PhD student Deah Lieurance, advised by Don Cipollini in the Department of Biological Sciences, was awarded a travel grant by Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP). SERDP is the U.S. Department of Defense's (DoD) environmental science and technology program, executed in partnership with DOE and EPA. Deah used the award to present her research at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) in Portland.
Congratulations to Deah!
First year PhD student, Katlin Bowman, who is advised by Chad Hammerschmidt in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, won the outstanding student presentation award at the 2012 Ocean Sciences Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her presentation, entitled “Distribution of mercury across a major ocean basin: Results from the U.S. GEOTRACES North Atlantic Zonal section” was coauthored with Dr. Hammerschmidt and Carl Lamborg of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. An abstract is below. In addition, Katlin was recently awarded a $2500 scholarship from the Great Lakes National Scholarship Program for her Ph.D. studies at Wright State University.
Congratulations to Katlin!
Mercury (Hg) speciation measurements were performed on board the R/V Knorr during the U.S. GEOTRACES North Atlantic Zonal section, a two-part cruise from Lisbon, Portugal to Praia, Cape Verde (2010) and from Woods Hole, Massachusetts to Sao Vicente, Cape Verde (2011). All four principal mercury species (monomethylmercury, dimethylmercury, elemental Hg and total Hg) were determined in high vertical and horizontal resolution through areas of upwelling, high atmospheric dust deposition, low-nutrient concentrations and over a hydrothermal vent field. Preliminary results suggest that in the northeast Atlantic, total Hg has both scavenging and nutrient-type distributions. Elemental Hg, in contrast, has strong nutrient like profiles along the west coast of Africa with deep water concentrations as much as 50% of total Hg. Elemental Hg distribution, however, begins to change moving away from the continent and towards open-ocean water. Monomethylmercury distributions have pronounced mid-water maxima associated with the oxygen minimum zone. Increased levels in the oxygen minimum likely result from either in situ methylation or isopycnal transport from the margin. High-quality speciation results from the international GEOTRACES program are important to understand the global distribution and cycling of Hg.
May 15, 2012
Dr. Chris Poulsen delivered the third annual Wayne Carmichael Lecture in Environmental Sciences to a full house on Tuesday May 15. Dr. Poulsen, a climate scientist from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Michigan, gave a talk entitled “How climate works and what it means for the future”.
Philip Lavretsky, a third year ES PhD student advised by Dr. Jeff Peters in the Department of Biological Sciences, has been selected as the graduate excellence award winner for the ES PhD program for 2012. Phil is studying the evolutionary genetics of Mallard-type ducks. He has vigorously sought and has received funding for his dissertation from Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Ohio Waterfowl Association, and the American Museum of Natural History (totaling $12,500). Phil has ambitiously collected more than 2000 DNA sequences for his research. He established collaboration with Audrey McGowin (Chemistry) and is the lead author on a resulting paper in Conservation Genetics Resources. He is also the lead on a paper submitted to the Journal of Wildlife Management from his own research, and has participated in other collaborative projects in the department.
Congratulations to Phil!
March 14, 2012
Samantha (Sam) Davis, a second-year ES PhD student in the laboratory of Don Cipollini, has received a second competitive Botany-in-Action fellowship from Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, PA. The award of $3000 will be used toward field research expenses for the project outlined below. In addition to the research award, Samantha will again participate in the Phipps Conservatory for Botany-in-Action Science Weekend, where she will receive science communication training, opportunities to engage with the public on her research, and networking opportunities with other Botany-in-Action fellows. The program manager, Molly Steinwald, indicated that Sam’s proposal persevered despite even fiercer competition this year.
Congratulations (again) to Sam!
Project Abstract - Rare organisms are often strongly affected by chance, disease, invasive species, and other factors. Pieris virginiensis (Pieridae), a rare woodland butterfly, uses the native mustards Cardamine diphylla, C. laciniata, C. multifada or Arabis laevigata as larval hosts. P. virginiensis may be adversely affected by the introduction of a related invasive mustard, Alliaria petiolata. Although apparently serving as an oviposition site, A. petiolata can inhibit feeding and survival of closely related Pierid larvae, and A. petiolata may compete with the normal host plants. I will investigate P. virginiensis oviposition rates and behavior on A. petiolata, as well as its normal host plants, in a variety of situations, evaluating the influence of oviposition cues such as host plant abundance, diversity, height, color, flowers, and volatile chemical cues. I will track larval survival on each of the potential host plants, including A. petiolata, profiling leaf chemical extracts and tracking future oviposition choices by P. virginiensis adult females. I will also examine predation, parasitism, and virus load on P. virginiensis caterpillars inhabiting each native host plant as well as the invasive competitor which may attract predators or parasites. Finally, I will examine competition between A. petiolata and the native host plants. I plan to present my findings to the public through scientific conferences, publications, public outreach, and the maintenance of a blog and website dedicated to the threats facing P. virginiensis and its normal larval host plants.
