News and Announcements
3/2011 PEEC student Nicole Davros received a 2010 North American Bluebird Society (NABS) Research Grant and a 2010 Sigma Xi GIAR. She also received the WOS/Alexander Wilson Prize for Best Student Presentation at the recent joint meeting of the Association of Field Ornithologists (AFO), Cooper Ornithological Society (COS), and Wilson Ornithological Society (WOS).
Jeff Brawn, Nicole Davros, Corey Tarwater and a few other co-authors recently had a paper published in the Journal of Avian Biology: J.D. Brawn, G. Angehr, N.M. Davros, W.D. Robinson, J.N. Styrsky, and C.E. Tarwater. 2011. Sources of variation in the nesting success of understory tropical birds. Journal of Avian Biology 42:61-68.
8/2010 Recent PEEC graduate John Drake won the Billings Award for 2010 for the best physiological ecology talk at ESA. He gave an oral presentation on “Physiological causes of the age-related decline in pine forest productivity” with co-author Evan H. DeLucia.
5/2010 PEEC student Nicole Davros was awarded an American Ornithologists' Union (AOU) Research Award for her proposal entitled "An integrative approach to testing density effects in a migratory songbird."
10/2009 PEEC student Katie Amato gave a presentation for National Geographic Live! on Thursday, October 29, in Washington, D.C., as part of their "Exploration: The Next Generation" series. The talk highlighted her work with seed dispersal by howler monkeys in Mexico in 2007-2008 as part of the National Geographic Young Explorers Grants.
9/2009 PEEC student Kelly Andersen just defended her PhD successfully, and she has received a Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Postdoctoral fellowship to continue research on interactions between plants and soils in Panama. She will examine the uptake of organic and inorganic chemical forms of nitrogen by plants with different types of mycorrhizal associations. This research will use stable isotope surveys and enrichment experiments to investigate the relative importance of nitrogen uptake pathways and the influence of partitioning of nitrogen chemical forms in structuring plant communities. In addition, she recently had a manuscript entitled 'Soil-based habitat partitioning in understorey palms in lower montane forests' accepted for publication in the Journal of Biogeography.
8/2009 Recent PEEC graduate Mike Carey started a post doctoral position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Laboratory at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, WA. He will be examining the cumulative effect of nonindigenous game fishes on salmonids in the Pacific Northwest. This position is through the National Research Council Research Associateship Program.
8/2009 PEEC has a leadership change. Carla Cáceres is now on board as the new director of the program. We thank Jeff Brawn for his past service in this position. While Jeff is now the department head of NRES, he will continue to be involved in PEEC.
5/2009 Among our recent PEEC graduates, students Anne Readel and Mike Allen are embarking on careers in policy-related venues. Anne has been accepted to the University of Wisconsin Law School and will be pursuing a career in Environmental Law and Policy. Mike received a NOAA Sea Grant Knauss policy fellowship to explore public policy issues in Washington, D.C.
5/2009 Recent PEEC graduate Matthew L. Richardson accepted a postdoctoral research position in the lab of Glen Hartman (USDA/Crop Sciences) at UIUC to investigate the inheritance of genes in the soybean aphid which allow it to feed on soybean plants that are resistant to a common biotype of the aphid.
5/2009 PEEC students Ben Clegg and Corey Tarwater received Dissertation Completion Fellowships from the Graduate College at UIUC. The fellowships will support them as they finish writing their dissertations during the next academic year.
4/2009 PEEC student Brielle Fischman received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This award gives her a $30,000/year stipend for 3 years to work on her research fulltime and lots of other perks.
3/2009 PEEC student Cassandra Allsup and fellow grad student Emily Wheeler had an article published in the "Fresh Perspectives" column of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. They talk about ways to understand and utilize feedback well. Faculty member Dee Eggers contributed the faculty response to the article.
3/2009 Former PEEC student Eli Saetnan has had two papers from her thesis accepted for publication. She examined the effects of grazing on small mammal communities in Norway. Look for her work in Journal of Mammalogy and Journal of Chemical Ecology. She also recently accepted a position as a Teaching Fellow in Animal Behaviour at Aberystwyth University, and she is having a great there so far!
3/2009 PEEC student Matthew L. Richardson had the following article accepted by Science Activities: "Using an exploratory Internet activity and trivia game to teach students about biomes." The publication resulted from curricula Matthew developed for local middle school students while serving as a fellow in the NSF GK-12 program.
2/2009 PEEC student J. Dylan Maddox recently gave his exit seminar and will be defending this semester. He had a publication from his thesis accepted in Ecology last month: "Seasonal sex allocation by common grackles? Revisiting a foundational study." It is currently in press, so look for in the next few months.
1/2009 PEEC students Brielle Fischman and Hollis Woodard spent three weeks of January at the Workshop on Molecular Evolution in the Czech Republic. At the Workshop, they learned about molecular evolutionary research, including how to test for positive selection across a phylogeny. They plan to apply their new knowledge by looking for genes under positive selection in social bees with this technique.
11/2008 Chris Smith, Ph.D. 2008, is the recipient of the 2008 George C. Eickwort Student Research Award, given by the North American Section of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects. The award is designed to recognize "exceptional research and scholarly activity by students in the field of social insect biology." Chris was advised by Andy Suarez.
