EEB graduate news
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Fall Recruitment Partnership builds bridges to help diversify sciences
Monday, October 29, 2012
Each September, as the promise of a new academic year unfolds, the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology invites high performing students from underrepresented minorities to experience U-M graduate programs.
The Fall Recruitment Partnership gives students an idea of what it’s like to be a graduate student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. The initiative began in 2007, originally supported by a grant from the National Center for Institutional Diversity to Professors John Vandermeer (EEB) and Ivette Perfecto (SNRE). The Rackham Graduate School now funds the program.
“I had the opportunity to participate in the Fall Recruitment Partnership weekend in 2008,” said Naim Edwards, a current EEB Frontiers master’s student. “It was the fall of my senior year, and I had not given much thought to applying to graduate school at that point. I flew to Detroit with two other classmates and we were met at the airport with a warm welcome by a current grad student. Friday's schedule consisted of meetings with current faculty, who shared their work and interests with us, and the rest of the trip was spent at the George Reserve. At the reserve, we got a taste of the field ecology course. This was my foray into graduate school and life as a potential grad school at U of M.
“The experience, honestly, marked a moment where I began to not only consciously consider going to grad school, but it aroused a desire go to graduate school,” Edwards continued. “It felt cool to be in the presence of people who not only appreciate science and nature, but whose lives are dedicated to understanding it better. Long story short, the Fall Recruitment Partnership Weekend made an impression and inspired me to actively pursue a career in science.”
“The basic idea is to develop relationships with colleges and universities that tend to have high enrollments of underrepresented minority students,” said Vandermeer. “Currently we have ongoing relationships with Howard University, Morehouse University, Tuskegee University, University of Missouri at St. Louis, and several campuses of the University of Puerto Rico. Each year we ask our contacts there to provide us with a list of names of high-performing students who we might invite to ‘experience’ EEB and SNRE at U-M. The students visit labs, talk with faculty, graduate students, and admissions staff and participate in the field ecology course at the E.S. George Reserve.
“The field of ecology and evolutionary biology remains embarrassingly monolithic in terms of ethnic and cultural diversity,” Vandermeer said. “Our Fall Recruitment Partnership is intended to try to help solve this critical problem. Several solicitations for our Frontiers Master’s Program and Ph.D. program have emerged from these preview weekends.
We are pleased to announce our September 2012 visitors and their institutions: Dana Brown, University of Missouri; Ambria McDonald, Howard University; Kirk Numa, Morehouse College; Jonathan DeSheilds, Morehouse College; Betsy (Betsabe) Castro Escobar, University of Puerto Rico.
Thanks to the EEB students who hosted visitors overnight: Clarisse Betancourt Román, Cindy Bick, Rafael D’Andrea, Serge Farinas, Beatriz Otero Jimenez. And to students who hosted a meal or provided transportation: Buck Castillo, Katherine Crocker, Naim Edwards, Alex Moore, Senay Yitbarek.
Caption: Buck Castillo (EEB Frontiers master's student), Katherine Crosman (SNRE), Naim Edwards (Frontiers master's student), Dana Brown (University of Minnesota visiting student), Clarisse Betancourt Román (EEB Frontiers master's student) having fun at the E.S. George Reserve.
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Injaian spotlight on Rackham home page
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
When you visit the Rackham Graduate School website, Allison Injaian’s smiling face will be the first thing you’ll see. Injaian, an EEB master’s student, is profiled as part of the Rackham Centennial celebration. She received a Spring/Summer Fellowship for her work on the mechanism behind specialized face learning in paper wasps in the lab of Professor Liz Tibbetts.
Previous EEB web news on Rackham Centennial Spring/Summer Fellowship
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ID Day brings out science sleuths
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Items large and small, living and dead, were carried into the Museum of Natural History by science sleuths seeking to identify their prized possessions during ID Day.
Nearly 400 community members attended the 16th annual event hosted by the Museum of Natural History, October 7, 2012, many of them local school children. A team of 18 knowledgeable U-M Museum of Zoology graduate students, collection managers and curators volunteered their time to identify and describe biological specimens, as well as 15 volunteers from other areas.
A smattering of the 100 or so items brought in included: live oil beetles and a wolf spider, a raccoon skull, white-tailed deer teeth, boa constrictor scales, a dragonfly exoskeleton, glacial cobbles, gold in quartz, partial trilobite, an African necklace made from blobs of yellow tree sap, and even iron arrowheads from approximately 800 B.C. Seeing what shows up is half the fun for everyone!
In addition to bringing in their own objects, participants learned about display specimens provided from each of the UMMZ’s divisional collections: bird, mammal, amphibians and reptiles, fishes, insects and mollusks.
