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Graduate Students at KBS PDF Print E-mail

Regular Graduate Students

Regular Graduate Students at KBS are students who have graduate student status in an MSU academic department, have a KBS faculty member as an academic advisor, and who are in residence at KBS during most of their graduate training.

 

ballewName: Nicholas Ballew (ballewn1@msu.edu)
Department: Zoology/EEBB
Advisor: Gary Mittelbach
Location: Kellogg Biological Station
Degrees Held: B.A., Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, 2006
Starting Year in Program: 2008
Statement: I am interested in studying how populations evolve in response to ecological change, especially change that is the result of human behavior. I seek to understand how a population may evolve in response to interacting directly with humans (such as humans preying on the population), and also how a population may evolve in response to an anthropogenic alteration to the environment (such as the introduction of an invasive species). I hope to use results from this line of research to predict how a target population would adapt to ecological change that is the result of human behavior.

Website: https://www.msu.edu/~ballewn1/

 

tyler_bassett_003_150Name: Tyler Bassett (basset17@msu.edu)
Department: Plant Biology
Advisor: Jen Lau
Research Location: Kellogg Biological Station
Starting Year in Program: 2009
Statement: My research interests apply to a broad range of subjects of relevance to restoration ecology. In particular, I am exploring the mechanisms of local adaptation in plant species used in restorations in the upper Midwest, and the degree to which local adaptation should be considered in planning restoration projects. A related interest is the conservation and restoration of rare plant populations and their role in ecosystems. Ultimately, my goal is lifting the practice of restoration and applied conservation to a more ecologically effective and scientifically rigorous place. Applying experimental methods to restoration projects allows for analyzing questions of succession, community assembly, coevolution, and trophic interactions and further supplies insights to the practice of ecological restoration.

 

Jorge_CeliName: Jorge Celi (celijorg@msu.edu)
Department: Zoology
Advisor: Steve Hamilton
Research Location: Napo River, Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon
Degrees Held: M.Sc., Environmental Sciences, Florida International University, 2005; B.Sc., Biological Sciences, Pontifical Catholic University, Ecuador, 1997
Starting Year in Program: 2006
Statement: My goal is to understand how ecological, biogeochemical, and hydrological processes and patterns at the watershed/landscape scale respond to natural and anthropogenic disturbances, and to draw on this understanding to generate recommendations to improve ecosystem protection and management. Currently, I am investigating the ecological-hydrological relationships between the lowland Napo River, in the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon, and its associated floodplain and wetland environments. The objectives of my study are: 1) To assess the extent and diversity of floodplain/wetland environments; 2) To identify the spatial-temporal variability of areas directly flooded by the Napo River, and indirectly flooded by backwater effects that restrict drainage of local precipitation or runoff, and 3) To predict the impacts of changes in water level and other physical modifications caused by the development of an industrial waterway in the Napo.

 

Desotelle_001_150Name: Micaleila Desotelle (desotell@msu.edu)
Department: Zoology
Advisor: Steve Hamilton
Research Location: Kellogg Biological Station
Degrees Held: M.A., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, 2007; B.S., Biology, Environmental Science, Winona State University, 2002
Starting Year in Program: 2007
Statement: My research explores how food web subsidies can influence communities. I study the Kalamazoo River, which has several dams. Dams change the flow of the water and can increase the production of phytoplankton. The phytoplankton can act as a subsidy both temporally and spatially. Stream insect communities change along the river, and some of this response is to the subsidy from dams. Rivers frequently have multiple dams though many are aging and will be removed in the coming decades. Therefore, understanding how dams change food sources is important for the management of rivers.

 

garnett_sara_150Name: Sara Garnett (garnett3@msu.edu)
Department: Zoology
Advisor: Tom Getty
Degrees Held: B.S., Biology, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2009
Starting Year in Program: 2010
Statement: I am interested in how individuals maximize their inclusive fitness by balancing cooperation and competition when interacting with their kin. Maximizing inclusive fitness requires individuals to avoid directly competing with kin as much as possible, but this becomes more difficult in systems where interacting with kin cannot be avoided. Frog and toad tadpoles are one such case, as many species form aggregations, often comprised of siblings, before they are capable of leaving ponds. When resources are limited, larger tadpoles of many species have been seen to inhibit the growth of smaller individuals through the use of chemical signals; there is some evidence, however, of smaller tadpoles performing better when grouped with siblings rather than non-kin, even under poorer conditions, suggesting that siblings respond to one another's signals in a way that maximizes inclusive and individual fitness for everyone. I plan to use two species that differ in kin-aggregating tendencies (Bufo americanus and Hyla versicolor) to test the hypothesis that kin-aggregating species will respond to sibling signals by limiting growth rate when a sibling's marginal fitness benefits are greater, whereas species that do not exhibit kin preferences will show no change in competitive behavior regardless of the situation. Website: http://www.msu.edu/~garnett3/index.html

