Records 161 to 170 of 294
Austin attends national Red Cross training in D.C.
Thursday, May 03, 2012
Dale Austin, EEB’s photographer, spent April 22 – 27, 2012 at the American Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. attending the Emergency Program Management Institute.
“It was a week of long days being briefed on policy initiatives, technology advances, and team building exercise,” Austin said. “Networking with peers from the United States, Virgin Islands, and Guam as well as meeting legends in the field of disaster response and touring the Disaster Operations Center rounded out a week of personal professional development. Skills and connections made this week will advance the local chapter's capacity for preparedness and response.”
Alumnus creates scholarship endowment
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Sophia Holley Ellis (B.A. Biology and German 1949, M.S. Botany 1950, M.A. German 1964) retired in June 2006 after 56 years as a biology and German teacher in the Detroit Public Schools. Over the years, she has privately funded several students’ college education. Now, through a $25,000 gift creating the Sophia Holley Ellis Scholarship endowment, Ellis will extend her support to students with financial need in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts – with priority given to students from the Detroit Public Schools. The scholarship was established in June 2009 with the first one awarded during academic year 2011-2012.
“The University is the reason I am,” said Ellis. “When I came to campus I had never used a telephone, never seen a movie or been to a restaurant. As a young black girl, if it hadn’t been for the U-M, I wouldn’t have had the chance to do so many things. I hope this scholarship will bring kids like me to Michigan—students who are smart but just wouldn’t have the money to come to our great school otherwise—the kids who are dreamers.”
Antoyrie Green, the first student to receive the Ellis Scholarship said that this award meant so much to her for two reasons: “how much of burden it took off of my parents when I received the scholarship” and “how inspirational Sophia and her story are.”
“I love to compare Sophia and her scholarship to a ram in the bush,” referring to a bible verse. “I didn't know how I was going to get the last bit of money to pay for school, but God blessed me with that scholarship and I will be forever thankful!
“As a black woman on the campus of the University of Michigan, I am inspired to hear stories like Sophia's. Stories of black women who came before me, defied all the odds, and pursued (and reached) their dreams only push me to do the same.
“As for my future, I plan on becoming a clinical psychologist for children, hopefully in Detroit. After learning about Sophia and her career as a teacher in Detroit, I can only image the huge impact she has had on her students. I hope that I am able to impact the life of someone half as much as she did and that one day, my story will inspire someone just as her story has inspired me!”
Read Ellis' full alumnus feature on EEB's alumni news page, the EEB buzz.
Caption: Sophia Holley Ellis and Antoyrie Green
Hendry's postdoc at University of Arizona
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Recent graduate Dr. Tory Hendry begins a postdoctoral fellowship in July 2012 with Dr. David Baltrus, an assistant professor in The School of Plant Sciences at the University of Arizona. Baltrus’ lab works on the evolution of host range in Pseudomonas syringae, a bacterial plant pathogen. “I'll be using comparative genomic analyses to look at how P. syringae evolves to different plant species,” said Hendry. “I am also interested in investigating the role of insects in dispersing P. syringae between plants.
“Pseudomonas is a fairly important plant pathogen, so understanding how it travels around is useful for agriculture. Understanding how pathogens adapt to new hosts is also important for the study of emerging diseases. Both of these points are especially true now, when increased globalization has the potential to move pathogens around more and climate change is predicted to expand the natural geographic ranges of many plant and insect species.” Hendry's advisor was Professor Paul Dunlap.
In this article:
Dunlap, Paul; Hendry, Tory
Reznicek honored with Michigan Botanical Club Lifetime Achievement Award
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
In recognition of Dr. Tony Reznicek’s countless contributions to the understanding of Michigan plants and ecology and the Great Lakes Region, the Michigan Botanical Club has bestowed their Lifetime Achievement Award upon him.
Prompted partly by the release of the updated Field Manual of Michigan Flora, the award further recognizes Reznicek’s many other scientific contributions. Reznicek is a research scientist and the curator of vascular plants at the University of Michigan Herbarium. His local chapter contributions provide an MBC context and a starting point for his broader scope and scientific contributions, which is what this award is about.
Reznicek’s very visible and countless less visible contributions to the MBC and the Huron Valley Chapter have spanned several decades. In recognition of those contributions, he received the Distinguished Service Award in 1990 and he continues those efforts.