March 2, 2012
ES PhD student Angie Clayton and her advisor, Dr. Chuck Ciampaglio are co-chairing the Annual North Central Section meeting of the Geological Society of America to be held in Dayton, OH April 23-24, 2012. For more information on the meeting, go to the GSA conference website.
February 28, 2012
Dr. Kathryn Barto, a 2008 graduate of the ES PhD program, landed a tenure-track faculty job in the Department of Biology at Xavier University. She spent the last three and a half years at the Freie-Univeristat, Berlin, doing postdoctoral research on the ecology of mycorrhizal fungi. Kathryn was advised by Don Cipollini in the Department of Biological Sciences, and becomes the first graduate of the program to have landed a faculty position. She will start her new position in August, and we look forward to having her back in our neck of the woods.
Congratulations to Kathryn!
February 13, 2012
John Stireman, in the Department of Biological Sciences, is the lead P.I. on a $620,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The three year project, entitled “Phylogeny and evolution of world Tachinidae (Diptera)" is a collaboration with researchers at the University of Tennessee and the Canadian National Collection of Insects. The grant will provide support for both graduate students and post-docs.
To quote from the grant summary: "Tachinidae are the most important group of insect parasitoids outside of the wasps. A sound grasp of their history and a reliable taxonomic infrastructure are necessary to understand their roles as enemies, the evolution of their diverse attack strategies, and the causes of their rapid and rampant diversification. Such an understanding can guide the selection of the most effective tachinid biological control agents in agricultural and forest systems and limit the potential negative impacts upon non-targets. It will also inform broad issues in biology such as biogeography, ecological specialization, and the causes of adaptive diversification."
Congratulations to John!
February 13, 2012
First year ES PhD student, Chad Rigsby, had research he conducted as an undergraduate at Wittenberg University featured on the website, asknature.com, a site associated with the Biomimicry Institute dedicated to finding inspiration for designers, architects, chemists and engineers in nature. In this study, Chad and colleagues examined how red velvet mites tolerate high temperatures and drying through secretion of a waterproofing compound from secretory glands called urnulae.
For details, goto: http://www.asknature.org/strategy/bf97c65c436fdb8056cf4be5a36661cf
Yoder, J. A., Rigsby, C. M., Condon, M. R., & Tank, J. L. (2008). Function of the urnulae in protecting against water loss in the red velvet mite, Balaustium sp. (Ohio, USA ), enhancing activity at high temperature. International Journal of Acarology, 34(4), 1-7.
Congratulations to Chad!
September 21, 2011
Prof. Chad Hammerschmidt and his research team were recently highlighted in WSU's Newsroom for their ongoing work on oceanic mercury contamination. See the full news item at WSU's News Room.
July 29, 2011
Prof.Yvonne Vadeboncoeur and her research team have been conducting field research in Lake Tanganyika in east Africa, a project that is funded through the US National Science Foundation. To learn more, visit the project blog at http://tanzania-lkenyon.blogspot.com/.
July 7, 2011
Behzad Ghanbarian, a second-year ES Ph.D. student and his research director, Prof. Allen Hunt are organizing a symposium entitled "Complexity in Disordered Porous Media" at the EUROSOIL 2012 meeting in Italy from July 2-6. EUROSOIL is an international congress sponsored by the European Confederation of Soil Science Societies (ECSSS). Congratulations to Behzad and Prof. Hunt for their lead roles in organizing this symposium as part of the conference's Soil Hydrology theme.
June 6, 2011
Jeremy Heath, advised by John Stireman, was selected as the graduate excellence award nominee for the Environmental Sciences PhD program for the 2010-2011 academic year. Jeremy is studying the evolutionary ecology of the interaction of goldenrod plants with a gall-forming midge. He has given presentations at several scientific conferences (including organizing a symposium) and published seven research papers in peer reviewed journals. Jeremy is highly creative and has excellent problem solving skills. He never shies away from challenges and is always excited to learn new methods and analytical techniques. Jeremy has consistently maintained high academic standards in coursework and sets an example for other graduate students.
Congratulations to Jeremy!
