MOLECULAR ECOLOGY LABORATORY

 
 

LAB NEWS AND VIEWS







September 2014

An IOSC proceedings article co-authored by Bri on the outcomes of remediating oiled shorelines through planting foundational species (i.e., Spartina) is now available online here:


http://ioscproceedings.org/doi/full/10.7901/2169-3358-2014.1.1985.


Mike speaks at the opening reception of the Society of Environmental Journalists (alongside Geoff Morrell, Sr VP of Public Affairs of BP) on the science of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.


Mike and lab alum Derek Hogan travel to Hawaii to begin preparations for a long-term study on aquatic invasive species control. 



August 2014

Grace Sprehn has successfully completed her MS thesis on the landscape genetics of Schistocephalus solidus!


Wayne Zipperer visits Tulane to work with Josh Lewis and Rebecca Hazen on urban forest surveys across New Orleans.


Demetra presents on Spartina endophyte responses to oil exposure at the ESA annual conference.


Bri presents on ecosystem outcomes of Spartina genotypic variation at the international Spartina conference in France.



July 2014

Our SERDP proposal on the control and mitigation of aquatic invasive species in Hawaii has been recommended for funding!


Erick presents on comparative host-parasite population genetics at Parasitology 2014 in New Orleans.


Demetra presents on Spartina endophyte responses to oil exposure at CEER 2014 in New Orleans.



June 2014

The CNH project is now well underway, with rodent trapping and forest inventories proceeding across the city.


Erick presents on temporal variation in parasitism of native Hawaiian fishes at the 2014 Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease meeting in Fort Collins, CO.



May 2014

Congratulations to Greg Glotzbecker, who just married

New Orleans native Ashley Renee (Glotzbecker)! The

reception and celebrations proceeded while torrential

rains fell (literally, flash flood warnings were issued)

....so New Orleans.


It’s official! Lab alum Ryan Walter will be a new Assistant Professor at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) starting in Fall 2014!!


Grace Sprehn has successfully presented her MS thesis work on the landscape genetics of the stickleback cestode parasite, Schistocephalus solidus!



April 2014

Congratulations to lab alum Daniel Drabeck, who just married long-term partner Wilson Goss in a wedding tailored for New Orleanians!


Ongoing studies, led by Demetra, Sunshine Van Bael, and Mike on shoreline restoration and Spartina endophyte responses to oil exposure has been featured in an article on ecosystem recovery four years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. See here for more details:


http://www.nola.com/environment/index.ssf/2014/04/bp_oil_spill_scientists_strugg.html



March 2014

Mike visits with colleagues and presents a seminar at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, MS.


Mike travels to Houston to attend the State of the Gulf conference.



February 2014

Mike and colleagues assisted with the announcement of Tulane’s inaugural Grand Challenge focusing on hypoxia and nutrient reduction in riverine and coastal environments. See here for more details:


http://tulane.edu/tulaneprize/waterprize/index.cfm


...and see here for some of the news coverage of the event:


http://www.wwltv.com/news/1-Million-Contest-For-Solution-To-Dead-Zones-245870711.html

http://www.fox8live.com/story/24747407/tulane-offers-1-million-prize-for-solutions-to-gulf-dead-zone

http://www.nola.com/environment/index.ssf/2014/02/tulane_1_million_prize_aimed_a.html

http://www.kptv.com/story/24747407/tulane-offers-1-million-prize-for-solutions-to-gulf-dead-zone

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/feb/18/tulane-offers-1m-to-solve-dead-zone/

http://www.examiner.com/article/tulane-answers-president-s-challenge-with-1m-prize-to-combat-dead-zones?cid=rss


Lab alum Evon Hekkala has been in the news lately! Here is a recent biofeature of her work:


http://scienceline.org/2014/02/the-crocodile-time-traveler/


Our paper, led by Derek Hogan, on life-long outcomes of life history variation in gobies native to Hawaiian streams was just accepted for publication in Ecology!



January 2014

Mike and colleagues have been awarded the SERDP RC Project of the Year Award for research on water quality and conservation of native species in Pacific Island streams!


New PhD students, Bruno Ghersi Chavez and Anna Peterson, visit NOLA!


Stasia Widerynski officially joins the Urban Forestry research team-  welcome to the lab, Stasia!