 

Name: Kate Glanville (k8g@msu.edu)
Department: Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
Advisor: Phil Robertson
Starting Year in Program: 2012
Research Location: KBS

 

Hanly_PictureName: Patrick Hanly (hanlypat@msu.edu)
Department: Zoology/EEBB
Advisor: Gary Mittelbach
Research Location: KBS and Lux Arbor Reserve
Starting Year in Program: 2010
Statement: I am broadly interested in understanding the processes that influence how communities of organisms assemble and fluctuate through time. Specifically, I utilize both natural and experimental plankton communities to investigate the interaction betwwen dispersal rate and establishment probability. I look at how this interaction is further shaped by the individual traits of species (e.g., body size and trophic position), as well as the attributes of communities (e.g., structure and stability). Additionally, I am compiling a database of global zooplankton distributions to assess the importance of long-term dispersal limitation at the regional scale.

 

kane_keller_002_150Name: Kane Keller (keller47@msu.edu)
Department: Plant Biology
Advisor: Jen Lau
Degrees Held: B.S., Integrative Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007; A.S. with Highest Honors, Rock Valley College, 2005
Starting Year in Program: 2007
Statement: My research explores processes that regulate community structure or determines assembly trajectories and the effects of multiple levels of diversity on ecosystem processes and evolution in prairie habitats. I am focusing on the interface between community ecology and evolution to explore topics such as: the independent and interactive effects of genetic diversity and propagule pressure on plant establishment and invasion into novel communities; and the effects of genetic and species diversity and genotypic order or arrival on community and ecosystem functions as well as the maintenance of these diversity patterns and their implications for the evolutionary potential of species. Additionally, I plan to explore how locally native switchgrass populations can be influenced by increasing agricultural switchgrass biofuel production and what consequences may arise from these plantations. Overall, I believe that understanding the mechanisms that drive community changes, determine species interactions, and influence the assembly of biodiversity would enhance the aestheticism of natural systems as well as the ability to recreate or restore communities.

 

DustinKincaidName: Dustin Kincaid (kincai32@msu.edu)
Department: Zoology
Advisor: Steve Hamilton
Degrees Held: B.S., Zoology & Biological Aspects of Conservation, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Starting Year in Program: 2011
Statement: I am broadly interested in understanding and predicting how freshwater ecosystems, mainly streams and wetlands, respond to environmental change and how these processes influence surface water chemistry and ecosystem productivity. I am specifically interested in the flux and transformations of nutrients and organic matter within these systems.

 

Melissa KjelvikName: Melissa Kjelvik (kjelvikm@msu.edu)
Department: Zoology and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior program (EEBB)
Advisor: Gary Mittelbach
Degrees Held: B.S., Natural Resources, 2007
Starting Year in Program: 2007
Research Interests: ecological tradeoffs, maintenance of intraspecific variation, foraging behavior, aquatic ecologyStatement: The overarching question that motivates my research is centered on how intraspecific variation can be maintained within a population. There are a variety of proposed mechanisms for the diversity of individual animal behaviors, or personalities, observed in nature. Two of these mechanisms include ecological tradeoffs and behavioral syndromes (correlated behavioral types, e.g. boldness, aggressiveness). I study foraging behavior in bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus) to examine the importance of maintaining various behavioral strategies within a population and the ecological consequences of opposing strategies. Much of the current research on behavioral syndromes, or animal personalities, is done in a laboratory setting. With the controlled environment of the pond lab facility at KBS, I am able to extend laboratory results to a more natural field setting.

