Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources


Faculty and Student Newsletter

September 2005


Previous newsletters may be found at:





Ecological Society of America, Montreal, August 7 -14. (In addition to the numerous presentations reported in the August Newsletter!)


  • Alex Felson, a Ph.D. student in Steward T.A. Pickett’s lab, presented a paper titled "Urban ecological experiments as public art".
  • Jennifer Momsen, a Ph.D. candidate in Jean Marie Hartman’s lab, presented a paper titled “ Land-use legacies in an urban wetland.” Co-authors were Emily W.B. Southgate and Jean Marie Hartman.


International Workshop on "The Evolution of Sexual Size Dimorphism" at Monte Verita, AsconaSwitzerland, from August 21-26.

  • Henry John-Alder’s  presentation was titled: "Testosterone and sexual growth divergence in lizards: implications for sexual size dimorphism" (Authors: Henry John-Alder, Robert Cox, and Stephanie Skelly
  • Robert Cox, who defended his Ph.D. in August, presented a paper titled: "Energetic costs of reproduction and the evolution of sexual size dimorphism" (Authors: Robert Cox and Henry John-Alder)


Joan Ehrenfeld gave a presentation titled “Exotic Invasions In Deciduous Forests: Can Managing Soil Help?” at a conference held at the University of Pennsylvania entitled “Invasive Plants: perspectives, prescriptions and partnerships”


On Sept. 19, Jason Grabosky gave a presentation to the New Jersey Society of Certified Tree Experts on  “The impacts of subordination and reduction pruning cuts on tree species with variable compartmentalization response capabilities.”


Teresa Johnson, a Ph.D. candidate in Bonnie McCay’s lab, gave a presentation titled "Cooperative Research: Integrating Fishermen's Knowledge in the Science Policy Process" (co-authored with Bonnie McCay) on September 13th - as part of a panel at the Partnerships for a Common Purpose: Cooperative Fisheries Research and Management Symposium at the American Fisheries Society 135th Annual Meeting in Anchorage, Alaska.


Julie Lockwood presented a talk titled "The role of propagule pressure in explaining invasion success" for the Biology Colloquium at Rutgers Newark


Thomas Virzi, a Julie Lockwood Ph.D student, will be attending the Annual Conference of the International Wader Study Group from October 6-10 at the Knockadoon Head Field Center in County Cork, Ireland.  I am doing a presentation titled "American Oystercatchers Breeding in New Jersey: Evidence of a Habitat Shift in Response to Human Disturbance on Coastal Barrier Beaches."


Tom Virzi  also presented a paper at the Annual Meeting of the Mordecai Land Trust entitled "Oystercatchers and Mordecai Island: Why Mordecai Matters" on August 28th.


Ming Xu attended meetings in China this August and gave the following presentations:

  • Ming Xu, Binhui Liu, Mark Henderson and Ye Qi. Precipitation change in China from 1960 to 2000, International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, Beijing, China, Aug. 2-11, 2005.
  • Xu, M. Climate change and carbon cycle in China's terrestrial ecosystems, Association of Chinese Geographers, Beijing, China, Aug. 16-18, 2005.




Ehrenfeld, J. G., B. Ravit and K. Elgersma.* 2005. Feedback in the Plant-Soil System. Annual Review of Environment and Resources. 30:7.1–7.41 (published on-line, hard copy to follow soon)


Ehrenfeld, J.G. 2005. Vegetation of forested wetlands in urban and suburban landscapes in New Jersey. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society.  132(2):262-279.


MacDonald-Beyers, K.,** and R. F. Labisky, 2005.  Influence of flood waters on survival, reproduction, and habitat use of white-tailed deer in the Florida Everglades.  Wetlands 25(3).


Bunkei Matsushita, Ming Xu, and Takehiko Fukushima, Characterizing the Changes in Landscape Structure in the Lake Kasumigaura Basin, Japan Using a High-quality GIS Dataset, Landscape and Urban Planning, (in press).


