EBIO Professor Noah Fierer produces first atlas of airborne microbes - 04/20/15
Dr. Noah Fierer, working in conjuction with researchers from North Carolina State University, has produced the first atlas of airborne microbes across the continental United States.
The researchers collected outdoor dust samples from roughly 1,200 homes in all 50 states from both urban and rural areas using a powerful DNA sequencing technique to identify specific bacteria and fungal species. While standard, culture-based surveys are able to detect only a handful of different species, the high-tech molecular technique revealed that an average dust sample from the study contained roughly 4,700 different bacterial species and about 1,400 fungal species. You can learn more about this fascinating study here.
Noah Fierer study on fungi in flooded Boulder homes published in Enviormental Science & Technology Journal - 04/08/15
Dr. Noah Fierer, an associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and a fellow at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, was inspired to study the levels of fungi and airbourne mold present in Boulder basements while walking through his south Boulder neighborhood after the September floods. The findings, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology and funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, also show that the types of fungi—and airborne bacteria—found in flooded homes were different than those in non-flooded homes. The researchers found about twice as much fungal DNA in flooded homes than in non-flooded homes, despite the fact that most of the flooded basements they sampled had already been remediated, a process which often includes throwing out old furniture, replacing drywall and flooring, and treating dried surfaces with chemicals that deter microbial growth. You can read more about Dr. Fierer's study here
The researchers found about twice as much fungal DNA in flooded homes than in non-flooded homes, despite the fact that most of the flooded basements they sampled had already been remediated, a process which often includes throwing out old furniture, replacing drywall and flooring, and treating dried surfaces with chemicals that deter microbial growth.
The findings, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology and funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, also show that the types of fungi—and airborne bacteria—found in flooded homes were different than those in non-flooded homes.- See more at: http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2015/04/08/fungi-thrived-flooded-colorado-homes-months-after-waters-receded-says-cu#sthash.SK3bRjcM.dpuf
Helen McCreery wins 2015 Graduate Summer Fellowship - 04/07/15
Helen McCreery, a graduate student with the Breed lab, was selected to receive the 2015 Graduate Summer Fellowship Award from the Graduate School. Graduate Summer Fellowship Awards are competitive awards sponsored by the Graduate School. These financial awards support the research, scholarship and creative work of graduate students from all departments. Congrats Helen!
Kika Tarsi and Miranda Redmond win Graduate Dissertation Completion Fellowship - 04/06/15
Kika Tarsi, a graduate student in the Davies lab, and Miranda Redmond, who is part of the Barger lab, were selected for the 2015 - 2016 Graduate School Dissertation Completion Fellowship. The Dean’s Graduate Student Research Grant Awards are competitive awards sponsored by the Graduate School that support the research, scholarship and creative work of graduate students from all departments. Grants range up to $10,000 per proposal. Congratulations Kika and Miranda!
Professor Alex Cruz wins undergraduate mentorship award - 04/03/15
Professor Alex Cruz just found out that his contributions to undergraduate training have been recognized by his receiving an "Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor" award sponsored by the Special Undergraduate Enrichment Programs. You can read more about Dr. Cruz, and the nomination letter submitted on his behalf here. Congratulations Alex!
Carrie Havrilla awarded an NSF Pre-doctoral Research Fellowship - 04/01/15
Carrie Havrilla, a graduate student with the Barger lab, has been awarded an NSF Pre-doctoral Research Fellowship to pursue her research on biological crusts. Congratulations Carrie!! Please see below for a brief synopsis of Carrie's study:
The role of biocrusts in regulating dryland plant communities and exotic plant invasibility
Biological soil crusts (biocrusts), bio-sedimentary assemblages of cyanobacteria, lichens, fungi, and mosses, constitute up to 70 percent of biotic cover in drylands, and play a critical role in the ecological function of drylands through provision of a suite of ecosystem services. Although biocrusts modify important plantlimiting resources, the influence of biocrusts on surrounding vascular plants is mixed, whereby biocrusts have been shown to have both facilitory and inhibitory effects on plant establishment and growth. In this project, I will explore the role of biocrust disturbance and restoration in regulating dryland native plant community composition and exotic plant invasibility. I will conduct complementary full-factorial greenhouse and field experiments in the cold Great Basin Desert of Utah, and the hot Chihuahuan Desert of southeastern New Mexico. I will examine native and exotic vascular plant germination, establishment, and growth in response to biocrust disturbance and restoration treatments compared to untreated controls. Importantly, this will serve as one of the first studies to evaluate biocrusts as a tool to promote native plant restoration and ecosystem resistance to exotic plant invasion.