That award honored Reznicek’s diverse services to conservation and public botanical education at the local and regional levels, too diverse and numerous to list. “His contributions are usually low-profile, and I know of them only because I have often been directly involved,” said Larry Noodén, president, Huron Valley Chapter, Michigan Botanical Club and professor emeritus, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, U-M. “Locally, he has served on the advisory boards for natural areas acquisition for Washtenaw County and Ann Arbor Parks, and he has helped all of the local conservancies in various ways. Regionally, Tony was a key player in opposing environmentally destructive plans by the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority (HCMA) park system, and he worked constructively to help them to understand and value their natural area holdings.”
Reznicek’s contributions at the state and greater regional levels are recognized by the Lifetime Achievement Award. “Again, his contributions are mostly low-public-profile; however, he is generally acknowledged as the ‘Supreme Court’ on endangered species and plant ecological issues,” said Noodén. “He has served on (and chaired) the Michigan technical advisory committee on threatened and endangered species. He was instrumental in developing the Floristic Quality index and its applications in Michigan, including assignments of coefficients of conservatism for species in our flora. He served on the state board of The Nature Conservancy and in many capacities with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the state Forest Service and the National Forest Service. He has given many training courses for the staff in these agencies.”
Perhaps most significantly for the Lifetime Achievement Award, Reznicek has researched extensively and published numerous papers on plant systematics (especially the sedges) and natural history relating to Michigan and the Great Lakes region, according to Noodén.
“His recent completion of the new version of the Field Manual of Michigan Flora, with some complex nomenclatural changes, represents a career apex.” Michigan Flora is online and the book is available through The University of Michigan Press. “This is an enormous contribution to the field. In addition, Tony has made great contributions to sedge systematics worldwide, particularly in Latin America, and as an editor and one of the main contributors to the Flora North America sedge volume, and he brings this expertise home to Michigan. These efforts help the MBC’s prime mission activities and conservation and ecological activities statewide. He is also a curator in the U-M Herbarium and all these various activities also serve to strengthen the Herbarium.
“Although lifetime achievement connotes late career recognition, we hope this is more like a mid-career recognition and that he will surpass these contributions. Prior recipients Ed Voss, Herb Wagner and Fred Case set the bar very high for this award, but Tony’s achievements have reached this level.”
Voss was professor emeritus of U-M EEB and curator emeritus of vascular plants at the University Herbarium. Wagner was professor emeritus of U-M EEB and Case received his undergraduate and master’s degrees (botany) from U-M and was a research associate at the U-M Herbarium and Matthaei Botanical Gardens.
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Detroit high school students BioBlitz the Nichols Arboretum
Monday, April 30, 2012
At the top of the day’s agenda was identifying and documenting wild flowers, insects, fungi, trees, birds and mammals.
On April 20, 2012 a group of volunteers from the University of Michigan’s Ecological Society of America’s SEEDS chapter and 40 students from Detroit’s Western International High School participated in the 2012 National Coordinated Chapter BioBlitz at the U-M Nichols Arboretum.
Coordinated by chapter leaders of ESA’s Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity, and Sustainability (SEEDS) program, the event aims to increase awareness of local biodiversity, the importance of environmental stewardship of wildlife and natural areas, and exposure to career opportunities.
EEB graduate student Beatriz Otero Jimenez was one of the main coordinators of the event that was part of the national BioBlitz, a rapid biodiversity assessment occurring on college campuses in 2012. The purpose of these events is to promote local ecological knowledge and increase participation of underrepresented groups in ecological education. Students conducted surveys of wildlife present in the Arboretum with help from volunteers from the U-M community including faculty, Arboretum employees, undergraduate and graduate students. Otero Jimenez worked with co-coordinator, Tiffany Carey, a biology undergraduate student. Other EEB volunteers included: Aaron Iverson, Claire Malley (an undergraduate biology major with an EEB concentration), Theresa Ong, Lillian Smith, Iman Sylvain and William Webb.
The mission of the SEEDS program is to diversify and advance the ecology profession through opportunities that stimulate and nurture the interest of underrepresented students to not only participate in ecology, but to lead. Focused mainly at the undergraduate level, with extension services for communities, high schools, graduate students, and international collaborations, the SEEDS program promotes an ecology profession with wide representation to ensure environmental understanding and a sustainable future for all.