June 3, 2011
At a recent joint meeting of the Kentucky Invasive Species Council and the Southeast Exotic Plant Pest Council in Lexington, KY, third-year ES PhD student, Deah Lieurance, won an Outstanding Oral Presentation Award. This honor came with a cash award of $150. Deah’s presentation, co-authored with her advisor, Don Cipollini, was entitled “Do damage levels from arthropod herbivores on Lonicera maackii suggest enemy release in North America?”. An abstract is provided below.
Congratulations to Deah!
Abstract-The ‘enemy release hypothesis’ argues when a species is introduced to a novel habitat, release from regulation by natural enemies results in increased abundance and distribution. The invasive shrub Lonicera maackii appears to benefit from enemy release in North America. We assessed the incidence, amount, and type of insect herbivory occurring on L. maackii in forest edge and interior habitats and investigated differences in timing of damage. In October 2008, leaves were sampled from shrubs in forest interior and edge habitat from 8 sites in Ohio. In 2009, sampling was repeated at 3 sites in spring, summer, and fall with an added distinction between long and short branches. Leaf area removed averaged 1.64% across the 8 populations in 2008 and 2.31% across the 3 populations in 2009, with plants in the forest edge receiving more damage than forest interior plants. Additionally, long shoots received more damage than short shoots in 2009. Damage incidence was also higher on plants in the edge habitat and on long shoots compared to short shoots. In 2009, herbivory levels were low in the early season, and damage accumulated steadily through time. The most prevalent form of damage occurred by chewing (76.8% of total damaged leaves). Results indicate that levels of herbivory experienced by L. maackii are consistent across sites, vary slightly with habitat and branch type, but are likely too low to impact fitness of shrubs. These findings indicate that ‘enemy release’ may contribute to the invasive success of L. maackii across its introduced range.
May 19, 2011
Please join us for the 2011 Wayne Carmichael Lecture in Environmental Sciences: “Science and Policy of Biological Invasions: From Kudzu to Carp” presented by Dr. David Lodge of the University of Notre Dame. The lecture will be held on Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 6:00 PM in the Ghandi Auditorium, White Hall, Wright State University. A reception will precede the lecture in the Atrium of White Hall at 5:00 PM. The lecture and reception are open to the public. Official announcement (in PDF).
David M. Lodge is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, Director of the Center for Aquatic Conservation, and Director of the new Environmental Change Initiative at the University of Notre Dame. Lodge is a freshwater ecologist whose research focuses on ecosystem services and ecological forecasting to better inform environmental risk analysis, bio-economics, policy, and management. Lodge completed his D.Phil. at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, is an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, and was the first chair of the US national Invasive Species Advisory Committee. Lodge’s research, published in over 150 scientific papers, has been featured in many videos, TV news including NBC Nightly News and Nightline, radio shows including NPR’s All Things Considered, magazine articles including the New Yorker, and newspapers including The New York Times. He has frequently provided testimony on invasive species to US congressional committees.
Lodge lab: http://www.nd.edu/~lodgelab/
Center for Aquatic Conservation: http://aquacon.nd.edu/
Sponsored by The Environmental Sciences PhD Program, The Department of Biological Sciences, The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The Society of Sigma Xi and the College of Science and Mathematics. For more information , please call 937-775-3273.
ES PhD Program faculty member Allen Hunt along with ES PhD student Behzad Ghanbarian and colleagues had their work highlighted in the European Physical Journal. Wright State’s Tom Skinner is also a co-author. The journal highlights work published by the group in the colloquium paper, “Dispersion of solutes in porous media”. 2011, DOI: 10.1140/epjb/e2011-10805-y.
From the journal: “...Hunt and co-workers test a new theory of solute transport in porous media by comparison with experiment. The predictions of their theory in the absence of diffusion are verified by comparing 2200 experiments over length scales from a few microns to 100km. The comparison focuses on the dispersivity. The agreement between their theory and the experiments requires rethinking the relevance of diffusion and multi-scale heterogeneity. It would also signal the inappropriateness of the classical advection-dispersion equation or any of its derivatives to model solute transport.”
For more information, visit http://www.epj.org/highlight_paper_b.html
Congratulations to Allen, Behzad and their colleagues!
February 28, 2011
February 21, 2011
November 15, 2010
October 20, 2010
October 5, 2010
September 15, 2010
August 11, 2010
August 11, 2010
July 30, 2010
May 11, 2010
April 14, 2010
November 10, 2009
June 26, 2009
Drs. Chad Ferguson and Katherine Kapo received their PhD degrees after successful defenses of their dissertations. Congratulations to the program's latest PhD recipients!