December 2013

Sadly, Sabrina has moved on to bigger and better things in Florida- we all have greatly benefited from her contributions and will miss her (...come visit anytime!)


Mike and colleagues visit Turtle Cove to discuss collaborations with faculty at Southeastern Louisiana University.


Mike and colleagues get some press for the CNH “rat” project, including interviews with NPR! See here for more:


National Public Radio: http://www.npr.org/2013/12/10/248506088/new-orleans-rat-fighters-go-beyond-baiting-traps

WWNO Public Radio: http://wwno.org/post/tulane-researchers-focusing-urban-rats

The New Orleans Times-Picayune: http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2013/11/the_latest_katrina_study_is_al.html



November 2013

Mike travels to DC to participate in a Nutrient Visioneering meeting at the White House, hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.


Rebecca Hazen travels to Austin, TX to present her research at the Entomological Society of America's Annual meeting.  Her beloved Subaru and a giant Texas deer meet there demise to get her there, but the talk was great.  Check out the abstract here.


Amber Fessler's grant proposal to Newcomb College Institue is funded- welcome to the lab, Amber!



October 2013

An unusually subdued month, as Mike continues to work with others on the SERDP project final report.



September 2013

Mike travels to Nicholls State University to participate in a briefing of the National Academy of Sciences Gulf Program.


Mike travels to Houston to visit the Kohn lab and to give a seminar at Rice University.


Mike travels to Baton Rouge to give a seminar at the LSU Museum of Natural Science.



August 2013

Our paper comparing rarity and abundance of invasive species relative to native species, led by Gretchen Hanson at the University of Wisconsin, has been accepted and is in press at PLoS One!


Demetra is at MBL taking the STAMPS intensive course on microbial metagenomics.


Bri is at the annual ESA conference presenting a paper on Spartina genotypic variation giving rise to emergent differences in salt marsh ecosystem processes.


Mike is co-hosting academic and industry workshops- with colleagues from TNC, LSU, The Water Institute, and GNO Inc- on innovation in coastal restoration.


Mike has been appointed the Director of the Tulane-Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research!


July 2013

Mike travels to Albuquerque to participate in the “Fish Out of Water” symposium at this year’s JMIH conference.


Demetra Kandapelas joins the lab to collaborate on a study of the Spartina rhizosphere microbiome!


Mike travels to Annapolis to visit collaborators

at SERC to discuss logistics of carrying out research

on eco-evolutionary responses of coastal marsh

plants to climate change.





June 2013

Mike travels to the Netherlands with a team hosted by

the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to visit Deltares and

to learn about the Delta Works.


Our proposal on diversity and disease across post-Katrina

New Orleans has been recommended for funding through       

the NSF CNH program!


Erick travels to Quebec City to present his work on the

influence of precipitation on an invasive parasite of Hawaiian

stream fishes at the annual meeting of the American Society

of Parasitologists.




May 2013

Mark and Rebecca's species description of the North American Tallow Leaf Roller is accepted and in press in the Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society!


Our paper on cryptic invasions and spread of non-native amphipods across Pacific coast estuaries has just been published online in Biological Invasions!


Mike leads a team of Tulane faculty on a visit to Woods Hole to continue discussions on collaborative research and educational initiatives.


Mike moderates a panel discussion on coastal restoration at the Louisiana State Museum.


Wayne Zipperer visits Tulane to work with Josh Lewis, Rebecca Hazen and Nate Cooper to kick off the second generation urban forest survey across New Orleans.


Mike and Shelley spend Tulane’s “rotunda day” at the state capitol to promote the riverfront campus project.


Madeline Dickson successfully defends her senior honors thesis on reproductive isolation and hybridization between Cyprinella minnows!




April 2013

Through funding from Tulane, the EDA, and DRA, as well as

support from Trahan Architects, the riverfront campus project

officially begins!


Pete McIntyre, Derek Hogan, Jim Gilliam and others visit Tulane for a Hawaii project team meeting.


Mike travels to Philadelphia to visit Drexel and the Academy of Natural Sciences.


With Rich Campanella, Mike co-hosts a session on coastal restoration at the Tulane Engineering Forum.



March 2013

In collaboration with the Energy Institute, Mike (vis-a-vis the CBR) is co-hosting a faculty workshop on Energy, Environment, and Sustainability at the Tulane Business School.


Mike is up in Washington DC serving on an NSF review panel.