Captions (from top): Students birdwatching.
EEB graduate student Aaron Iverson working with students.
A walk through the Nichols Arboretum.
EEB graduate student Iman Sylvain working with a student.
EEB graduate students Beatriz Otero Jimenez and Iman Sylvain.
Photo and caption in Record Update, April 23, 2012
Photo feature on the U-M Gateway
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"One-of-a-kind": Early Career Scientists Symposium 2012 on biodiversity informatics
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The eighth annual Early Career Scientists Symposium on biodiversity informatics was “one-of-a-kind” according to keynote speaker Robert Guralnick, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, University of Colorado Boulder.
“The focus on early career scientists is a great one, and it gives a particular window into not just up-and-coming people but also cutting edge techniques and where novel research agendas are developing,” Guralnick said. “For example, I really liked Morgan Tingley's talk about the intersection between species distribution modeling and occupancy modeling. Those areas are very worth exploring. Also, biodiversity informatics is an ‘emerging’ field and so the symposium helps to show directions and get young scientists in the audience to consider where this field sits in relation to their interests and abilities.
“This event is one-of-a-kind and what I liked most was a mix of being well-run but also somewhat relaxed and very collaborative. I had a great time and felt so honored to be involved.”
The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan presented eight outstanding scientists early in their careers as part of an international symposium on biodiversity informatics and its application to research in ecology and evolutionary biology. ECSS was held at Palmer Commons on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, March 25, 2012. The presenters pursue cutting-edge approaches to biodiversity sciences that integrate and/or synthesize informatics resources, including genomic/genetic, phylogenetic, morphological, geographic, and ecological datasets and those who are leveraging information from natural history collections.
"The early career scientists symposia provide overviews of emerging research topics in ecology and evolutionary biology from the perspective of accomplished graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty,” said Professor Christopher Dick, chair of the ECSS 2012 planning committee. The 2012 symposium provided the EEB department a chance to explore research directions that will likely impact U-M’s extensive natural history collections, according to Dick. “Another advantage of the symposium is that it gives us a chance to meet our future colleagues. In fact, we met two of our present faculty members in the 2004 and 2007 ECSS meetings.”
Some common themes identified by Guralnick were: 1) All symposium participants work with legacy data sources, whether field notebooks or records stored in natural history collections. 2) We are building exciting new ways to share these legacy sources of information in repositories built around community standards that support interoperability. 3) We are beginning to be able to use such sources of data for examining global-scale patterns. Developing these broad-scale views requires new modeling techniques. 4) These approaches are very integrative and can incorporate phylogenetic histories and the paleontological record.
“We saw some great ecological modeling talks that use biodiversity data that have been made available via development of publishing platforms and technologies to scale the way we deliver data,” said Guralnick. In his opinion, the future of biodiversity informatics is development of repositories for data, information and knowledge, and solutions that work at scale and are cost-effective.
When asked to comment on interesting research that was discussed, Guralnick said, “Where to start! So much of the material presented was great, from the deep time perspectives on turnover to integrating phylogenies into measurements of diversity, to global change work showing changes in community structure or to impacts of warming, through to citizen science approaches for building our knowledge about biodiversity.”
“I was intrigued by some of the research involving ‘citizen scientists,’” said Dick. “For example, Andrew Hill described how the public was employed to transcribe captain's logbooks from the British Royal Navy, which provided detailed data on weather conditions at thousands of precisely mapped oceanic locations from the early 19th Century. Morgan Tingly described how data from birdwatchers is being used to track population dynamics and range expansions. Both speakers detailed the methods that are used to verify and cross-check data generated by the public, and showed the great promise that lies in combining museum collections and efforts of enthusiastic naturalists and historians.”
160 people registered for the event, with more than a fifth from other institutions including Michigan State University, Eastern Michigan University, Texas Tech, University of Illinois, University of Windsor and University of Notre Dame. There was great interest across disciplines with registrants from the School of Information, School of Natural Resources and Environment, Center for the Study of Complex Systems, Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health's Department of Epidemiology, Museum of Zoology, Museum of Paleontology, The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and the Cellular and Molecular Biology Program.
