Records 101 to 110 of 296
New UMMZ publication, "Fishes of the Greater Mekong Ecosystem," announced
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
A new publication, “Fishes of the Greater Mekong Ecosystem,” by a University of Michigan alumnus and coauthors is now available through the U-M Museum of Zoology.
“Many of the specimens depicted in the publication were sampled and curated with the help of Museum of Zoology Fish Division personnel and are now in the UMMZ collection,” said Professor Diarmaid Ó Foighil, director and curator of the UMMZ.
All 2,541 species of fishes known to occur within the Greater Mekong Ecosystem of Southeast Asia are listed and illustrated and there is an overview of basin geology and biogeography. The illustrations are vouchers for the species listed and can help with the identification of any species encountered in the basin, whether from fisherman’s net or market. The target audience includes biologists across multiple disciplines including systematics, taxonomy, ecology, biogeography, conservation and fisheries.
Although the size of its basin is smaller, the Mekong’s freshwater fish diversity approaches estimates for the Amazon or the Congo. That diversity supports significant fisheries, but is now seriously threatened by industrialization, especially dam construction. By providing the first comprehensive reference of the Mekong’s rich ichthyofauna, this publication may facilitate rational conservation planning for one of the planet’s great river biotas.
The journal, Miscellaneous Publications Museum of Zoology University of Michigan, is edited by Professor Emeritus J.B. Burch. Rainboth is currently associate professor of biology in the Department of Biology/Microbiology, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
New Frontiers students get feet wet at U-M BioStation
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
The new Frontiers Master’s students got their feet wet engaged in various research projects this summer in northern Michigan at the U-M Biological Station.
The new students, their former institution, and summer research projects follow:
Clarisse Betancourt, University of Puerto Rico, compared the flow of nitrogen from soils to hyphae of fungi to roots and foliage of oak trees in early and accelerated succession (FASET) forest plots based on samples collected from past field seasons following an introduction of nitrogen enriched fertilizer in 2010.
Omar Bonilla, Metropolitan University, Puerto Rico, brought his enthusiasm for ornithology to the UMBS and found that sapsuckers are able to identify areas of trees that have accumulated sap within them.
Buck Castillo, University of Michigan, compared fungi-root associations of three hardwood tree species (northern red oak, white pine and red maple) within an early successional forest and the accelerated succession forest in the FASET plot.
Naim Edwards, Morehouse College, just finished working with the Peace Corps in Ecuador. This summer, he investigated patterns of variation in the composition of ant communities in areas with different levels of wood debris.
Lizette Ramirez, University of Michigan, investigated patterns of variation in morphology and coloration of pitcher plants to determine their responses to variation in sunlight and nutrient availability.
"I spent the summer at the UMBS getting better acquainted with the new Frontiers students and holding a weekly reading group with them to help get them familiar with the expectations and characteristics of EEB as well as the Frontiers program," said Professor Tom Duda, director of the program. "The summer culminated with a special symposium where students presented on the findings from their summer research projects. As I'm sure the other faculty and students of UMBS who attended can attest, the presentations were fantastic; the students certainly demonstrated their enthusiasm for research and what they were able to accomplish over the summer was impressive!"
UMBS faculty who worked with the students include: Professor Knute Nadelhoffer and Luke Nave, assistant research scientist, U-M; Dr. Brian Scholtens, the College of Charleston; Dr. Jordan Price, St. Mary's College, Maryland; and Dr. David Karowe, Western Michigan University.Over the summer, the Frontiers students took a natural history course at UMBS, with the exception of Ramirez who took field mammology. This is the fifth Frontiers master's cohort, the program began in 2008.
Captions: Clarisse Betancourt working on a research project during their summer class. Buck Castillo in the field. Naim Edwards and Lizette Ramirez.
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Kling's NSF grant renews for studying microbial diversity and ecosystem function
Monday, September 17, 2012
The National Science Foundation has renewed Professor George Kling’s Long Term Research in Environmental Biology grant for $185,000 over five years.
Kling is collaborating with Byron C. Crump, University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Sciences on the project called “What controls long-term changes in freshwater microbial community composition?”
“Advances in technology and DNA sequencing have revolutionized the study of microorganisms such as bacteria, revealing their genetic identity and ecological potential, and spawning new concepts in microbial biodiversity,” states their abstract. “Microbial communities carry out critical processes that regulate the amounts and forms of important nutrients and carbon, which are essential for all ecosystem services on Earth. Results from the first five years of this research program demonstrate that the biodiversity and activity of these communities varies tremendously among environments and over time.