Professor Diarmaid Ó Foighil, curator and director of UMMZ extends his thanks to all UMMZ personnel who helped make ID Day a success: EEB graduate students: Cindy Bick, Samantha Flowers, Alison Gould, Tristan McKnight, Paula Teichholtz, Alexa Unruh (recent graduate); Animal Diversity Web: Tanya Dewey; faculty: Alison Davis Rabosky, Tom Duda, Barry O’Connor, Diarmaid Ó Foighil, Dan Rabosky, Gerald Smith (emeritus); collections staff: Janet Hinshaw, Steve Hinshaw, Taehwan Lee, Mark O’Brien; EEB undergraduate student: Dan Winfield.
O’Brien, collections manager, Insect Division, found it interesting that many little girls spent a lot of time with the insects on display. “We had a dissecting scope set up with a carpenter ant to look at,” he said. “It was really fun hearing the kids look in and go ‘Wow!’ Most had never looked into a microscope before, and who knows what that exposure will lead them to?”
Two young girls and their mother brought in several oil beetles (Cantharidae, Meloe americana) in a plastic cage wanting to know what they were. “When I pointed out that the beetles give off a caustic fluid, one of the girls said, ‘Don't worry, Mom, we used a stick to pick them up.’”
If the science sleuths left with some new information and a story or two to tell, then ID Day was a success.
Captions: top to bottom: 1. Dan Winfield manning the herpetology table. 2. Taehwan Lee at the mollusk table talking to a visitor. 3. Steve and Janet Hinshaw staff the bird table. 4. Dan Winfield and Professor Dan Rabosky keeping things under control with the amphibians and reptiles. 5. Professor Emeritus Gerry Smith educates visitors about fishes. Credit: Mark O'Brien.
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New resource: EEB grad and postdoc opportunities and announcements
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Rather than cramming your email boxes, there is now a regularly updated list of external seminars, events, job postings, and more, relevant to U-M EEB graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
A search function is available. The following headings are used to organize posts: fellowships, lectures and seminars, workshops, postdoc positions, faculty positions, nonacademic positions, and other. Check back often. There is a standing link to the postings from the graduate home page from the blue student announcements button.
If you have an announcement to post or feedback on improving functionality of this new resource, please send it to email@example.com.
On the U-M Gateway: Scientists uncover vast differences in Earth's polar ocean microbial communities
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
An international team of scientists, including EEB graduate student Kevin Bakker, has demonstrated that a clear difference exists between the marine microbial communities in the Southern and Arctic oceans, contributing to a better understanding of the biodiversity of marine life at the poles.
Bakker is a co-author of the PNAS paper. Before joining EEB’s graduate program last month, Bakker conducted molecular and microbial marine science off the coast of Antarctica while working at the University of Georgia.
Watch for an EEB research feature coming soon. Caption: Emperor penguin with the Swedish Icebreaker Oden.Credit: Kevin Bakker.
Now on the U-M Gateway
U-M News Service press release
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Miller awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
Monday, October 08, 2012
Benjamin Miller, an EEB master’s student, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The awards have a long history of recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. He will receive $30,000 a year for three years and an additional $12,000 annually for healthcare and tuition.
"My primary research interests are carbon dioxide and methane dynamics throughout freshwater lakes and hydropower complexes, particularly at the sediment-water interface,” said Miller. “With my advisor, Professor George Kling, I will be working at Lake Toolik, Imnaviat Creek, and other sites on Alaska's North Slope to study the role terrestrially-derived organic matter in carbon dioxide and methane fluxes (important greenhouse gases) within Arctic lakes and streams. Using this and other data that has been collected over the last 25 years at Toolik, we hope to be able to discern how such systems are changing over time, and why. In the future, I would like to use what I learn in Michigan and Alaska to better understand and assess the ways in which a globally expanding and nationally contracting hydropower infrastructure alters carbon and other nutrient cycling within river basins."
The NSF GRF Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in the U.S. and abroad. As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the reputation of the GRFP follows recipients and often helps them become life-long leaders that contribute significantly to both scientific innovation and teaching. Past fellows include numerous Nobel Prize winners.
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EEB-T design contest
Thursday, October 04, 2012
Warm up your right brain and pull out the pencils. This is the 2012 EEB t-shirt design competition. The winning design will become the 2012 EEB-T. The contest is open to all EEB students, faculty and staff. Submit designs as a pdf, Photoshop, or Illustrator file to Alison Gould by November 9 for a chance to win.
You must follow the university guidelines for using logos.
Watch the EEB website to see designs!
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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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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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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Records 21 to 30 of 84