“I was impressed by the numbers of students from EEB and neighboring universities who presented posters during the lunch break,” said Dick. “It was great to touch base with EEB grad students and postdocs and learn about related work in progress in other universities.”
“It was an excellent event and brought together some interesting and talented speakers,” said Professor Mark Hunter, acting chair of EEB. “The symposium was an excellent reminder that, whatever our research interests, biodiversity collections and the information that they generate can play a central role in our work.”
Caption: ECSS 2012 committee (back, left to right): Evan Economo, Stephen Smith, Hayley Lanier, Ya Yang, Christopher Dick, Phil Myers. Speakers (front, left to right): Monica Papeş, Robert Guralnick, Dan F. Rosauer, Lauren Sallan, Jessica L. Blois, Morgan W. Tingley, Ana Carolina Carnaval, Andrew Hill, Zhiheng Wang.
ECSS book raffle
Thanks to the following authors and illustrators who donated a copy of their book for a raffle at the event. Michigan Trees by Burt Barnes and Herb Wagner; Field Manual of Michigan Flora by Edward G. Voss and Anton A. Reznicek; Nature’s Matrix by John Vandermeer, Ivette Perfecto, Angus Lindsay Wright; Thumping on Trees by Richard Alexander, illustrated by John Megahan; Pippa’s First Summer by Catherine Badgley, illustrated by Bonnie Miljour.
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Welcome 2012 master's and Ph.D. cohorts!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
EEB is excited to announce the 2012 Ph.D. and master’s student cohorts. There are eight doctoral students and eight master’s students joining EEB in the fall.
"The three graduate programs in EEB (doctoral, traditional master’s, Frontiers master’s) are absolutely fundamental to the mission of the department," said Mark Hunter, Henry A. Gleason Collegiate Professor and acting chair of EEB. "It's wonderful to see a new cohort of students of such high quality joining the department. It's through students like these that EEB is able to maintain excellence in research, teaching and outreach."
Joining the Ph.D. program this fall are (list includes name, advisor, previous institution, research interest): Cindy Bick, Professor Diarmaid Ó Foighil, Frontiers master’s student, University of Michigan (EEB), molecular evolution, adaptive phenotypes; Dylan Grippi, Professor Meghan Duffy, Georgia Institute of Technology, disease ecology and evolution; Pamela Martinez Vargas, Professor Mercedes Pascual, Universidad Chile, phylodynamics of pathogens; Celia Miller, Professors Brad Cardinale and Mark Hunter, University of Alaska Fairbanks, niche conservatism, invasive species, dispersal evolution; Marian Schmidt, Professor Vincent Denef, Hampshire College, microbial communities and their evolution; Jeff Shi, Professors Catherine Badgley and Dan Rabosky, Duke University, broad-scale patterns of diversification, interspecific and ecological interactions; Andrew Strayer, Professors Aaron King and Mercedes Pascual, University of Chicago, population dynamics; Pascal Title, Professor Dan Rabosky, San Diego State University, niche modeling, spatial analysis, diversification parameters in different climate zones, herpetology.
The Frontiers master’s cohort includes: Clarisse Betancourt, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, climatic change, global warming, application of remote sensing and GIS for resource management; Omar Bonilla, Universidad Metropolitana, bird-plant ecology, biodiversity; Buck Castillo, University of Michigan, terrestrial ecology, root dynamics of a temperate forest ecosystem; Naim Edwards, Morehouse College, dynamics of biodiversity in farming systems; Lizette Ramirez, University of Michigan, invertebrate biodiversity in the Neotropics. Advisors are to be determined.
The traditional master’s cohort includes: Kevin Bakker, Professor Pej Rohani, Michigan State University, disease ecology, population ecology, mathematical modeling; Lisa Walsh, Professor Priscilla Tucker, Birmingham Southern College, genetic viability of critical species, assessing the biodiversity and health of the ecosystem; Benjamin Miller, Professor George Kling, Bowdoin College, biogeochemical research in the Arctic.
Image: Fox kit taken in Alaska by current graduate student Jason Dobkowski.
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On the U-M Gateway: King and Rohani awarded $1.7 million to help solve riddle of resurgent whooping cough
Friday, April 20, 2012
Professors Aaron King and Pej Rohani have been awarded a $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for a five-year study that will try to explain the changing patterns of whooping cough outbreaks, using records from several countries spanning more than 70 years.