"Microbial biodiversity and ecosystem functions are controlled (1) by local environmental conditions that affect growth, and (2) by dispersal via wind and water; however, the relative importance of these factors is still unknown. This research project will characterize these two fundamental controls on the distribution and activity of microbes in arctic lakes, streams, and soils, and will reveal how seasonal, annual, and long-term shifts in microbial species are affected by climate change. These goals will be achieved with a multi-year study of microbial community composition and growth rate in arctic lakes and streams on the North Slope of Alaska that uses a sampling program designed to document and understand the short-term, long-term, and spatial variability in microbial communities. This research will use the data archive of environmental measurements produced by the Arctic Long Term Ecological Research program (LTER), and will use next-generation DNA sequencing technology to assess microbial community composition and function.
“The complex nature of microbial biodiversity and function is important for understanding human health and disease, and for understanding our warming world,” the abstract continues under the broader impacts section. “Bacteria and other microbes ultimately control the production of the heat-trapping gases carbon dioxide and methane in all ecosystems. In the Arctic, warming temperatures are thawing permafrost and exposing a vast store of previously-frozen organic carbon in soils. If this carbon is released to the atmosphere as heat-trapping gases the rate of climate warming will increase, further thawing the soils and exposing more carbon to microbial attack. The strength of this positive feedback loop is controlled by bacteria, because their respiration converts the soil carbon to carbon dioxide and methane which is then released to the atmosphere.
"Thus the goal of this research project is to measure shifts in microbial biodiversity, bacterial respiration, and ecosystem function associated with the current and dramatic environmental changes in the Arctic. In addition, this project will contribute to teaching and outreach through the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates and Research Experience for Teachers programs, graduate student and postdoctoral scientist training, and collaboration with the Earth Microbiome Project.
Caption: Kuparuk River aufeis on the northern slope of Alaska, one of the research sites. Credit: George Kling.
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M-Bio wraps up second successful summer
Friday, September 14, 2012
“The 2012 cohort of 18 talented and promising first-year students worked hard and accomplished a great deal this summer as they began their participation in the M-Bio Program,” said Claire Sandler, managing director of the M-Bio Program. “For eight weeks, they faced a challenging schedule of classes, study sessions, community meetings and field trips, along with a variety of social and cultural activities. While the demanding summer schedule may have provided them with limited free time, it positioned them very well for what lies ahead at the U-M. I know the 2012 M-Bio Scholars are now really well prepared to thrive academically, personally, and professionally over the next four years - and beyond!”
M-Bio is a two-year program for biology-interested students admitted to U-M. The program begins with an intensive summer residential academic program followed by two years of special programming. The program is designed to strengthen and diversify the cohort of students who will receive their biological sciences degree from U-M.
Following are several comments from an anonymous survey that the students filled out upon completion of the summer program:
“It was a mind-opening and enriching experience. Not only did I get a clear view of what college was like, but I got to meet new people and gain new networks."
“It gave me the opportunity to take classes and earn credit. I also had an opportunity to learn how to approach college classes and professors."
“I met people with the same interests . . . became familiar with campus and had a productive summer."
“I feel that I am fully prepared to tackle the fall semester and the rigors of college.”
The $600,000 NSF grant that is funding scholarships for students in the program is titled “Michigan Biology Academy Scholars." The project is under the direction of Professor Deborah Goldberg, chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Claire Sandler, director, Science Learning Center. Joe Salvatore is assistant director, Science Learning Center and M-Bio Summer Program Coordinator.
The NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) award will support up to 20 scholarship recipients per entering cohort, for a total of up to 80 students over a four-year period.
Read more in EEB news 2011
Group: 18 M-Bio students and three student staff members (staff names are bold): back row: Camera Dockery, Tiffany Anthony, Will Marshall, Ashley Ogwo, Bashar Kazanji; next row: Malika Malik, Michelle Sierant, Dragana Gerasimova, Alison Corace Noel, Emilia Iglesias, Liesl Oeller, Sushmitha Diraviam; next row: Desmond Harden, Carla Cavallin, Ninette Musili, Shanna Cheng, Chris Berger, Brandon Yik, Aminul Islam; front: Rachel Webb, Lydia Green.
In lab: Lydia Green, Chris Berger, Rachel Webb
Studying: Brandon Yik, Aminul Islam, Ninette Musili, Sushmitha Diraviam, Liesl Oeller, Chris Berger
Painting the rock: Tiffany Anthony, Emilia Iglesias, Ninette Musili
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On the U-M Gateway: EEBlog of student's worldwide summer research
Thursday, September 13, 2012
From howler monkeys in Mexico to true grit encounters with cowboys and snails in the wild west, graduate students in ecology and evolutionary biology are posting about their summer research adventures around the world. The EEBlog is the current Connect feature on the University of Michigan Gateway.