EBIO faculty and researchers awarded Campus Sustainability Award - 03/31/15
We're pleased to announce that several members of the EBIO department have won Campus Sustainability Awards. Professor Becca Safran was awarded a Green Faculty Award for her film course. Carol Kearns and Diane Oliveras were awarded "Civic Achievement" sustainability awards, while Jessica Henley of the Fierer lab received a CU Green Labs award for her efforts to reduce the impact of laboratory research on the enviornment.
Three EBIO professors awarded prestigious BFA Award - 03/29/15
This year, three EBIO professors have been awarded a BFA Excellence Award. This award is a longstanding tradition on the CU Boulder campus, and is one of the most prestigious teaching awards that can be bestowed upon a University of Colorado Boulder faculty member.
This year, Professor Tim Seastedt was awarded a BFA in the Excellence in Leadership and Service category. Professor Andy Martin secured a BFA Award in the Excellence in Teaching category. Rounding out the list is Professor Bill Bowman, who secured an award in the Excellence in Research, Scholarly and Creative Work category. You can view the full list of BFA award recipients here.
Kendi Davies and Brett Melbourne global habitat research featured in Science Advances journal - 03/20/15
Seventy percent of forested lands remaining in the world are within a half mile of the forest edge, where encroaching urban, suburban or agricultural influences can cause any number of harmful effects, according to a new study involving EBIO professors Dr. Kendi Davies and Dr. Brett Melbourne published in Science Advances this week.
Working in conjunction with researchers from North Carolina State University, the Davies and Melbourne labs were part of a global survey of habitat fragmentation—the division of habitats into smaller and more isolated patches—and found the degree of fragmentation points to trouble for a number of the world’s ecosystems, from forests to savannahs to grasslands, and the plants and animals living in them.
The study tracked seven major experiments on five continents to find that fragmented habitats reduce the diversity of plants and animals by 13 to 75 percent, with the largest negative effects found in the smallest and most isolated patches. You can read more about this groundbreaking habitat study at Science Advances or in University of Colorado Boulder news.
Professor Kendi Davies wins prestigious National Science Foundation Career Award - 03/16/15
Dr. Kendi Davies has recently been awarded the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Award. She is among a remarkably successful group of faculty across disciplines at CU to win one of these highly competitive awards in 2014-15. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research. Congratulations Kendi! Other recent recipients of this award in EBIO are Rebecca Safran, Noah Fierer, and Pieter Johnson.
Doctoral Student Miranda Redmond featured in Arts & Sciences Magazine - 03/16/15
Ecosystems dominated by species of piñon and juniper, a spatially extensive vegetation type in the United States, are among the most predominant vegetation types administered by U.S. land management agencies. That means, among other things, that millions of acres of piñon-juniper woodlands have been subjected to numerous land-management techniques since 1950, including various methods of tree removal.
Redmond has been the lead author on several papers examining the precipitous decline of piñon-nut production and the effects of vegetation management on Bureau of Land Management lands, including the effects of burning, chaining and “mastication” to remove woody plants in an effort to increase grasses for grazing livestock, restore wildlife habitat, and reduce the risk of wildland fires.
“We use our national lands pretty heavily. We enjoy them and the services they provide" - everything from recreation to livestock grazing to water management—“and it’s important to know how to effectively manage them for both the increased resilience of ecosystems in the future and to maintain them today.” You can read the rest of this interview in this week’s issue of the Arts and Sciences Magazine.
Professor Daniel Medeiros featured in Arts & Sciences Magazine - 03/13/15
Vertebrates built new head from old parts, study conducted by Daniel Medeiros' lab finds. The findings, which appeared in the February 26th issue of the journal Nature suggest that the appearance of the vertebrate head skeleton "did not depend on evolution of a new skeletal tissue, as is commonly thought, but on the spread of this tissue throughout the head’. The findings demystify the evolutionary path from invertebrates to vertebrates, specifically the formation of the vertebrate head skeleton. Co-authors on the report include Medeiros lab postdoctoral fellows David Jandzik and Aaron Garnett, technician Maria Cattell, and graduate student Tyler Square. To read more about the work, see this feature in the Arts & Sciences Magazine.