February 2013

Our paper, led by Chad Ferguson, on the relatedness, population structure and spermatozoa dispersal of freshwater mussels has just been published online in Freshwater Science!


Mike is participating in the ESA Strategies for Education in Ecology, Diversity and Sustainability (SEEDS) Leadership Meeting at Dillard University.



January 2013

Happy new year- the lab is having quite a busy month! With a half dozen grant proposals submitted and winter-seasonal field work completed, members of the lab went on to present their work at the annual Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science conference in New Orleans. Both Elizabeth Jarrell and Bri Bernik presented on their work. Bri’s presentation was mentioned in the Times Picayune assessment of the conference, here:


http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2013/01/scientists_gather_in_new_orlea.html



Right before the conference, Mike co-hosted a France-Louisiana

Colloquium on coastal conservation with the French Embassy and

the Tulane Institute of Water Resources Law & Policy. Right on the

heels of the conference, Mike hosted a group of visiting researchers

from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to discuss oil spill and

coastal restoration research opportunities.


Mike, Liz and Ginny are taking a talking tour of the Northeast, visiting

Yale and then U Mass Amherst (with excursions to Princeton and NYC).



December 2012

A paper co-authored by Mark Fox on the systematics of New World

Olixon wasps has just been published in  Deutsche Entomologische

Zeitschrift!






November 2012

Sadly, Zhao Dan (aka Danny) has left for home, returning to East China

Normal University in Shanghai. We all miss her, and look forward to

seeing her again soon (in China!).


Mike is being featured in the forthcoming New Orleans episode of

“Ports D’Attache”, a documentary series produced by TV5 (Canada)

on port cities across the world.


Our paper, in collaboration with the US EPA, on cryptic invasions and spread of non-native amphipods across Pacific coast estuaries has just been accepted for publication in Biological Invasions!



October 2012

Fleur Porter, Erick Gagne, and Grace Sprehn are presenting their work on the population genetics of host-parasite interactions at the 11th International Conference on Molecular Epidemiology and Evolutionary Genetics of Infectious Diseases in New Orleans. 










Brittany Bernik has passed her qualifying exam!


Our paper, led by Chad Ferguson, on the relatedness, population structure and spermatozoa dispersal of freshwater mussels has just been accepted for publication in Freshwater Science!


Mike is in Columbus (OH) for the 2012 EcoSummit meeting on ecosystem services, sustainability and resilience.



September 2012

After a brief, hurricane-induced delay, the semester has finally gotten into full swing. Mike is teaching EEBIO 2050 (Global Change Biology) this fall. Grad students and undergrads alike are back on campus, after most spent their respective summers working elsewhere.


With the Payson Center, the Law School, and the CBR, Mike helped host the 5th Tulane-East China Normal University Ecopartnership Forum.












August 2012

Mike has been appointed the Eugenie Schwartz Professor of River and Coastal Studies!


Mike has also been appointed the Interim Director of the Tulane-Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research!


Fleur Porter has taken the plunge- she has just transferred to EEB to pursue a PhD in the urban ecology of infectious disease!



July 2012

Our paper, led by Jess Ward, on the loss of reproductive isolation following exposure to BPA has been selected as an Editors’ Choice at Evolutionary Applications, and has been receiving quite a lot of media coverage, including the following:


Sciencedaily.com: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120711074232.htm

Scientific American: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2012/07/11/mating-with-the-wrong-species-plastics-make-it-possible/

The New Scientist: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22047-plastic-ingredient-makes-fish-court-other-species.html



June 2012

Elizabeth Jarrell has taken the plunge! She has just joined the EEBIO doctoral program. Elizabeth will be pursuing research on coastal wetland ecology, conservation and management. 


Zhao Dan (aka Danny), from East China Normal University in Shanghai, will be working with us for the next 6 months. Welcome!



May 2012

Rebecca Hazen has passed her qualifying exam!


Our paper, led by Jess Ward (now at U of Minnesota), on the loss of reproductive isolation between invasive red shiner and native blacktail shiner following exposure to an environmental estrogen has just been accepted at Evolutionary Applications!


Our NSF proposal on water sustainability and climate in the lower Mississippi River Delta has been recommended for funding!


Mike has just been promoted with tenure! Starting July 1, Mike will be an Associate Professor.