EEB’s current bloggers and their summer research locales are Marcella Baiz, Tabasco, Mexico; Katherine Crocker, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Jasmine Crumsey, U-M Biological Station; Jason Dobkowski, Toolik Lake, Alaska; John Guittar, Southern Norway (returning blogger); Hyunmin Han, E.S. George Reserve, Pinckney, Mich.; Alex Moore, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Beatriz Otero Jimenez, Chiapas, Mexico.
A sneak preview of what you’ll read about follows.
Baiz is studying intragroup genetic relatedness among adult female howler monkeys with her advisors, Professor Liz Tibbetts and Liliana Cortés Ortiz.
Moore investigates conservation ecology and biodiversity with Professor Tom Duda. She had an unexpected encounter with a stampede of cows and cowboys as part of her field work in the mountains of Oregon. She climbed waterfalls, slipped on wet rocks and camped out in the Oregon wild knowing of the dangers that lurked beyond her tent: “Coyotes. Rattlesnakes. Mountain lions. For emphasis: MOUNTAN LIONS,” she wrote.
Otero Jimenez studies ecosystem ecology, biodiversity and agriculture with Professors John Vandermeer and Priscilla Tucker. She spent nine weeks this summer on a coffee farm in Mexico exploring the effect of different agricultural practices on the population structure of Heteromys desmarestianus (Demarest's spiny pocket mouse).
Crocker studies chemical communication and behavior in insects in the Tibbetts lab.
Crumsey will blog about her terrestrial ecosystem and biogeochemistry research at the U-M Biological Station in northern Michigan, with Professor Knute Nadelhoffer.
Dobkowski is spending the summer in Toolik Lake, Alaska where he will blog about his Arctic ecosystem research with the lab of George Kling. Dobkowski’s research seeks to understand the fate of newly exposed soluble organic carbon released from thawing permafrost and the potential feedbacks to climate warming.
Guittar is interested in how plant communities change in response to variability in temperature and precipitation. “I will be using a number of above and below ground plant traits, including those relating to clonality, a largely unstudied aspect of community structure,” he said. Guittar’s advisor is Professor Deborah Goldberg.
Han, whose advisor is Professor Earl Werner, studies metadynamics, population biology and ecosystem ecology.
You can visit the EEBlog by clicking on the small orange blogger link at the top of every EEB website page.
Captions: 1. EEBlog screenshot, 2. A cowboy along the wild Oregon trail by Alex Moore, 3. Liliana Cortés Ortiz and Alex Moore collecting samples and taking morphometric data from an adult A. palliata.
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Welcome exceptional new faculty -- fall 2012
Monday, September 10, 2012
EEB is pleased to welcome Meghan Duffy, assistant professor; Alison Davis Rabosky, assistant research scientist; Dan Rabosky, assistant professor and assistant curator, Museum of Zoology; and Lauren Cole Sallan, assistant professor and Michigan Fellow.
Duffy joins U-M EEB from the Georgia Institute of Technology where she was an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. Her research interests are evolutionary ecology, disease ecology, host-parasite interactions and freshwater ecology. She will teach Introductory Biology: Ecology and Evolution this fall. She is seeking undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows for her lab. Duffy was recently honored with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on these professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Read more in EEB news.
Davis Rabosky was a postdoctoral fellow in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests are the evolution of behavior, evolutionary genomics, character evolution and phylogenetics, and herpetology. “Currently, I am using comparative genomics to test hypotheses about color polymorphism and phenotypic evolution within Batesian mimicry systems,” according to Davis Rabosky’s website. “My main study system is the colubrid snake genus Sonora, of which all members have varying levels of color polymorphism and mimicry of venomous coral snakes.” She is looking for a couple of undergraduate student volunteers for her lab.
Rabosky was a Miller Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California Berkeley. He studies macroevolution, speciation, phylogenetic comparative methods, biodiversity theory, evolution and ecology of Australian reptiles, herpetology and paleobiology. This fall Rabosky is teaching Introduction to Computer Programming, a graduate level class that is also open to undergraduates. Beginning next fall, he will teach a class on vertebrate diversity and evolution. Read about his 2012 Theodosius Dobzhansky Prize by the Society for the Study of Evolution in EEB news. He is currently seeking graduate students and postdoctoral fellows for his lab.