11/2008 Matthew L. Richardson, a Ph.D. candidate in PEEC, received an Educational Mini-Grant from the Entomological Foundation for "Implementation and evaluation of insect-based curricula in secondary classrooms." The grant will fund part of a teacher workshop at which university scientists will share practical lessons for K-12 classrooms, share strategies for evaluating the efficacy of lessons, and introduce teachers to simple statistics their students can use.
11/2008 PEEC student Brad Cosentino got a publication accepted in Molecular Ecology. He and his collaborators studied the link between salamanders' movements and population-level effects on genetic divergence in plethodontid salamanders. He has worked with the group on salamander dispersal and population genetic structure in New Hampshire since 2003, when Winsor Lowe and Gene Likens were his mentors in a NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates program.
11/2008 PEEC student John Drake had his first first-author paper published in Plant, Cell, and Environment. It explores the respiration of fine roots of trees, a less understood piece of the global climate change puzzle. The research took place partially at Duke's loblolly pine FACE (free-air carbon dioxide enrichment) experiment, and the work was done in collaboration with Paul Stoy (University of Edinburgh), Rob Jackson (Duke University), and John's advisor Evan DeLucia. Here are a few pictures of his field and lab setup.
11/2008 Allison Bormet, a M.S. student in PEEC, got her abstract accepted and even received a travel grant to attend the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology annual meeting in January. She'll be presenting research on the evolutionary rates and patterns of artiodactyl limb reduction.
11/2008 PEEC student Matthew L. Richardson was among the graduate students at the Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Reno, NV. He presented both his dissertation research and education-focused talks in a syposium that he organized.
11/2008 PEEC students Hollis Woodard and Brielle Fischman have been accepted to go to the 2009 Workshop on Molecular Evolution in the Czech Republic. At this prestigious 2-week course, they will participate in lectures, demonstrations, and computer laboratories that cover various aspects of molecular evolution, taught by leaders in the field.
10/2008 Ph.D. candidate Anne Readel has had several publications accepted recently. They relate to her research exploring the effects of habitat alterations on turtle physiology, immunology, and infectious diseases. You can watch current and future issues of Copeia, Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Sciences, Herpetological Conservation and Biology, and Herpetological Review for her work. Click on the thumbnail for a picture of her checking a turtle trap.
10/2008 Corey Tarwater, a Ph.D. candidate in PEEC, has recently had two articles published from her thesis research on neotropical passerine birds--they are in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology and Wilson Journal of Ornithology.
9/2008 Five PEEC students (Claire Baldeck, Matthew Richardson, Brad Cosentino, Sigrid Smith, and Mike Allen) attended a statistics workshop at University of Missouri at St. Louis. The workshop was led by Dr. David Anderson and dealt with making statistical inferences about the relative support for multiple models using AIC and related likelihood techniques. They learned a lot and had a great time meeting graduate students at the host university. They shared notes from their trip at their Ecolunch seminar on 10/23.
Bustamante, a Ph.D. candidate in PEEC, gave a
talk about her recent collaboration with post-doc
Nils Carlsson at the Cary
Institute of Ecosystem Studies,
Millbrook, NY. This summer, Nils and Helen investigated a
phenomenon Helen had seen in the river whereby virtually all adult
zebra mussels disappeared from the freshwater part of the estuary at
the end of summer. They designed a set of exclusion experiments to
investigate predation on zebra mussel populations in the river. The
talk title was "Who's eating Hudson River Zebra Mussels?" and was
geared to a general audience. It was part of the DEC program series at
Tivoli Bays Visitors Center, Watts dePeyster Hall, Tivoli, NY. (Click
on photo for full image of them in the field.)
In addition, Helen was recently awarded a fellowship from the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve for the quality and relevance of her work to river management and her continuing outreach activities.
PEEC student J. Dylan Maddox began a yearlong fellowship teaching in
K-12 schools through UIUC's NSF
GK-12 program. He's spending much of his time
teaching biology classes at St. Joseph-Ogden High School in St. Joseph,
In addition, Dylan has recently had two papers published on his thesis research--they are in Journal of Ornithology and American Naturalist.
Ariane Peralta, a PhD student in PEEC advised
was one of 9 student poster award winners at the 12th International
Society for Microbial Ecology Conference in Cairns, Australia (August
17-22, 2008). Ariane's poster, "A soil, microbial, and plant community
ecology approach to wetland mitigation assessment," summarized results
from a 28-site wetland survey investigating patterns in community
composition among soil microorganisms and plants to potentially enhance
wetland monitoring. This work was performed in collaboration with
Jeff Matthews (INHS) and Anton Endress. Ariane
received Travel Awards from the UIUC
Graduate College and PEEC to support
her summer conference travel. (Click on photo to see her smiling with
8/2008 Many PEEC students shared their research and soaked in the science in conferences in August. Dylan Maddox and Corey Tarwater went to a joint meeting of three ornithology organizations in Portland, and a slew of students (too many to list individually!) went to Ecological Society of America's annual meeting in Milwaukee. Many students were grateful to receive funding from the program to help defray travel costs. Corey received a grant from American Ornithologists' Union for travel.