 

Cara KriegName: Cara Krieg (kriegca1@msu.edu)

Department: Zoology
KBS Advisor: Tom Getty
Degrees Held: B.S., Biology, Grinnell College, 2010
Starting Year in Program: 2010
Statement: I'm broadly interested in behavioral ecology, specifically in behavioral interactions between individuals. My research focuses on the differences between female-female aggression and male-male aggression using the house wren (Troglodytes aedon). Studies of intrasexual aggression have historically focused on males, despite the fact that aggression between females is widespread and can have important impacts on breeding decisions and female fitness. Recent work comparing male and female aggression suggests female-female aggression may be relatively more responsive to the value of the contested resource. I am testing the hypothesis that these differences are caused by sex differences in the costs to losing an aggressive encounter.

Website: www.msu.edu/user/kriegca1/index.html

 

kuczinski_mike_150Name: Michael Kuczynski (kuczyns8@msu.edu)
Department: Zoology
Advisor: Tom Getty
Research Location: Kellogg Biological Station
Degrees Held: B.S., Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, Univ. of Minnesota, 2009
Starting Year in Program: 2009
Statement: I am broadly interested in communication and sexual selection. Specifically, I study how life history trade-offs affect sexual signaling in American toads (Bufo americanus). Many species face a trade-off between current and future reproductive effort: greater current sexual signaling and reproductive effort reduces longevity and future reproduction. Older individuals however experience reduced marginal costs of reproductive effort due to declining future reproductive opportunities. All else being equal, older, poor quality males are expected to signal as intensively as younger, high quality males. This could potentially reduce the correlation between observable signals and unobservable qualities of importance to females, which could affect reproductive and population dynamics. I utilize field recordings of the calling behavior of male toads of different ages and physical condition to examine these predictions.

 

Raffica_LaRosa_final_150Name: Raffica La Rosa (larosara@msu.edu)
Department: Plant Biology
Advisor: Jeff Conner
Starting Year in Program: 2006
Statement: My dissertation research is on the adaptation and evolution of novel floral parts in response to visiting pollinators. The questions I am working on are: how does natural selection produce evolutionarily novel structures, what traits are adaptive, and using a comparative approach, what is the outcome of selection on adaptations across species and environments? I am using members of the milkweed sub- family (Asclepiadoideae) to answer these questions because they have very unique flowers and are found in a variety of environments throughout the world. To measure direct selection, with the intent of identifying adaptations to pollinators, I will focus on three native species in the genus Asclepias.

 

LiangName: Di Liang (liangdi@msu.edu)
Department: Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
Advisor: Phil Robertson
Starting Year in Program: 2012
Degrees Held: B.S., Agricultural Resource and Environment, Huazhong Agricultural University, 2009; M.S., Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2012
Research Statement: My Master’s study focused on the effects of vegetation restoration (specifically retired slope farmland afforestation) on soil carbon sequestration in the Loess Plateau of China. From this summer, my proposed research at KBS will be more related to the mechanisms of ecological processes. Specifically, I am interested in exploring how NH4+ and NO3- pools relate to N2O emission in arable soil using δ15N tracer techniques. In addition, I will further look at N2O emission under different soil pH and soil moisture conditions and try to find out how human activities (e.g. nitrogen fertilizer application) affect soil nitrogen transformations at different scales.

 

Magnoli_150Name: Susan Magnoli (magnolis@msu.edu)
Department: Plant Biology
Advisor: Jen Lau
Degrees Held: M.S., Biology, Sonoma State University, 2011; B.S., Plant biology, UC-Davis, 2008
Starting Year in Program: 2011
Statement: My research interests are community ecology and invasion ecology. More specifically, I am interested in how the novel species interactions and ecosystem changes caused by exotic plant invasions affect community structure and diversity. My goal is to conduct research that both contributes to the management invaded ecosystems and improves our understanding of basic community ecology.

 

McGill_BonnieName: Bonnie McGill (mcgillbo@kbs.msu.edu)
Department: Zoology
Advisor: Steve Hamilton
Degrees Held: B.A., Biology, Washington & Jefferson College, 2006
Starting Year in Program: 2012
Statement: How do we as a society simultaneously grow enough food to feed our growing population while avoiding the ruination of the earth we rely on to grow this food? Driven by this colossal question, I've narrowed the scope of my research interests to the interactions between agroecosystem land management and water quality. Stay tuned for more specifics.