Mike is visiting Washington DC to discuss progress-to-date on SERDP funded work in Hawaii.



April 2012

Cassie Campbell, Grace Sprehn, and Frida Zink have all successfully defended their senior honors theses!


Our Bioscience paper on the science policy implications of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, resulting from participation in the NCEAS-sponsored Gulf Ecotoxicology working group, is receiving quite a lot of media coverage, including:


National Science Foundation: http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=123941&org=NSF

The Times-Picayune: http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2012/04/scientists_find_cause_for_conc.html

Sciencedaily.com: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120420123903.htm


Mike is visiting Cape Cod (MA) to meet with folks at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution about potential collaborations for research on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.


Mike is in Mt. Pleasant (MI) visiting with Anna Monfils and her colleagues at Central Michigan University to present a departmental seminar and to work on Schoenoplectus systematics.



MARCH 2012

A series of five articles (yes, FIVE articles!) authored or co-authored by Mark Fox and Rebecca Hazen on citizen scientists in research are soon to be released from talks presented during a symposium held at the 2011 Entomological Society of America meeting.


Work being done by Mike in the Lower 9th Ward (in collaboration with colleagues at Tulane, UNO, Xavier and elsewhere) on developing New Orleans as an urban long term research area (ULTRA) was recently featured in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. Read the article here:


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/magazine/the-lower-ninth-ward-new-orleans.html?_r=1&ref=magazine


Erick Gagne is in Orlando (FL) presenting his work on the spread of non-native parasites

at the annual Morris Animal Foundation Wildlife Meeting



FEBRUARY 2012

Straight from Clemson, where she worked with Dr. Margaret Ptacek and Kristine

Moody, Sabrina Hunter has joined the lab to assist with all-things-molecular!



JANUARY 2012

The long anticipated event has finally happened- weighing in at 8lbs 1.5 oz,

Virginia French Blum  joined the EEBIO community at 10:19AM on JAN 23rd!


Fleur Porter has joined the lab (co-advised with David Heins) to pursue a MS

degree on the population genetics of parasites while also pursuing a degree

focusing on infectious disease through the School of Public Health and

Tropical Medicine



DECEMBER 2011

Mark Fox has passed his qualifying exam!


Our paper, led by Ian Mendenhall (now at Duke U), on the genetic structure of Culex erraticus, has just been accepted at the Journal of Medical Entomology!



NOVEMBER 2011

Mike is in Washington DC for the annual SERDP-ESTCP conference to present a poster on genetic assessment of aquatic environmental condition across Pacific islands.


Erick Gagne has passed his qualifying exam!


Travis Haas and Erick Gagne are in Chattanooga for the annual Southeastern Fishes Council meeting to present talks on blacktail shiner responses to flow conditions and the phylogenetics of the genus Semotilus.


Our paper, led by Ryan Walter (now at Windsor U) on the conservation of amphidromous fish under future climate conditions has just been accepted at Endangered Species Research!


Our paper, led by Dan Lindstrom (now at U of Guam), on the taxonomy and phylogeography of Awaous guamensis has just been accepted at Copeia!


Our paper, led by Jess Ward (now at U of Minnesota), on introgression across the Coosa River red shiner x blacktail shiner hybrid swarm has just been accepted at Evolutionary Applications!



OCTOBER 2011

Our paper on the science policy implications of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, resulting from participation in the NCEAS-sponsored Gulf Ecotoxicology working group, has just been accepted at Bioscience!



SEPTEMBER 2011

Our paper, led by Evon Hekkala (now at Fordham), on Crocodilian

evolutionary relationships and conservation genetics of Nile crocodiles

in Molecular Ecology has been receiving quite a bit of media coverage,

including recent articles in Nature News and Discover Magazine:


    http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110914/full/news.2011.535.html

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2011/09/14/nile-crocodile-is-actually-two-species-and-the-egyptians-knew-it/



The fall semester has begun! Mike is teaching Global Change Biology (EEBIO 2050). Several members of the lab are back on campus again, including Erick Gagne who has returned from Hawaii, and Tim Tate who has returned to work on the Hawaii project.



AUGUST 2011

Mike and Liz are having a baby!


Mike is at the ESA conference in Austin presenting on the

New Orleans ULTRA-EX project in a special symposium on

urban stewardship. The symposium was just noted in The

New York Times!


       http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/11/as-ecosystems-cities-yield-some-surprises/?src=tp#preview


Mike makes an appearance in “Oil & Water”, a graphic novel about

the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, by Steve Duin and Shannon Wheeler.