June 1, 2009
Kaen Simpson was selected for a full scholarship to attend the Santa Fe Institute Complex Systems Summer School in New Mexico held from June 7-July 4.
May 11, 2009
Katherine Kapo, who will graduate in Spring 2009 as the fifth graduate of the ES PhD program, is being honored as our program's recipient of the Graduate Excellence award for 2009 from the School of Graduate Studies. She tackled a unique and exciting topic in the risk assessment of watersheds and aquatic ecosystems which provided statistically based rankings of stressors that impaired aquatic life. She has published two papers in excellent international journals and a technical report for the United Kingdom’s Environment Agency based on her work here at WSU, with more in preparation. Katherine had 20 presentations at national and international meetings during her PhD, including 6 countries in Europe and southeast Asia. She has been recruited by the U.S. Geological Survey to train their personnel on her unique watershed analyses method and was awarded a grant to conduct joint research with the Dutch Ministry of Health and Environment for 2 months. Katherine is advised by Dr. Allen Burton in WSU’s Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences.
Congratulations to Katherine on this well-deserved award!
April 15, 2009
Drs. Arijit Guin and Ramya Ramanathan received their PhD degrees after successful defenses of their dissertations. Congratulations to the program's latest PhD recipients!
March 2, 2009
Congratulations to Shawn!
February 9, 2009
This project will help to guide efforts to protect the hundreds of unique species and the globally-important fishery of Lake Tanganyika by clarifying two critical issues. First, fishermen are catching too many fish in many lakes worldwide, including Lake Tanganyika. This overharvest may remove too many nutrients from the lake, or reduce the rate of nutrient recycling so that algae grow more slowly. By that mechanism, fishing could actually undercut the future productivity of the lake. Second, climate change is warming the surface waters of the lake and reducing the seasonal winds that cause cold, nutrient rich waters to periodically well up from the depths of the lake. Reduction in the frequency of influx of these deep-water nutrients is cutting off the algal growth that sustains the fish. This research will offer the first thorough evaluation of how these human-imposed factors will affect the productivity of Lake Tanganyika, which supports a regional human economy. This project will support both African and American Ph.D. students and partnerships with African and global non-profit organizations will broaden the impact of the research.
October 9, 2008
This book was supported by grant from the National Science Foundation and published by the University of Chicago Press.
October 1, 2008
Dr. John Stireman studies insects and their interactions with other organisms in order to explore fundamental problems in ecology and evolution. In just two and a half years, John has been funded by two separate grants from the National Science Foundation-at a time when funding at NSF has plummeted to historic lows. Dr. Stireman has a strong record of publication, with a total of 14 peer-reviewed research articles published or in press since he began at Wright State University in 2005, including papers in top tier journals as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Evolution, the Annual Review of Entomology, American Journal of Botany, and others. He has presented his research at numerous professional meetings, including several invited symposium lectures at national and international conferences. Dr. Stireman has developed an active laboratory group, including undergraduates, master's, and Ph.D. students and has taught a number of courses on topics related to his research interests, including General Ecology, Invertebrate Zoology, Evolution, and Entomology. He serves as advisor to Jeremy Heath in the E.S. Ph.D. program.
October 1, 2008
Dr. Steve Higgins recently received a 3-year grant from the US Department of Energy to study the long-term behavior of rocks and minerals exposed to CO2-bearing fluids in an effort to test the viability of various proposed geologic containment strategies. His project titled "Kinetic complexity of mineral-water interface reactions relevant to CO2 sequestration: Atomic-scale reactions to macroscale processes" involves a collaborative effort between WSU and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The project will utilize Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) in conjunction with Vertical Scanning Interferometry and reactor-scale investigations (1) to describe how mineral topographic relaxation occurs and relate these observables to the rate and mechanism of fluid-mineral interaction, (2) to understand how the surface reactivity of a mineral varies as a function of orientation, and (3) to describe how grain morphology evolves with exposure time. Corresponding macro-scale experiments will be employed to assess performance of nanometer-scale models across larger length and time scales and to predict behavior of CO2 sequestration systems by forward modeling for the thousands to perhaps tens of thousands of years over which gas containment must be evaluated.