Sallan recently received her doctorate degree in integrative biology from the University of Chicago. Her research interests include early vertebrate evolution, macroevolution, paleobiology, paleoecology, ichthyology and systematics. Sallan was one of eight new fellows selected out of 932 applications by The Michigan Society of Fellows to serve three-year appointments as postdoctoral scholars and assistant professors. The fellows were chosen for the importance and quality of their scholarship and for their interest in interdisciplinary work. Sallan is currently seeking undergraduate students for her lab.
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Rackham International Connect Ambassador Crocker
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
There’s nothing like a friendly face when you are a new student abroad. EEB graduate student Katherine Crocker knows this personally. She spent 20 months as a sustainable agriculture Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, Africa before joining the EEB program at U-M in 2011.
“The kindness and understanding of others’ got me through some of the toughest parts of culture shock and adjustment. Because I can never pay it back, I'd like to pay it forward," Crocker said.
Crocker is a volunteer ambassador with the Rackham Graduate School’s International Connect Welcome Program to help give new international students a friendly introduction to U-M and life in Ann Arbor.
"I'm really excited to be able to participate in the I-Connect program as an ambassador because I received so much kindness from others during my international experiences.
"It's fun to be able to talk to people from other countries about their families, their experiences, and traditions. Learning about other cultures is exciting, but it's also a wonderful way of discovering the similarities we share, no matter what our background or country of origin."
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On the U-M Gateway: Climate change could increase levels of avian influenza in wild birds
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Rising sea levels, melting glaciers, more intense rainstorms and more frequent heat waves are among the planetary woes that may come to mind when climate change is mentioned. Now, two University of Michigan researchers say an increased risk of avian influenza transmission in wild birds can be added to the list.
Population ecologists Pejman Rohani and Victoria Brown used a mathematical model to explore the consequences of altered interactions between an important species of migratory shorebird and horseshoe crabs at Delaware Bay as a result of climate change.
They found that climate change could upset the carefully choreographed interactions between ruddy turnstone shorebirds and the horseshoe crabs that provide the bulk of their food during the birds' annual stopover at Delaware Bay, a major estuary of the Delaware River bordered by New Jersey to the north and Delaware to the south.
Climate change-caused disruptions to the well-timed interplay between the birds and crabs could lead to an increase in the avian influenza infection rate among ruddy turnstones and resident ducks of Delaware Bay, the researchers found. Because Delaware Bay is a crossroads for many bird species traveling between continents, an increase in the avian infection rate there could conceivably help spread novel subtypes of the influenza virus among North American wild bird populations, according to Rohani and Brown.
Their findings were published online Aug. 29 in the journal Biology Letters.
"We're not suggesting that our findings necessarily indicate an increased risk to human health," said Rohani, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, a professor of complex systems and a professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health.
"But every single pandemic influenza virus that has been studied has included gene segments from avian influenza viruses. So from that perspective, understanding avian influenza transmission in its natural reservoir is, in itself, very important."
In this article:
Brown, Vicki; Rohani, Pej
I know what you did this summer: slideshow of "bug camp" on LSA home page
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Since 1909, students and faculty have headed up to LSA’s Biological Station for both coursework and field research. Often affectionately called “bug camp” by visitors, the Bio-station sits among 10,000 contiguous acres in Pellston, Michigan. Take a glimpse at what students studying ethnobotany did this summer—from cooking up cattail stems to making baskets out of bark. Several EEB students are included: Anna Arias, graduate student and undergraduate EEB concentrators Tatia Bauer and Hunter Stier.
Currently featured on the U-M LSA home page.
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Kondrashov's Nature News & Views gets media attention
Monday, August 27, 2012
Professor Alex Kondrashov wrote a News & Views in the journal Nature titled “Genetics: The rate of human mutation,” about an article in the August 22, 2012 issue that suggests a link between an increasing number of older fathers and the rise in disorders such as autism.
The article, “Rate of de novo mutations and the importance of father’s age to disease risk,” was a comprehensive analysis of human spontaneous mutation that revealed a strong influence of paternal age on the rise in disorders.
As a result, Kondrashov was interviewed by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Economist and several television networks about the study. While not currently working on this subject, in 2003 he published a paper in the journal Human Mutation, based on Mendelian human diseases which produced essentially the same estimates for the four key parameters of spontaneous nucleotide substitution as the new large-scale study.
“This new study is important because the data were obtained by direct mother-father-offspring genome sequence comparison -- which can hardly be wrong,” said Kondrashov.
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Records 101 to 110 of 296