EEB graduate news
Records 31 to 40 of 89
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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Wason interviews local poet and UMBS teacher on WCBN-FM today
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Wason is a deejay, sound engineer and former general manager at the student-run radio station WCBN-FM. Taylor taught an environmental writing course at the U-M Biological Station for seven years. He coordinates the undergraduate creative writing program in the Department of English at the University of Michigan.
The show will be streamable on Wason’s blog, Break Your Radio with the Liz, in the near future.
“On the show, we'll talk about Keith's book of poems called ‘Marginalia for a Natural History’ (containing poems dedicated to many professors teaching courses at the Biostation, including Phil Myers), the poetic inspiration of nature up at the Biostation, and ghost stories set in Michigan. Keith is a writer, so he's a natural raconteur; he's also passionate about science and nature, which is evident in his enthusiasm.”
WCBN is the University of Michigan student-run community freeform radio station in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Jackson to begin postdoc with Rohani
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Recent Ph.D. graduate Doug Jackson will be sticking around the University of Michigan in EEB for now; he begins a postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Professor Pej Rohani in August 2012. Jackson will be working on the modeling of pertussis (whooping cough), which has recently been making an unwelcome comeback.
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A bunch of WISE-GISE, or rather, wise gals
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
The U-M Women in Science and Engineering – Girls in Science and Engineering (WISE-GISE) runs a weeklong summer camp for 7th and 8th grade girls to encourage the participation of women in these fields. For the second year, Professor Annette Ostling and recent doctoral graduate, Susanna Messinger, worked with a small group of students from June 18 – 22 as part of an ecology focus group.
The girls explored and took part in hands-on field, lab, and computer activities in the Ostling lab, at the Museum of Zoology, on the Diag, and at the Nichols Arboretum.
“The focus group emphasized not only the power of ecological science to provide insight into the fascinating intricacies of nature, but also its importance for solving environmental problems, and the key role mathematics and computers increasingly play in ecology,” said Ostling, whose funding from the National Science Foundation's Advancing Theory in Biology program helped support the focus group.
"The camp seemed to be a success again,” Ostling said. “When we played the Darwin's Finch game, they didn't want to stop. They wanted to see who could pick up the most seeds with their tool and prove they were the best-adapted finch. When we did the ‘Niche Wars’ computer simulation (provided by Simbio) to learn about competition, they had a blast at the end trying to invent a 'super-species' rabbit. When we were at the Arb, they very excitedly found all kinds of things for us to identify. One of the highlights was a wolf spider. They loved the museum and lab tours. They asked tons of questions about our insect collection, and were amazed to find out that a snail could kill a person! They clearly left the camp excited about ecology and gave us all hugs and said thanks for a fun week.
“One of our key goals was to instill an appreciation of mathematics and computer simulations of mathematical models as incredibly useful tools in ecology and all sciences,” said Ostling. “Although women are increasingly better represented in ecology, they remain underrepresented in mathematical ecology. Studies show girls lose interest in mathematics around middle school. Our hope was to reverse this trend for these girls by explaining how mathematics has been instrumental in understanding ecological phenomena.”
Ostling lab graduate students Gyuri Barabas and Rafael D'Andrea helped run the camp. Mark O'Brien, collections manager of the Insect Division, Raymond Barbehenn, research scientist, and EEB graduate student Dan Chang provided tours of labs and museum collections. Recent doctoral graduate, Michael Sheehan, and EEB graduate students Brian Dorsey, Rachel Cable, and John Marino provided insights in the field. Former postdoctoral fellow, Jeff Lake, who is an assistant professor at Adrian College, discussed plant adaptations and led students on a guided "tree walk" on the Diag. Other WISE-GISE focus groups included chemistry, gaming for girls, engineering, human genetics and physics.
See the students jumping for the joy of science below!
Captions: from top: “Tree walk" on the Diag where a highlight was looking for the differences between sun and shade leaves on a Maple tree.
Preparing an experiment in the Ostling lab to see what temperature and pH baker's yeast is adapted to.
Trying to catch a butterfly for a closer look at the Nichols Arboretum.
Pictured from left to right: Maya Bieszki (Homeschool and Little Lake Learning Community, Ann Arbor), Droma Xiang Qiu Zhima (Whitmore Lake Middle School, Whitmore Lake), Rachel Bakewell (West Middle School, Plymouth-Canton), Grace Norris (Farms Intermediate School, Hartland), Kristen Hayden (Clague Middle School, Ann Arbor), Isra Elshafei (Central Academy, Ann Arbor).
Photo credits: Susanna Messinger
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Barabas wins Edwin H. Edwards Scholarship
Thursday, June 14, 2012
EEB graduate student Gyuri Barabas has been awarded the 2012 Edwin H. Edwards Scholarship in Biology.
Barabas’ research is aimed at uncovering the determinants of community robustness in a complicated world. “’Robustness’" in this context means the ability of communities to withstand changes in external conditions, due to climate change, for example, without extinctions happening,” Barabas said. “Conditions for the robust coexistence of unstructured populations in a constant environment has been known for a long time. The goal of the research is to extend these results to structured populations and/or fluctuating environments, yielding a unified framework in which, given data and a model of the community, conditions for robust coexistence can be determined.” Barabas’ advisor is Professor Annette Ostling.
The scholarship for graduate students studying biology is in memory of Edwards, who received his bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Michigan in 1892. The recipient is selected based on the novelty and scholarship of the proposed research; the clarity, merit, and appropriate scope and feasibility of the research plan; progress in the program including prior research results; and a letter of recommendation.
The award is for one semester during the 2012 – 2013 academic year, including stipend, tuition, and GradCare benefits. This fellowship is given via a generous bequest of Julia A. Edwards for use in the recruitment of new doctoral students studying biology and to support current students whose distinguished performance is considered worthy of special recognition. Edwards received his B.S. in biology in 1892.
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Vanette's postdoc at Stanford extended with LSRF fellowship
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Recent graduate Rachel Vannette received a fellowship through The Life Sciences Research Foundation, funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, to continue her Stanford postdoctoral fellowship for three more years. She began the postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford with Dr. Tadashi Fukami in August 2011.
Vannette will continue her research on nectar yeast community assembly, nectar chemistry, and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. “We are studying communities of yeast and bacteria in the nectar of flowers,” she said. “These yeast and bacteria are often dispersed by pollinators, and some of these microbes can reduce plant fitness either directly or indirectly through changes in nectar chemistry and subsequent pollinator visitation. Flowers produce many antibacterial compounds that can reduce microbial growth, but a specialized group of microbes can cope with these defenses. So far, I've been examining how bacteria and yeast affect nectar chemistry. In the upcoming year, I'll be characterizing the composition of yeast species among flowers with different nectar defenses and assessing how these defenses structure yeast community composition and also their effects on pollination and plant fitness.”
"We think there could be profound implications of this research for understanding variation in plant-pollinator interactions," Vannette said. "Other aspects of this research will seek to understand if trade-offs in toxin resistance maintain diversity and structure in natural microbial communities."
Vannette's advisor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan was Professor Mark Hunter.
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Records 31 to 40 of 89