Seinor undergradute Sharif Durzi awarded first place for presentation - 03/01/15
Sharif Durzi, a senior EBIO student, represented the Breed lab at the Front Range Student Ecology Symposium held at CSU. He earned first place in the undergraduate presentation competition for his talk on the effect honeybee larva have on fanning behavior in worker honeybees, with research he conducted this past summer with PhD student Chelsea Cook.
Scott Ferrenberg published and awarded by British Ecological Society - 02/27/15
Scott Ferrenberg, who recently finished his Ph.D. with Jeff Mitton, found out that the editors of Functional Ecology selected his recent paper with Jeff, "Smooth bark surfaces can defend trees against insect attack: resurrecting a ‘slippery’ hypothesis" for receipt of the 2014 Haldane Prize for the best paper by a young author in 2014.
In addition to the £250 (sterling) prize money, the award includes a year’s membership to the British Ecological Society and a year’s subscription to Functional Ecology. He is also invited to make a presentation at this year's Annual General Meeting in Edinburgh, UK, before receiving his award from President of the British Ecological Society at the Awards Ceremony.
Kika Tarsi Tuff receives production credit in NANPA Summit documentary - 02/27/15
Kika Tarsi Tuff, an EBIO graduate student was one of twelve U.S. students selected to participate in the College Scholars program with the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA).
Students selected for the program, traveled to San Diego to film, edit and produce a short documentary. Students were allotted only four days to complete their video, which was show during the keynote address at the 2015 NANPA Summit conference.
Steve Schmidt receives College Scholar Award - 01/08/15
Steve Schmidt has just been awarded the Arts and Sciences College Scholar Award. The award grants two semesters of sabbatical to support and recognize the college’s most accomplished scholars and enables tenured faculty to focus on scholarly pursuits full-time. Steve is the second professor in the EBIO department to receive this award this year.
Old Main cottonwood finds new life through cloning
The Old Main cottonwood is indeed getting new life thanks to help from the EBIO greenhouse. Cuttings were taken from the tree by Facilities Management arborists Vince Aquino and Joel Serafin and handed off to the care of Tom Lemieux, manager of the EBIO greenhouse. The cuttings will produce a clone: an exact genetic duplicate of the Old Main cottonwood and will be ready for planting on campus grounds in 2015. You can learn more about the Old Main cottonwoods by viewing the full story here or by visiting the EBIO greenhouse website.
Barbara Demmig-Adams receives College Scholar Award
Barbara Demmig-Adams has just been awarded the Arts and Sciences College Scholar Award. The award grants two semesters of sabbatical to support and recognize the college’s most accomplished scholars. Sabbaticals enable tenured faculty to focus on scholarly pursuits full-time.
Congratulations to Barbara Demmig-Adams!
Congrats to the Medeiros Lab for their recent publication in Nature Journal
The Medeiros' lab paper titled: Evolution of the new vertebrate head by co-option of an ancient chordate skeletal tissue was recently published and appears in the Nature journal. The paper was co-authored by David Jandzik, Aaron T. Garnett, Tyler Square, Maria Cattel, Jr-Kai Yu and Daniel Medeiros. You can read about this study by clicking here. Learn more about the Medeiros lab and the research they perform by clicking here to visit their lab website.
Bowers lab secures National Science Foundation Grant
The Bowers lab has just been awarded a National Science Foundation grant. The grant will be used to study the effects of incorporating novel host plants into the diet of native herbivores, and that might affect the insect's immune system. This study is a collaboration between Deane Bowers, Peri Mason, and the lab of Angela Smilanich at the University of Nevada at Reno. Congratulations to Deane Bowers and her lab!
Steve Schmidt and Katie Suding secure National Science Foundation Grant
Katie Suding and Steve Schmidt have been awarded a National Science Foundation grant. The grant will be used Their project will focus on the microbial facilitation and distributional patterns of both plant and soil microbes, and will quantify the effects of microbial facilitation into previously plant free zones. Congratulations to Steve Schmidt and Katie Suding!
Helen McCreery, Amanda Hund and Jack Darcy awarded research grants
Three EBIO students, Helen McCreery, Amanda Hund and Jack Darcy have each been awarded funding from the CU Boulder 2015 Dean's Graduate Student Research Grant. The Dean’s Graduate Student Research Grant Awards are competitive awards sponsored by the Graduate School that support the research, scholarship and creative work of graduate students from all departments.
Topher Weiss-Lehmann wins prestigious ESA award
Topher Weiss-Lehmann, a graduate student in Brett Melbourne's lab, has won the prestigious E.C. Pielou award for the best oral presentation by a student in statistical ecology at the 2014 ESA Annual Meeting in Sacramento, CA.
Topher received the award for his paper and talk titled: "Estimating extinction risk from presence/absence data with observational uncertainty: Development and evaluation of a flexible modeling framework applied across systems". His paper was coauthored with Kendi Davies (EBIO), Chris Clements (University of Sheffield,UK) and Brett Melbourne (EBIO).
Ryan Lynch receives NASA award
Ryan Lynch, a graduate student with the EBIO department received an award from NASA's Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Reseach in Astrobiology. Ryan received the award for his project titled "Understanding the Traits of Chemosynthetic Bacteria From a Martian Analog in the High-Elevation Atacama Region"
Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life on Earth and in the universe. It encompasses research in, among others, the fields of astronomy, chemistry, evolutionary biology, field and population biology, geology, microbiology, molecular biology, oceanography, paleontology, and planetary science. Astrobiology includes investigations of the geologic and fossil record to understand the conditions of the early Earth when life arose. Its scope also includes research of contemporary locations on Earth that might be similar to early earth and to environments elsewhere in our Solar System.
Jennifer Wilkening offered Fulbright Award
Jennifer Wilkening, an EBIO student in Sharon Collinge's lab has been offered a Fulbright award to study pikas in India.
Fulbright students are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The 67-year-old program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It operates in more than 155 countries and currently awards about 8,000 grants annually to U.S. students, foreign students, U.S. scholars, visiting scholars, teachers and professionals.
Jennifer has worked closely with Chris Ray studying pika physiology and their response to climate change here in the Front Range. She will spend her Fulbright studying a closely related species in India. Congratulations Jennifer!
Bill Franz has won the Campus Sustainability Award
The Campus Sustainability Award started in 1997 as a means of recognizing CU's commitment to reducing the burden that the campus places on the enviornment. Bill Franz has embraced this comittment wholeheartedly and has undertaken many projects within the department with this philosophy in mind. One such project included replacing all of the aging, less efficient computers with gently used, energy efficient models which were sourced locally. Thank You for your service - Congratulations Bill!
Two new books by Emeritus Professor, Marc Bekoff
In the book titled: Ignoring Nature No More, Marc Bekoff and a host of renowned contributors argue that it is time to employ a new mind-set about nature - one that centers on empathy, compassion, and being proactive. You can obtain more information about the book here.
In his children's book titled: Jasper's story, Marc explores the conservation work that he performs in China, which involves the rescuing of the endangered Moon Bears from the bear bile industry. More information about the book can be viewed here .
Congrats to Miranda Redmond and the Barger lab for their paper on Pinyon Pine cone production and regional warming - 02/20/13
In a paper appearing recently in the journal Ecosphere, published by the Ecological Society of America, the study's co-authors linked a 2.3 degree Fahrenheit temperature rise over four decades recorded at nine research sites to a decline in pinyon pine seed cone reproduction. Leading the study was CU doctoral student Miranda Redmond and Assistant professor Nichole Barger. Joining them as co-author on the study was Frank Forcella of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More information about this groundbreaking study can be found by clicking here. Additional press coverage can be found on the Ecological Society of America Journal and the Boulder Daily Camera. Congratulations!
Congrats to Pieter Johnson and his lab for establishing the underlying mechanisms between increased biodiversity and disease risk - 02/13/13
The Johnson lab researchers spent three years sampling 345 wetlands and recording malformations in amphibians— which included missing, misshapen or extra sets of hind legs. These deformaties caused by parasitic infections, were recorded in 24,215 amphibians. The results showed that ponds with half a dozen amphibian species had a 78 percent reduction in parasite transmission compared to ponds with just one amphibian species. The research team also set up experiments in the lab and outdoors using 40 artificial ponds, each stocked with 60 amphibians and 5,000 parasites. You can view more details about this groundbreaking study here. Congrats to the Johnson lab!
Erin Tripp's new book published by the New York Botanical Garden - 02/13/13
Erin Tripp's new book titled: Lichens and Allied Fungi of Great Smoky National Park, has recently been published by the New York Botanical Garden Press. Congratulations Erin!
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