Website: www.msu.edu/~mcgillbo

 

Beth_MillerName: Beth Miller (mill1455@msu.edu)
Department: Plant Biology
Advisor: Chris Klausmeier
Research Location: Kellogg Biological Station
Starting Year in Program: 2009
Statement: My research looks at how communities assemble in seasonal environments. I study how the trait distribution of the phytoplankton community in a temperate freshwater lake changes through the year and how that correlates with changing conditions in the lake. I am interested in what drives that community assembly and whether by knowing those drivers we can predict how communities will respond to environmental change. I address these issues both through observational and experimental studies that quantify the trait distributions in the community as well as with mathematical techniques to understand how tradeoffs between traits could shape communities.

 

Name: Jakob Nalley (nalleyja@msu.edu) Nalley_Profile_GK12Pic
Department: Zoology and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior (EEBB)
Advisor: Elena Litchman
Research Location: Kellogg Biological Station
Degrees Held: B.S., Biological Sciences (emphasis in Ecology) and B.S., Environmental Science, 2011
Starting Year in Program: 2011
Research Interests: Community ecology, algal biofuels, climate change, sustainability, trait-based approaches, aquatic ecosystem ecology
Statement: I have a strong interest in anthropogenic climate change and how technological and scientific solutions can entwine to address issues of sustainability. My graduate work focuses primarily on the application of community ecology principles to algal biodiesel production, specifically investigating how large outdoor algal ponds can be efficient and high-yielding during fluctuating environmental conditions. My main objective is to construct a multi-species community of algae that will produce large yields of neutral lipids, the diesel feedstock. Through identifying and quantifying physiological parameters, such as growth rate, lipid % per cell, temperature range and nutrient requirements, I aim to select candidate algal species to construct a highly efficient and continuous high lipid-yielding polyculture. This work has very broad impacts, including addressing rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to algal biofuels potential carbon neutrality from production to consumption, and also reduction in overall fuel costs though creating a reliable and domestic energy source.

Website: jakobnalley.weebly.com

 

ODonnell_2012Name: Daniel O'Donnell (odonn146@msu.edu)
Department: Zoology
Advisor: Elena Litchman
Research Location: Kellogg Biological Station
Starting Year in Program: 2012
Statement: I am interested in trait-based community ecology of phytoplankton. I use both empirical and theoretical approaches to study the effects of temperature, nutrients, light, and zooplankton grazers on the evolution of phytoplankton traits involved in defense and resource competition. The empirical side of my research involves both experimental evolution of phytoplankton and laboratory and in-situ tests of the effects of abiotic and biotic variables on competitive outcomes and changes in phytoplankton community composition.

 

elizabeth_schultheis_2_150Name: Elizabeth Schultheis (schulth5@msu.edu)
Department: Plant Biology
Advisor: Jen Lau
Degrees Held: BA, Environmental Biology, Colgate University, 2008
Starting Year in Program: 2008
Research Interests: Community ecology and invasion biology
Statement: The number of invasive species is growing year-by-year, as plants, animals, and microbes are introduced into habitats where they did not historically occur. Invasive species are often destructive, causing over $137 billion in damages to native ecosystems and human interests around the world annually. Yet, despite all the problems they cause, we still do not know what causes some species to be invasive and not others. My research addresses this question by testing whether invasive species are those that are not strongly controlled by biotic interactions like competition, predation, and herbivory outside their native range. That is, they are successful invaders because they have left their natural enemies behind. I test this hypothesis using a combination of field and meta-analysis techniques, and can help determine what factors contribute to invasive species success.

 

Sprunger_action_shot_150Name: Christine Sprunger (sprunge5@msu.edu)
Department:
Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
Advisor:
Phil Robertson
Degrees Held:
B.A., Program on the Environment, University of Washington, 2010; B.S., Environmental Science and Resource Management, University of Washington, 2010
Starting Year in Program:
2010
Statement:
Agriculture has a tremendous ecological footprint, as it is a leading contributor to carbon dioxide emissions, and other potent greenhouse gases. However, certain management practices and agricultural landscapes have the potential to mitigate climate change, by sequestering carbon. My dissertation seeks to address carbon storage potential in different perennial grain crops and biofuel systems by examining root carbon quantity and quality.

Fully understanding soil carbon sequestration potential requires a better understanding of landowner and farmer behavior. Increasing soil organic matter on farm is a demanding task that takes several years to achieve and has significant economic costs. Thus, I am also interested in utilizing social science techniques to understand how farmers value soil health and what motivates farmers to adopt sustainable management practices that lead to carbon sequestration.

