Daniel Gruner - Biodiversity and Community Ecology
I am a community ecologist with empirical projects on tropical islands, and coastal wetlands, montane grasslands, and local agricultural systems, and I use a variety of analytical tools for synthetic reviews and statistical modeling. Generally, our lab investigates species interactions in food webs, the maintenance of biodiversity in ecological communities, and community feedbacks with ecosystem function. I research these topics primarily using arthropods in terrestrial ecosystems, but I work in soils and in treetops, with organisms from nematodes to birds to herbaceous plants, and in both temperate and tropical regions. I believe it is important to apply basic science to address environmental challenges, particularly with biodiversity conservation, biological invasions, and climate change.
With collaborators Rob Fleischer and Jesus Maldonado at the Smithsonian, Dan landed an SI-UMD seed grant to support pilot work building food web models from the poop of birds and rats in Hawaii. Yes, poop - this is a powerful, non-invasive way using next generation sequencing technologies to understand species interactions without the need to capture or kill individuals. This project is the brainchild of Erin Wilson, former postdoc and current UC Riverside Assistant Professor, who will still be involved going forward. (June 2013)
Dan was awarded promotion to Associate Professor with tenure! (May 2013)
Hearty welcome to the newest labbies arriving soon for the fall semester in pursuit of PhDs! Elske Tielens will arrive from the Netherlands after completing her MS at the University of Groningen, and Madhvi Venkatraman from Occidental College will work with Smithsonian colleagues Rob Fleischer and Helen James. (May 2013)
Brian Thompson presented his exit seminar successfully defended his dissertation April 26: "Community ecology and Sirex noctilio: interactions with microbial symbionts and native insects." It is one heckuva good story - congratulations Dr. Brian! (April 2013)
Alex Forde received several (cash!) awards: the University of Maryland Biological Sciences Graduate Program Award for Scholarly Excellence (March 2013), and first place in the oral paper competition (Pushing the Boundaries of Science Section), University of Maryland Graduate Research Interaction Day (UMD GRID, April 2013)!
Alex Forde and Jake Bodart just returned from Belize, doing mangrove research at Twin Keys from the Carrie Bow Cay Field Station. The weather was not as alluring as the photos, but a productive trip all the same.
A clutch of papers just published or in press for early 2013- see pubs
Congratulations to Cora Ann Johnston, whose paper "Exotic macroalga is superior nursery habitat for native blue crab in a novel ecosystem of Chesapeake Bay" is published at Marine Ecology Progress Series! Cora is in residence at the Smithonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce, FL, where she just finished up her Link Fellowship (Jan 2013)
Brian's first dissertation chapter, "Microbial symbionts shape the sterol profile of the xylem-feeding woodwasp, Sirex noctilio", will appear in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of Chemical Ecology! (Oct 2012)
With a collaborative team at Berkeley, UH Hilo, and Cornell, Dan landed an NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity grant! (Sep 2012)
Congratulations to Dr. Erin Wilson, newest Assistant Professor in Entomology at UC Riverside! Fortunately Erin will stay to work with us through March 2013. (July 2012)
|Email: dsgruner _at_ umd.edu
Phone: 301 405 3957
Fax: 301 314 9290
"If you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so
that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in
fact planted with pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of
--- Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek