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Daniel Gruner - Biodiversity and Community Ecology


Lab NEWS Archive (as of August 2014)

Cora, Mayda and Alex submitted abstracts for the August meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Sacramento. (March 2014)

Brian Thompson's second PhD chapter on the European woodwasp, Sirex noctilio, is now out in the Annals of the Entomologyical Society of America. Stay tuned for more fundamental discoveries from this system! (Mar 2014)

Check out the special issue on "Macrosystems Ecology" just published in the February issue of Frontiers in Ecology and Environment! Dan and mangrove collaborator Jim Kellner helped with many drafts and revisions in the lead article. (Feb 2014)

Our recent paper in PNAS shows that increased mangrove areal extent in Northern Florida is tied to a decreased frequency of severe winter cold snaps over 28 years, 1984 to 2011. Smithsonian/Brown University postdoc Kyle Cavanaugh (who recently accepted a tenure track position in Geography at UCLA - congrats, Kyle!) led the study using subpixel analysis of historical Landsat imagery. The paper was covered by more than two dozen news outlets, including NPR All Things Considered, the New York Times, and the Weather Channel. (January 2014) Update (March 2014): PNAS published a challenge to the article along with our reply.

Dan and Alex presented posters at the first Gordon Conference on Predator-Prey Interactions in Ventura, CA. (Jan 2014)

Cora and Mayda presented their research as part of a special session organized by our group with collaborators for the 22nd Biennial Conference of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation in San Diego, CA. Our session was titled, "Mangrove Expansion into Salt Marsh Habitats: Causes and Consequences." (Nov 2013)

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 Rankin, former postdoc and current UC Riverside Assistant Professor, who will still be involved going forward. (June 2013) UPDATE: Erin leads the charge in NSF preliminary proposal submitted January 2014. Fingers crossed!

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)

Cora Johnston was awarded a Link Fellowship at the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce, FL for her ongoing dissertation research in the fall. (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)!

In 2013, Dan will visit friends and colleagues and give seminars at Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Central Florida. Excited to see these places.

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)

Dan visited colleagues at Rutgers and than at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute for seminars this month. (Oct 2012)

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)

A commentary paper co-authored by Kailen Mooney was accepted with companion papers by Oikos ("Green grass and high tides: grazing lawns in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems"). (July 2012)

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 now in press at Marine Ecology Progress Series! (July 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)

Our Hawaii kipuka work was featured in several blogs posts by collaborator David Flaspohler in the New York Times "Scientist at Work" blog, here and here. (June 2012)

We all look forward to the Ecology meetings in sunny Portland in August! Brian Thompson, Alex, and Cora all received travel awards from the Entomology Student Organization for their presentations, and Erin and Dan will also present talks. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America just published an entertaining and useful "field guide" by Stephen Hale for attendance at such meetings.

Alex, Mayda, and Cora attendedthe INTECOL Wetlands Conference in Orlando, FL (June 3-8 2012)

Mangrove Tracking: follow our coastal wetland research in Florida this summer on the Shorelines blog of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Kipuka virtual tour: get a glimpse of our research sites on the Big Island of Hawaii (site otherwise under construction...)

Jake Bodart landed an National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF REU) internship for the summer for our research in Florida. Congrats, Jake! (May 2012)

Congratulations to Alexander Forde for passing his qualifying exam! (May 2012)

Erin Wilson recruited two exceptional undergraduate interns from the University of Hawaii system - Emily Mishina and Cash Helman - to work as PIPES interns on the Kipuka Project (May 2012)

Cora Ann Johnston, scrapping for research funds, landed a Smithsonian Link Fellowship and a Devra Kleiman Memorial Scholarship (May 2012)

Dan visited colleagues at Washington State University and Purdue University for seminars (April 2012)

Dan's co-authored Science paper (led by Utah State's Peter Adler) attracts some attention from fans and critics....