Today's post celebrates awesome outreach efforts about bats by Erin McHale, Morgan Mark, and Evan Drake. This summer Erin, Morgan, and Evan gave a fun and educational outdoor presentation about bats to community members at the Troy Meadows Nature Preserve, which was organized by the Parsippany Bat Protection Project (PBPP). Their outreach work was featured in the Parsippany Focus! The article is titled "Rutgers Takes Stage, As Bats Take To The Air, At Troy Meadows Preserve." Congrats!
Erin, Morgan, and Evan are PhD students in Brooke Maslo's lab. Erin's dissertation research focuses on the foraging ecology and behavior of insectivorous bats. By studying their diet with molecular techniques and guano, we can understand how to better conserve these incredible species and the invaluable ecosystem services they provide.
As an incoming grad student, Morgan is interested in studying wildlife diseases, zoonoses, and SARS-CoV-2 (the virus responsible for COVID-19). She is a field tech, educator, and media manager for the Rutgers Wildlife Conservation and Management Program (WCMP).
What's a Bat Walk? Read the article here to find out and learn more about their bat outreach.
Congrats to Danielle Brown on her recent paper about humpback whales in the NY Bight!
Danielle's paper is titled "Site fidelity, population identity and demographic characteristics of humpback whales in the New York Bight apex" and it was published in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.
This study is important for informing management decisions because whales in the New York Bight apex (the coastal area between Long Island and New Jersey) overlap with human activities that may harm these threatened species. Danielle and her team found that humpback whales spend an extended period of time in the NY Bight region and 31.3% of whales return the following year.
Check out the article here: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0025315422000388
Congrats to Zoe Kitchel on her paper that was recently published in Global Change Biology. Her paper is titled: "The role of continental shelf bathymetry in shaping marine range shifts in the face of climate change."
Here's a sneak peak in Zoe's words: "In my work, I think a lot about how critters in the ocean are moving around because the ocean is heating up and ocean chemistry is changing. However, what do those pathways look like from less comfy habitats to more comfy habitats? In this study, we looked at how the size of the continental shelf, an important habitat for many species in the ocean, changes as critters move deeper and away from the equator. We found that there is a ton of variability! In some areas, critters may experience a loss of shelf area to live in, but in many regions, they may actually gain area to live in--potentially allowing populations of marine species to grow. Through working on this project, I learned that some of the major extinctions of marine species through geologic history (think late Ordovician) can be partially explained by the fact the continents were not arranged in a way that allowed critters to use continental shelves as corridors to seek more comfy habitats."
Read Zoe's paper at the link here: https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.16276
This fall we are excited to welcome 12 new students into the graduate program: Shannon Dickey, Kendall Eldredge, Daniel Fisher, Lydia Heilferty, Heidi Herb, Jillian Jamieson, Morgan Mark, Sophia Piper, Ryan Schmidt, Nicole Vaccaro, Leah Scott, & Isabelle Zoccolo.
This past weekend they took a trip to our Rutgers field stations! At the Cape Shore Lab (left photo), they learned about oysters, shorebirds, and horseshoe crabs. They were introduced to plants, fire, and amphibians in the Pinelands (center), and they explored old growth forest at Hutcheson Memorial Forest (right). Finally, at the marine field station, they learned about coastal ecology by testing out the beach seine and bottom trawl in Great Bay.
We hope they had fun and we look forward to getting to know them all at EcoGSA!
Congratulations to Andrew Aldercotte and Dylan Simpson for their recent pub in Insect Conservation and Diversity!
Their paper is titled "Crop visitation by wild bees declines over an 8-year time series: A dramatic trend, or just dramatic between-year variation?"
To summarize, Dylan says: "We found that, across an eight year study, wild bee visitation rates to watermelon declined by a dramatic 58%! However, visitation rates were highly variable year-to-year. As a result, we could not actually determine whether the decline we observed was indicative of a larger trend, or just an artifact of regular population fluctuations."
Check out the paper here at this link: https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12589
And you can read more about their work on Twitter too!
@AndrewSKADI, @dylantux, @rachael_winfree
Congratulations to Seth for his recent publication in the International Journal for Parasitology! Seth studies the reproductive behavior and ecology of monogenea (ectoparasitic flatworms) on bluegill, a type of freshwater sunfish. His paper is about parasite body size/density relationships and how it relates to reproduction.
Click here to read his paper called "Monogenean body size, but not reproduction, increases with infracommunity density"!
Congratulations to Dylan Simpson, Lucia Weinman, and the Winfree Lab for their new publication titled “Many bee species, including rare species, are important for function of entire plant—pollinator networks” in Proceedings of the Royal Society B!
Plants in nature depend on a diverse bee community, including rare bee species. Dylan and Lucy's study finds that, while few bee species are important to any one plant species, the number of important bees increases rapidly as more plant species are considered. This is because different bees are important to different plants. Previous research, which typically focused on crop monocultures, has shown that pollination often depends on just a few common bees. In contrast, this study finds that even rare bees can be important to particular plants. These results suggest that ecologists have likely underestimated the importance of bee diversity for pollination in diverse, natural ecosystems.
Click here to read their paper!
Congratulations to Bobby Kwait for his paper published in Conservation Science and Practice! His paper is titled "Whole-room ultraviolet sanitation as a method for the site-level treatment of Pseudogymnoascus destructans." This fungal pathogen causes white-nose syndrome, a disease that kills bats. Read about it here at this link.
Julia has a new paper in the American Society of Microbiology’s Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education entitled “The Diverse World of Protists—an Ideal Community with which to Introduce Microscopy in the Microbiology Teaching Laboratory.” It’s a short paper on how to incorporate protists and microscopy into lab courses at all levels. The supplement also contains a bunch of teaching materials anyone can use or adapt!
Check out her article here!
You can also catch up with Julia on Twitter @couchmicroscopy.
We seek to further the social, cultural, academic and research interests of the students in the graduate program in Ecology and Evolution and act as a link between the graduate students and the faculty.