Thanks to widespread childhood vaccination, whooping cough (pertussis) once seemed to be under control. But the bacterial illness, which in infants causes violent, gasping coughing spells, has made a comeback in the United States and some other developed countries since the 1980s. In addition, there's been a shift in who's getting sick, with fewer cases seen in preschool children and more in teenagers.
Unlike a conventional epidemiological investigation of a disease outbreak, the new U-M study will rely heavily on the use of long-term incidence reports, mathematical models of pertussis transmission and statistical methods for extracting information from data. Records from recent and historical outbreaks in several countries – including England, Wales, Sweden, Denmark, Senegal and the United States – will be analyzed.
New insights provided by the study could, for example, lead to recommendations about revising the pertussis immunization schedule for children or the design of optimal adult/adolescent boosters, according to Rohani and King.
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Messinger lands Yale postdoc
Thursday, April 19, 2012
EEB recent graduate, Dr. Susanna Messinger, accepted a Gaylord Donnelley Postdoctoral Environmental Fellowship through the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies (YIBS). Four Donnelley Fellowships are awarded each year. It's a two year fellowship that Messinger will begin in July.
Messinger’s sponsor, Dr. David Vasseur, is interested in how environmental fluctuations influence population and community dynamics and more recently has been delving into the realm of eco-evolutionary dynamics.
“I am also going to be collaborating with Dr. Mark Urban at the University of Connecticut who studies the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that shape communities over different spatial scales,” she said. “I will be starting a project to study predator evolution in a spatial context. The idea is that spatial structure can induce eco-evolutionary feedbacks that significantly affect predator evolution and thus will play an important role in population dynamics as well as the structure and stability of complex communities. I will be building up from theory that I developed here as a graduate student and will attempt to test some of this theory using small predators, like protozoans or Daphnia. I'm particularly excited by the prospect of bridging theoretical and experimental data, since this is not often done!”
Messinger’s EEB advisor was Professor Annette Ostling.
In this article:
Messinger, Susanna; Ostling, Annette
Goldberg selected for U-M diversity award
Thursday, April 19, 2012
EEB Professor and Chair Deborah Goldberg was one of seven faculty members who received the 2012 Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award from the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. The recipients were selected for their dedication to developing cultural and ethnic diversity at U-M.
“I am gratified to see these award winners honored for their contributions to diversity at the University of Michigan,” said Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs. “Our commitment to create an excellent, broad-minded, and welcoming community of scholars would be nothing if we didn’t have faculty and staff working toward that goal every day, through their research, teaching, recruitment of students and faculty, and respect for one another.”
Established in 1996, the award is given in honor of Harold Johnson, dean emeritus of the School of Social Work. The award provides $5,000 to recipients to further research and scholarship opportunities.
Goldberg, Elzada U. Clover Collegiate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and chair and professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, was recognized for sustained contributions over 30 years to promoting diversity at U-M and beyond.
Her contributions include support for EEB’s participation in BioKids with Detroit Public Schools’ fifth- and sixth-graders, and M-Bio, which provides programming, support and funding for first and second-year undergraduate students with high potential for success but are inadequately prepared to study college science.
Also cited was her support of the Enhancing Diversity, Quality and Understanding of the Ecological and Evolutionary Science for Tomorrow (ED-QUE2ST) program, in which underrepresented minority students spend summers on independent research projects under a faculty or doctorate student mentor, and her work with the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) promoting third and fourth year undergraduate students research experiences with faculty mentors as they prepare for graduate school.
“In the end, diversity is a major issue in our department and Deborah deserves the credit for putting it there and keeping it there,” wrote John Vandermeer, Asa Gray Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, EEB.
Additionally, Goldberg established a standing departmental committee on diversity, and was instrumental in establishing the Frontiers Master’s Program in EEB, which is designed to attract students from nontraditional backgrounds into biology and prepare them for top-ranked Ph.D. programs. She served as a member of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Women’s Issues at U-M for four years, and during that time, helped promote the issue of parental leave for graduate students who are new parents. Goldberg is a current member of STRIDE, a committee that provides information and advice about practices that will maximize the likelihood that diverse, well-qualified candidates for faculty positions will be identified, and, if selected for offers, recruited, retained, and promoted at U-M.
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Records 161 to 170 of 294