 

Tomomi_Suwa_150Name: Tomomi Suwa (suwatomo@msu.edu)
Department: Plant Biology and EEBB
Advisor: Jen Lau
Research Location: Kellogg Biological Station
Degrees Held: M.S., Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2008; B.Sc. (Honors), Ecology, University of Guelph, 2004
Starting Year in Program: 2008
Website: www.tomomisuwa.com
Statement: I am broadly interested in mutualism, species coexistence and diversity. Using plant-rhizobia interactions as a model system, I am currently working on two main projects:

  1. The potential ecological and evolutionary impacts of novel stressors (herbicides) on soil microbial organisms and, consequently, on crops that rely on the ecosystem services provided by the soil microbial community (e.g., nutrient availability, pathogen suppression).
  2. Effects of environmental stress (e.g. drought, light) on plant-rhizobia interaction in natural systems.

 

I am broadly interested in community and restoration ecology. Restoration attempts to promote biodiversity and ecosystem function but is often stricken by unpredictable outcomes when looked at through a plant species composition lens. My research attempts to understand the utility of plant functional traits as predictors of how communities assemble during restoration and, subsequently, how restored ecosystems function. I am studying the functional trait make-up of restored prairies in Michigan in order to answer questions related to the functional assembly of sites and functional convergence/divergence across sites. My research also addresses questions related to variation in functional traits within and across species and the relationship between functional traits and ecosystem function/services.


WilburnName: Paul Wilburn (wilburn4@msu.edu)
Department: Zoology
Advisor: Elena Litchman
Research Location: KBS and Lake Baikal, Russia
Degrees Held: B.S., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of California - Davis, 2008
Statement:
I combine field surveys and laboratory experiments to explore how metabolic constraints on plasticity and evolvability drive spatial and temporal heterogeneity of diverse phytoplankton taxa. My current thesis focus is to identify and trace the evolutionary history of ecologically-important metabolic adaptations in endemic and cosmopolitan diatoms that dominate open waters and shallow bays, respectively, in lake Baikal, Siberia. Lab experiments, combined with transcriptomic analyses will then be used to demonstrate the contrasting metabolic strategies of competing phytoplankton taxa in Baikal. I have a background in biochemistry and molecular biology and joined KBS as a grad student after four years in algal biotechnology industry.

 

Visiting Graduate Student

KBS Visiting Graduate Students are students at MSU or at other accredited colleges and universities who work at KBS, but whose major advisor is not a KBS faculty member. Visiting Graduate Students have a KBS faculty member as their sponsor/host.

 

BaskettName: Carina Baskett (baskettc@msu.edu)
Department: Plant Biology
Advisor: Doug Schemske
Degrees Held: B.S., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Rice University, 2010
Research Location: East Lansing and KBS
Starting Year in Program: 2011
Statement: The two big questions I am addressing in my dissertation research are related: How do evolutionary processes (adaptation, divergence, speciation, diversification) differ when the selective agents are biotic vs. abiotic? and Is diversification faster in the tropics, and can that be attributed to a latitudinal gradient in biotic interactions? Currently I am proposing an array of approaches to start to answer these questions: field observations and experiments, phylogenetic mapping of traits, experimental evolution, and analysis of large open datasets. I am still finalizing which of these approaches I will use for my dissertation research.

 

ACharbonneauName: Amanda Charbonneau (charbo24@msu.edu)
Dept.:
Genetics
Institution:
Michigan State University
KBS Advisor:
Jeff Conner
Degrees Held:
B.A., Biochemistry, Olivet College, 2005
Research Location:
KBS and MSU main campus
Starting Year in Program:
2011
Statement: Many organisms are locally adapted, and do poorly when transplanted out of their home environment, or when their home range undergoes extensive change. Weeds and invasive species however, are able to thrive under novel conditions, often to the determent of native species. I’m trying to understand how weeds and invasives can cope with new environments by studying the evolution of weedy phenotypes in radish. Radish has weedy and native populations, which are closely related, but are very different from one another in terms of flowering time, leaf morphology and several other traits. By comparing the genomes and physical characteristics of these plants, I hope to determine which genes allowed some radish to become agricultural weeds, and where those genes originated.

Once I have found some of these “weed” genes, I also want to compare them to crop radishes, which share some characteristics with weeds, to see if breeders and natural selection used the same strategies to attain those traits. This research will help us to better understand the origin and evolutionary history of this economically important weed, and whether there are multiple paths to weediness.