*Kenneth is a Ph.D. student in the Joan Ehrenfeld lab.


**Kristi is Ph.D. candidate in David Ehrenfeld’s lab.



     Faculty Achievements and Activities:


Julie Lockwood has been named Chair of the Nominations Committee for the New Jersey Wildlife Society.




Michael Sukhdeo and Tavis Anderson* in collaboration with others from Rutgers were successful in their application for a grant from the Rutgers Equine Science Center  of  $10,000. The grant is titled "West Nile Virus: predicting mosquito emergence and disease risk using habitat characteristics" The collaborators are Lisa Reed, Scott Crans, and Robert B. Kent.


Ming Xu is a collaborator on funding received from NASA ($600,000.  for 2005-2008) to the study the “Effects Of Land Use Change On The Energy And Water Balance Of The Semi-Arid Region Of Inner Mongolia.”


* Tavis is a Ph.D. student in the Michael Sukhdeo lab.


Advisory Panels:


Julie Lockwood was appointed to the Cook College Dean's ad hoc committee related to Transforming Undergraduate Education initiative.      


Student Awards, Achievements, and Activities:


Celine Santiago Bass, a Ph.D. candidate in Judy Weis’ lab, received a Rutgers University Marine Field Station Graduate Research Grant of $400.00 to support her thesis research.


The  New Jersey Arborists/ International Society of Arboriculture Executive Board has selected Greg Dahle, a Ph.D. student in Jason Grabosky’s lab, as the 2005 recipient of the Chapter’s Award for Arboricultural Research. This award is given to recognize scientific research that has contributed valuable and practical information to arboriculture and urban forestry in New Jersey

Awards will be presented at the NJAISA 68th Annual Awards Banquet & Dinner Dance on Friday, September 30. 


David LaPuma, a Julie Lockwood Ph.D. student, led an early morning bird watching tour at Hutcheson Memorial Forest on Sept. 10th.  The Hutcheson Memorial Forest (HMF) is a unique area consisting of one of the last uncut forests in the Mid-Atlantic States, along with the surrounding lands devoted to protection of the old forest and research into ecological interactions necessary to understand the forest. The tract is administered and protected by Rutgers University. It is apparently the only uncut upland forest in the Piedmont of New Jersey, and appears on the National Park Service Register of Natural Landmarks.

David has also organized a tour schedule for HMF the coming fall and spring semesters. It can be found at


David Moskowitz, a Ph.D. student in Michael May’s lab, has been appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Association of NJ Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) for a three year term. 


Thomas Virzi, a Ph.D. student in Julie Lockwood’s lab, spoke to a group of environmental educators at the Sedge Island Natural Resource Education Center in New Jersey in September.  His presentation was titled  "The Effect of Recreation Activity on the Breeding Birds of the Sedge Island Marine Conservation Zone."




Joseph Dunsay, advisor Edwin Green, successfully completed his Master’s degree on September 7, 2005.  Joe will be teaching science and mathematics to high school students.


Amy Long, advisor Steven Handel, successfully completed her Master’s degree on September 14, 2005. Amy is currently employed at the Duke Marine Laboratory, where she is managing an international project on By-Catch in Marine Fisheries that is directed by Dr. Larry Crowder.




Elizabeth A. Johnson, (M.S., 1992)  manager of the Metropolitan Biodiversity Program of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History and  Michael W.  Klemens, a senior conservationist at the Wildlife Conservation Society and director of its Metropolitan Conservation Alliance have edited and published   Nature in Fragments, The Legacy of Sprawl from Columbia University Press.




The August 2005 newsletter reported that Frank Gallagher had accepted a position as the Important Bird and Birding Areas Coordinator position with NJ Audubon Society and had given a presentation at the Ecological Society of America.

In both instances the individual named should have been Cristina Frank, and not Frank Gallagher. Our apologies to both of you!