September 9, 2008
Arijit Guin and Ramya Ramanathan are ES PhD students in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, advised by Profs. Bob Ritzi and David Dominic. They have been supported on the three NSF grants listed below. Their work aims to develop a high resolution model for the processes of subsurface fluid flow and mass transport. They are using a geometry-based approach to simulate the stratal architecture of the subsurface and the corresponding heterogeneous aquifer properties developed from field studies of fluvial sedimentary deposits. The aquifer heterogeneity will be simulated on a fine grid, perhaps as fine as one cubic centimeter resolution, which could involve over 60 trillion grid elements. The model is being run on one of the largest non-defense supercomputers at the Environmental and Molecular Science Laboratory at Pacific Northwest National Laboratories. The work is expected to provide rich opportunities for petascale computational experimentation on subsurface reactive transport, upscaling, and uncertainty analysis.
Modeling Hierarchical Aquifer Architecture from Centimeter to Kilometer Scales, National Science Foundation, (2005-2008, $223,679)
Collaborative Research on Reactive Transport: Modeling Spatial Cross-Correlation Between Hydraulic and Reactive Aquifer Attributes as Determined by Sedimentary Architecture, National Science Foundation, (2006-2009, $107,305, WSU, $284,043 U Buffalo)
August 18, 2008
Wright State ES PhD faculty and students co-authored 24 presentations at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Milwaukee on August 3-8. Presentations were authored by ES faculty John Stireman, Tom Rooney, Yvonne Vadeboncoeur, Jim Runkle, and Don Cipollini, along with ES students Sean Devlin, Jim Milks, and Jeremy Heath. This was by far the largest contingent that Wright State has ever sent to the Ecology meetings and is a sure sign of Wright State's growing influence in this area.
August 15, 2007
Most of the harbors in America are in trouble. The culprit is pollution. These seaports have been described as the largest and most poorly regulated sources of urban pollution in the country.
One of the primary obstacles to correcting this problem is a lack of accurate and cost- effective ways to measure the pollution that is present to determine if clean-up is needed.
“The clean-up costs for these harbors and large rivers can be staggering, costing tens to hundreds of millions of dollars per site,” said Allen Burton, Ph.D., a professor of environmental sciences at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. “Given these costs, we have to find better ways to determine what does and does not need to be cleaned up.”
Burton, an expert on the pollution of aquatic systems, has received an innovative $900,000 grant to help develop a solution for this environmental dilemma. He said virtually every harbor in America has pollution problems. “For an example nearby, there are 42 federally designated areas of concern along the Great Lakes, and 41 of these involve harbors in such locations as Chicago, Toledo and Cleveland,” he explained. “Numerous rivers and streams with contaminants from agriculture, industry and development drain into these harbors. These toxic wastes become a pollution source, along with emissions from ships and other sources from the maritime trade.
“Our goal is to develop a quick, risk assessment monitoring tool for harbors where contaminated sediments are a common problem,” said Burton, who chairs the university’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. His research over the last 25 years has focused on developing effective methods for identifying ecological effects and contamination in aquatic systems.
“The unique aspect of our grant is that this project will provide the first-ever instrumentation that closely links contaminant exposures (like mercury, arsenic, pesticides, PCBs) with adverse effects on fish and other aquatic life,” he said.
Burton and his collaborators will achieve this by dropping sensor probes into the bottom of the harbor to record data and collect water samples. The contaminants in the sediment will be measured and the biological exposures and effects will be calculated. These findings then will be integrated into a Geographic Information System to provide statistically based rankings of the likely dominant physical and chemical contaminants across the site.
“The two major contributions of this research will be (1) development of an integrated capability to assess sites for ecological risk and recovery using accurate exposure and effects data and (2) a straightforward approach to quantitatively measure and graphically demonstrate displays of sediment quality and the dominant contaminant relationships with ecological risk,” he said.
This will allow site managers, regulators and stakeholders to better understand whether the site is improving or which areas need to be cleaned up.
Burton said the findings his research team develops may then become a model for use nationwide by three federal agencies, the Department of Defense, Department of the Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“Our initial development work will be in San Diego harbor, with follow-up work in another west or east coast harbor that is known to be contaminated,” he said. “The findings will be applicable to all the major harbors in the U.S., such as New York, Houston, Pearl Harbor and the Great Lakes.”
The Wright State research scientist is the principal investigator for the three-year project, and he will be working closely with Navy and EPA researchers.
Burton’s research work has involved visiting positions in Italy, Portugal and New Zealand. He is president of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and serves on numerous international scientific panels and committees, such as the National Research Council and EPA Science Advisory Board. He has authored more than 200 publications and received more than $7 million in research grants and contracts.
This grant was awarded through the Strategic Environmental Restoration and Demonstration Program of the Department of Defense, Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
For more details, contact Burton at email@example.com or (937) 775-2201.