 

 

Riva_DennyName: Riva C. H. Denny (rchdenny@msu.edu)
Dept: Sociology
Institution: Michigan State University
KBS Advisor: Diana Stuart
Degrees Held: M.S., Rural Sociology, Auburn University, 2012; B.A., Anthropology, Boston University, 2008
Starting Year in Program: 2012
Statement: My interests (broadly) are in environmental sociology, agriculture, conservation and land use. More narrowly, I am interested in the interface between conservation and agriculture, influences on land-use decisions, and the role and effect of policies on these topics, though I haven't narrowed down my dissertation topic yet. Besides my departmental specialization in Environmental Sociology, I am in the Environmental Science and Policy Program (ESPP) specialization and the Ecological Food and Farming System (EFFS) specialization.

 

RyanDisney

Name: Ryan Disney (disneyry@msu.edu)
Department: GLBRC
Institution: Northwestern University and Chicago Botanic Garden
KBS Advisor: Katherine Gross
Degrees Held: B.S., Botany, Michigan State University, 2004
Research Location: KBS
Starting Year in Program: 2011



DittmarEmilyName: Emily Dittmar (dittmare@msu.edu)
Department: Plant Biology
KBS Advisor: Doug Schemske
Degrees Held: B.S., Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, Cedar Crest College, 2007
Research Location: Northern California
Starting Year in Program: 2012
Statement: I am interested in understanding the genes underlying adaptation to a local environment. It is still not known whether adaptation is commonly due to many or few genes, whether infividual genes have large or small effects on fitness, or whether genes control phenotypes through additive or epistatic mechanisms. The genetic architecture of adaptive traits is important to understand because it will influence the speed at which populations adapt to a new environment.

To study the genetic architecture of adaptive traits, I am studying a species of wildflower, Leptosiphon parviflorus, that grows on erpentine and sandstone soils. Serpentine soil commonly harbors endemic species due to the specific adaptations required to survive on this harsh soil. My study site has populations in close proximity to one another that are locally adapted to these different soil types. I am using field and greenhouse studies to study mechanisms of adaptation to serpentine soil, as well as doing sequencing to identify regions of the genome associated with serpentine adaptation.

 

Anna_GrovesName: Anna Groves (grovesa2@msu.edu)
Department: Plant Biology
KBS Advisor: Kay Gross
Degrees Held: B.A., Environmental Studies, Illinois Wesleyan University, 2011
Research Location: MSU and Lux Arbor Reserve
Starting Year in Program: 2012
Research Statement:

I'm interested in anthropogenic impacts on plant community assembly, from intensive agricultural land use and the spread of invasive species, to the restoration and conservation ecological systems.  I hope to better understand how these factors work together to mold plant community composition and function.  I am currently studying the relative contributions of non-target species that re-invade a restoration project from soil seed banks, dispersal from the adjacent landscape, and root stock and vegetation that remains on the site from before the restoration.  I'm also working in collaboration with my advisor, Lars Brudvig, and other prairie restoration ecologists across the U.S. prairie region to set up a research network to test basic restoration theory across a wide geographic gradient.

Website: http://www.annagroves.weebly.com

 

 

jubenville_150Name: Jeremy Jubenville (jubenvi3@msu.edu)
Department: Entomology
KBS Advisor: Jen Lau/Sofia Szendrei
Starting Year in Program: 2012
Research Statement: My interests are centered around insect ecology, conservation biological control, and sustainable agricultural practices. As a result, the predominant theme of my research is that of pesticide input reduction in annual cropping systems. Currently, I am investigating the biology and ecology of two celery insect pests: the celery leaftier (Udea rubigalis) and aphids. This work will consist of a variety of components including the identification of biological control agents, pheromone compound analysis, and the development of integrated pest management protocols. The ultimate goal is to develop economical pest management tactics and strategies that minimize disturbance and take advantage of the regulating services provided by our ecosystems.

 

Thomas_Koffel_-_PictureName: Thomas Koffel (thomas.koffel@u-psud.fr)
KBS Advisor:
Chris Klausmeier
Research Location:
Kellogg Biological Station
Institution:
University of Paris Sud
Research Statement:
As a student in theoretical ecology, I am interested in how interactions between living organisms determine ecological communities and eventually impact ecosystem functioning. I approach these questions mathematically, developing mechanistic models to describe simplified ecosystems, often in an evolutionary context. I apply those theoretical insights to the study and maintenance of ecosystem services, particularly in the context of sustainable agriculture.

