVISION AND SYSTEMATICS OF TACHIA (GENTIANACEAE)."


Student Awards, Achievements, and Activities:


Michael Allen, B.S., 2005, has been awarded the Teuvo Airola Memorial Award For Excellence in Environmental Geomatics.  The award is given out annually to an undergraduate student in the Environmental Geomatics certificate program or the Environmental Geomatics option in the Environmental Planning & Design major who has demonstrated high achievement and special

promise.  Mike has been assisting on several Center for Remote Sensing & Spatial Analysis projects over the past year. Over the summer, he will be working on a project with the Nature Conservancy examining the fire history and vegetation community dynamics of their Oswego River Preserve in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. This fall, Mike will be entering a Master's degree

program in Wildlife Management at East Stroudsburg State University in Pennsylvania.


Robert Cox, a Ph.D. candidate in the Henry John-Alder lab, was featured in the Winter 2005  issue of CROSSECTION:  The Magazine of Research Across the Disciplines at the Graduate SchoolNew Brunswick.  Bob did the cover art work and his research was the lead article.


Shannon Galbraith-Kent, a Ph.D. candidate in the Steven Handel lab, created a butterfly habitat in the courtyard at South Plainfield Middle School.  The habitat (7m x 7m) was devised by Shannon as a part of the National Science Foundation’s GK-12 program, in which she is a Teaching Fellow this year. The students hope to continue the care and study of it next year through an after-school environmental club.  Four classes of students planted almost 300 native plants representing eight species (e.g., Asclepias sp., Aster novae-angliae, Rudbeckia hirta).  

Amy Karpati, advisor Steven Handel, Dr. Rebecca Jordan, and David Howe, lecturer, helped on Planting Day (May 9th).  For more information and pictures see:


Matthew Kimball, a graduate student in Ken Able’s lab, was selected for the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation's 2005 Budweiser Conservation Scholarship.  The award amount is $10,000 and the award term is for one year, 6/1/05 - 5/31/06. Matt’s research proposal is titled” Evaluating fish response to Phragmites removal and Spartina restoration: A novel approach using underwater video technology.”


Kristen Ross, advisor Joan Ehrenfeld, successfully completed her Prelims on May 11, 2005.


Jonathon Schramm, advisor Joan Ehrenfeld, successfully completed his Qualifying Exam on May 12, 2005.


Lauren Spearman, adviser Michael May, has received a Fulbright IIE Fellowship for Graduate Work. Lauren will be doing research on mantids in South Africa.




Johanna Choo, advisor Edmund Stiles, successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis titled “The Avifuana And Wild Fruits Of Two Equatorial Rainforest Sites: An Inter-Tropical Comparison” on April 27, 2005.


Matt Palmer, advisor Joan Ehrenfeld, has accepted a position as Lecturer in Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology at Columbia University. Matt will be defending his thesis this summer.


Laura Robinson, advisor John Quinlan, successfully completed her Master’s degree on May 2, 2005.