The novel is scheduled to be released in December. Pre-order your

copy now! 


Our NSF proposal for the acquisition of a high-throughput DNA

sequencer has been recommended for funding!



JULY 2011

Our paper, led by Evon Hekkala (now at Fordham), on Crocodilian evolutionary relationships and conservation genetics of Nile crocodiles was just accepted for publication in Molecular Ecology (for the cover, no less)!


Mike, Bri and our collaborators at Tulane U. and Columbia U.

are being featured in the “Wonders of the Modern World”

documentary produced by Channel 4 (UK) and Discovery Canada





JUNE 2011

Our paper (DOI: 10.1007/s10592-011-0229-6), led by Evon Hekkala (now at Fordham) on Rana fisheri in Conservation Genetics was just noted in The New York Times and the New Scientist!

        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/21/science/21obfrog.html?ref=science

            http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21028173.600-extinct-frog-was-under-our-noses-all-the-time.html


Jess Ward is at Evolution 2011 presenting her work on the breakdown of sexual isolation in fishes following exposure to an environmental estrogen


James Meurer-Saavedra has joined the lab to work with Greg Glotzbecker on hybridization of native and non-native fishes in the Coosa River basin


Our paper on genetic estimates of fish dispersal was just accepted for publication in Ecology of Freshwater Fish!


Our paper on parallel patterns of genetic diversity and species diversity in freshwater fishes was just accepted for publication in Oecologia!


Elizabeth Jarrell has joined our group to oversee the molecular

ecology lab (...and to hopefully save us from ourselves!)


Our paper on the conservation genetics of the endangered

Chinese plant Monimopetalum chinense has just been accepted

for publication in Biochemical Systematics and Ecology!


Funded by a grant from the Morris Foundation, Erick Gagne has started his summer field season investigating parasitism and the effects of climate change on native amphidromous fishes in Hawaii












MAY 2011

Brittany Bernik has been awarded a prestigious EPA STAR Graduate Fellowship (!!) to work on the ecosystem effects of genotypic variation in salt marsh plants


Kristine Moody is visiting New Orleans for the better part of the summer to work with us on the population genetics of amphidromous gobies in Hawaii. Her partner in crime, Sabrina Hunter, is set to arrive in June.


Cassie Campbell has joined the lab to carry out a senior honors thesis on salt marsh plant responses to oil exposure


Grace Sprehn is beginning her senior honors thesis (supported by an award from the Newcomb Foundation) on the population genetics of non-native parasites in native amphidromous fishes in Hawaii


Supported by a co-op with the US Forest Service, Rebecca Hazen and Nathan Cooper have begun a second season of field work surveying the urban forest of New Orleans




APRIL 2011

Members of the lab have joined a collaboration involving partners at

UCLA, UC Berkeley, Nicholls State University and industry (including

Kevin Costner, featured to the right) to demonstrate “green” techniques

for remediating oil from Louisiana salt marshes affected by the

Deepwater Horizon oil spill


Our collaborators on a NSF-funded project investigating “green”

methods for oil spill remediation have been recently noted in

The New York Times and National Geographic!

       http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/04/20/20greenwire-scientists-brew-green-dispersants-in-gulf-s

            pil-37018.html?scp=1&sq=scientists%20brew%20green%20dispersants&st=cse


            http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/04/110405-nsf-oil-somasundaran-video/


Mike and Liz Derryberry visited the Dept of Biology at Sewanee College (aka The University of the South) to present seminars on fish invasions and the evolution of bird song.


The Molecular Ecology Laboratory at Tulane University, led by Dr. Michael Blum, pursues research on contemporary & emerging environmental issues including land use impacts on aquatic ecosystems, the spread of non-native species, and climate change. By addressing fundamental and applied questions in ecology and evolutionary biology, members of the lab aim to improve natural resource management and biological conservation.

Interested in joining the lab? Undergraduate students are encouraged to contact Dr. Blum about opportunities to undertake independent or honors research. Prospective graduate students and postdoctoral researchers also should contact Dr. Blum for information about the lab and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Baby :)

Erick Gagne on Molokai

Danny in

the marsh

Greg &

Erick at the

reception