During my visit at KBS, I am studying a simple ecosystem composed of a nutrient, a family of primary producers and an herbivore. I use a trait-based approach to investigate how the competitive outcomes of the system can be influenced by the autotroph's physiological constraints and other ecosystem parameters such as nutrient richness. I am applying those results to understand the adaptation and speciation of phytoplankton in response to the combined selective pressure of nutrient limitation and zooplankton grazing.

 

Anna_MillerName: Anna Miller (mille773@miamioh.edu)
KBS Advisor: Kay Gross
Research Location: Ott Biological Reserve (Battle Creek, MI)
Institution: Miami University
Lab Website: http://www.cas.miamioh.edu/botany/
Research Statement: I am broadly interested in forest community ecology and invasive species ecology.  My research focus is on the effects of emerald ash borer (EAB) on hardwood swamp forest structure and composition.  The study of the invasive beetle, emerald ash borer, on urban and upland habitats has been well documented.  However, the EAB front within hardwood swamps, a common community type in Michigan, has received much less attention.  My study aims to investigate the levels of EAB infestation in hardwood swamps in southern Michigan, asses these forests’ current structure and composition, and model future forest structure and composition in order to project how this swamp community type is expected to change in the future as a result of EAB.  I will be using the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Vegetation Simulator to model the forests based on the present data.  I will also use the simulator to model different scenarios, such as what the forest is expected to look like in ten years if the dead ash trees are cut down and removed.  A proactive approach with detection and modeling future changes will allow management agencies to get an idea of what species will likely replace ash in the canopy and how different scenarios will affect this outcome.

 

Muscarella_150Name: Mario Muscarella (mmuscare@indiana.edu)
KBS Advisor: Steve Hamilton
Research Location: Kellogg Biological Station
Institution: Indiana University
Degrees Held: B.S., Biology, Armstrong Atlantic State, 2008
Starting Year in Program: 2010

 

 

MpeketulaName: Placid Mpeketula (mpeketul@msu.edu)
Department:
Plant, Soil & Microbial Science
Advisor:
Sieg Snapp
Research Location:
Kellogg Biological Station
Degrees Held:
B.Ed., University of Malawi, 2002; M.Sc., Plant Protection, Bunda College of Agriculture, 2004
Starting Year in Program:
2012
Research Statement:
I am interested in understanding the role of soil fungi in mediating ecosystems processes.  Fungi are a major part of soil biodiversity, yet mechanisms driving their large-scale ecological ranges and distribution are poorly understood. My research focuses on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) which are ubiquitous obligate plant root symbionts. Studies are revealing that the role of AMF in both natural and managed ecosystems goes beyond the mutualistic association between the two partners. AMF play a key role in Carbon sequestration in soils.  However, due to cryptic lifestyles  of AMF,  knowledge about their community structure and composition under contrasting agroecosystems and management regimes remains enigmatic.  I am conducting my research in the Living Field Laboratory of the KBS-LTER to understand the influence of cropping system diversity on AMF species composition and ecosystem functions using genomic approaches   in relation to measures of  water stable aggregation and soil carbon accrual  in integrated nutrient management systems to address some of the existing  knowledge gaps.

I'm also working in collaboration with Prof Phil Robertson, Prof S. Snapp and Dr Jimmy Namangale (University of Malawi) in tropical agroecosystems on NSF funded Soil Carbon Mapping Project in Malawi and   on the establishment of long-term agroecosystems experimentation in Malawi to answer fundamental questions over broader geographical extents with the goal of improving soil fertility for sustainable agriculture and environmental benefits.

 

Ryan_Nagelkirk_photoName: Ryan Nagelkirk (nagelki4@msu.edu)
KBS Advisor: Bruno Basso
Research Location: Kellogg Biological Station
Institution: Michigan State University
Degrees Held: B.S., Environmental Geosciences, Michigan State University, 2012; B.S., Kinesiology, Michigan State University, 2007
Starting Year in Program: 2013
Research Statement: My research focuses on linking remote sensing and the System Approach to Land Use Sustainability (SALUS) crop model. This will allow precise, near real-time inputs to the crop model that will allow well-informed management strategies within fields exhibiting high spatial heterogeneities. I also work to simulate the long-term effects of climate change on agricultural systems and the management strategies that can minimize them. Finally, I conduct the spatial analysis of data, such as yield maps, that can then be used as inputs to SALUS.

 

 

OneillBDplotsName: Brendan O'Neill (oneill33@msu.edu)
Department: Crop and Soil Sciences
Advisor: Tom Schmidt
Research Location: Kellogg Biological Station (LTER)
Degrees Held: B.S., Biology, Indiana University, 2000; B.A., Spanish, Indiana University, 2001; M.Sc., Crop and Soil Science, Cornell University, 2007
Starting Year in Program: 2010
Research Statement: My research focuses on how cropping system diversity alters belowground ecosystem processes. I am conducting research on the Biodiversity Experiment of the LTER, and will monitor greenhouse gas flux, nutrient turnover potentials (primarily for carbon and nitrogen), and various measures of biological activity, such as soil enzyme activity. I will relate these processes to the composition of the soil microbial community using genomic analysis. A key question is whether cropping system diversity reshapes dominant ecosystem processes carried out by the microbial community. A goal of his work is to better understand controls on oil ecosystem function and relate them to sustainable farming practices and provisioning of ecosystems services.

 

Sam_PerezName: Sam Perez (perezsa4@msu.edu)
Department: Kellogg Biological Station/Plant Biology
Advisors: Jeff Conner
Degrees Held: B.A., Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard College, 2011
Research Location: KBS
Starting Year in Program: 2013
Research Statement: I am broadly interested in the evolution of floral traits, genetics of adaptation, and mating systems in plants.

 

ShchapovName: Kirill Shchapov (shchapov@msu.edu)

Institution: Irkutsk State University, Institute of Biology
Advisor: Elena Litchman
Research Location: Lake Baikal, Siberia/KBS
Degrees Held: B.S., Environmental Studies, Irkutsk State University, 2011
Research Statement: I am a graduate fellow of the Russian equivalent of NSF, here at KBS for one year. As a limnologist, I am interested in large lakes and their response to climate change. Our ability to predict and manage the impacts of climate change hinges on understanding of the way climate affects primary producers, which form the basis of freshwater food webs. While at KBS, I am exploring how lake surveys, lab experiments with phytoplankton and remote sensing can reveal the effects of limnological and meteorological factors on primary production in large lakes.

 

Name: Yahn-Jauh Su (yjsu1028@gmail.com)
Institution: University of Toledo
KBS Advisor: Steve Hamilton
Research Location: Kellogg Biological Station (Summer 2014)
Degrees Held: B.S., Biology, National Cheng Kung University, 1996; M.S., Zoology, National Taiwan University, 1999

 

Name: Sowmya Surapur (surapurs@msu.edu)
Department: Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
Advisor: Sieg Snapp
Research Location: KBS
Degrees Held: B.S., Nutritional Sciences, Michigan State University, 2012
Starting Year in Program: 2013
Research Statement: My research focus investigates the improvement in environmental and economical sustainability of field crop production with the use of cover crops. The key to optimal crop production is achieving synchrony between N supply and crop demand. Using cover crop incorporation as a means to tighten N availability by inducing immobilization in soil organic nitrogen pools needs to be further researched for cover crops to be considered an N management tool that can retain N in the system and support crop yields. Understanding the timing of nitrogen release needs further research to be able to predict N mineralization rates relative to crop demand for optimal and minimal N loss.

 

ZirbelName: Chad Zirbel (zirbelch@msu.edu)
Department: Plant Biology
Advisor: Lars Brudvig
Research Location: KBS
Degrees Held: B.S., Biological Aspects of Conservation, Honors in Physical Geography, Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2012
Starting Year in Program: 2012
Research Statement: I am broadly interested in community and restoration ecology. Restoration attempts to promote biodiversity and ecosystem function but is often stricken by unpredictable outcomes when looked at through a plant species composition lens. My research attempts to understand the utility of plant functional traits as predictors of how communities assemble during restoration and, subsequently, how restored ecosystems function. I am studying the functional trait make-up of restored prairies in Michigan in order to answer questions related to the functional assembly of sites and functional convergence/divergence across sites. My research also addresses questions related to variation in functional traits within and across species and the relationship between functional traits and ecosystem function/services.

Last Updated on Monday, 07 July 2014 13:04