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Thomas Crisman publishes study on headwater streams of Florida to develop a framework for water conservation
Florida is a state of abundant freshwater resources. Using a geographic information system and topographic maps, authors W. R. White (Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences, Univ of Florida, Gainesville, FL) and Thomas Crisman (USF Integrative Biology) surveyed 5,829 headwater streams in Florida, studying their elevation, stream length, flow regime, surrounding geology and vegetation to develop a framework for water conservation. Their survey assigned each headwater to one of four types: wetland, seep, lake or spring. Twenty-six rivers traverse the state, and were separated into four groups through cluster analysis of drainage density. Their study concludes that stream conservation efforts should focus on both highly complex dendritic river networks in the State's panhandle and on the more arid central portion of the State, an area that may become, in their words, "a signiﬁcant dispersal bottleneck for aquatic biota seeking refuge farther north from projected climate change." Read more about their study here.
Sarah Knutie publishes paper on potential of Darwin's finches to use insecticide-treated cotton to self-fumigate infested nests
Territorial isolation renders many species particularly vulnerable to introduced parasites to which the native hosts have developed no means of defense. The invading parasites can decimate native populations. The Galápagos Islands present such an environment, and the larvae of the parasitic nest fly Philornis dowsi, which feed on nestlings of finch on the island, is one of the introduced parasites. In some years, nests at a given location on the islands can fail at 100% due to infestations from this fly. In a study on the possibility that finches on the islands could be encouraged to carry out a self-fumigation campaign in their nests, authors Sarah Knutie (USF Integrative Biology), Sabrina McNew (Department of Biology, Univ of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT) and Andrew Bartlow (Facultad de Biosciencias, Univ. Autonoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain) treated cotton fibers with permethrin insecticide (with cotton fibers treated with water as a control group), offered the fibers to island finches, then studied the results. They found that the finches took the cotton to their nests, and nests fumigated with permethrin had significantly fewer parasites and fledged more offspring than nests treated with water, presenting a potential method to provide for parasite control in bird nests on the island. Read about their interesting study here.
Elizabeth Roznik, Post-doc in Integrative Biology, co-authors a paper on the effects of microenvironments on the growth of chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) on three frog species in Australia
Understanding the relationship between environmental factors and pathogen growth is an important factor in determining the ecological drivers of disease outbreaks, as is seen in the current Ebola outbreak in Africa. In a study of microenvironments and their effects on fungal growth and disease progression on three species of Australian frogs, authors Lisa Stevenson (School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook Univ, Townsville, Queensland, AU), Elizabeth Roznik (USF Integrative Biology), Ross Alford (School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook Univ, Townsville, Queensland, AU) and David Pike (School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook Univ, Townsville, Queensland, AU) determined whether the average natural thermal regimes experienced by sympatric frog species in nature, in and of themselves, can account for differences in vulnerability to disease. Using the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) infection as the disease model, the authors measured growth rates of fungal cultures grown under temperatures mimicking those experienced by wild frogs, and drew conclusions on how species-specific thermoregulatory behaviors influence disease progression. Read about their findings here.
Lynn (Marty) Martin co-authors paper on how the life history and demographics of small mammals affect the spread of tick-borne diseases in eastern North America
In a study on the variables involved in a species acting as a host reservoir to a pathogen, Lynn (Marty) Martin joined four other researchers to study the relationship between the life history and demographics of nine small eastern North American mammals which carry tick-borne diseases. This group of small mammals, including small rodents (such as eastern chipmunks and white-footed mice), and shrews, are among the most competent natural reservoirs for three tick-borne zoonotic pathogens, Borrelia burgdorferi, causing Lyme disease, Babesia microti, causing a malaria-like infection, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum, causing a bacterial infection of white blood cells. Their study found support for the hypothesis that the most competent wildlife reservoirs for the three pathogens were hosts that occurred in high population densities and had fast life histories compared to the other types of animals in the study. Read about their findings here.
Kathleen (KT) Scott was interviewed for a program on the science blogspot A Pint of Science
Few people have the adventure of diving into the depths of the ocean and actually observing the marine life at hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. Kathleen (KT) Scott is one of those people who have had that opportunity. In her studies at USF, KT specializes in the study of deep sea bacteria and their methods of adaptation to the harsh environment that they live in. A Pint of Science, an internationally syndicated Internet blog, interviewed KT about her fascinating work, and the remarkable life forms that she studies. Listen to her interview as she describes the fascinating world of bacteria and read more about her story here.
Leah Johnson joins a group of authors in a study on experimental evolutionary changes in Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and how these changes may affect virulence
Virulence of infectious pathogens can be unstable and evolve rapidly depending on the evolutionary dynamics of the organism. Experimental evolution can be used to characterize pathogen evolution, often with the underlying objective of understanding evolution of virulence. Using culture passages changes of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) as an experimental model, Leah Johnson and eight coauthors investigated changes in virulence expressed in the fungus as a function of lineage passage time. Starting with a single frozen stock, and allowing one line to pass 10 times and another 50 times, virulence and sporing capability were tested in vitro and the ability to infect a green tree frog host was tested for both experimental groups. Read more about their study here.
Thomas L. Crisman has been awarded a Jefferson Science Fellowship in the Department of State in Washington, D. C.
Thomas L. Crisman, professor in USF Integrative Biology, has been awarded a Jefferson Science Fellowship (JSF) in the Department of State in Washington, D. C., where he will serve as senior advisor on global water issues in the Office of Conservation and Water in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. The JSF program complements and enhances the existing efforts by the permanent staff within the U.S. Department of State/USAID. Following the initial fellowship year, the Jefferson Science Fellow will return to his/her academic career, but will remain available to the U.S. Department of State/USAID for short-term projects over the subsequent five years. Read more about Tom, the JSF fellowship, and his research here.
Stephen Deban co-authors paper on how temperature affects whole-organism performance, motor control and muscle contractile physiology in ballistic feeding in the salamander Eurycea guttolineata
Temperature strongly affects muscle contractile rate properties and thus may influence whole-organism performance. Movements powered by elastic recoil, however, are not affected by temperature as much as muscle-powered movements are. Authors Christopher Anderson (USF Integrative Biology, now at Brown University, Providence, RI), Nicholas Larghi (USF Integrative Biology, now at Florida Southern College, Lakeland, FL), and Stephen Deban (USF Integrative Biology) examined the whole-organism performance, motor control and muscle contractile physiology underlying feeding in the salamander Eurycea guttolineata. They compared elastically powered tongue projection to the associated muscle-powered retraction to determine the thermal robustness of each of these functional levels in the salamander over various temperature ranges. Read more about their study here.
Marc Lajeunesse receives National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to study ecology in the U. S. and in China
Marc Lajeunesse received a 2 year National Science Foundation (NSF) research grant to study issues in ecology in the United States and in China. Marc's project, titled "Workshop to advance theory and use of meta-analysis in ecology in the U. S. and China", will bring experts in meta-analysis together with ecology experts. The workshop is planned for 2015. Read more about Marc and the workshop here.
Lynn (Marty) Martin publishes study on physiological flexibility in house sparrows, allowing their range expansion
Lynn (Marty) Martin co-authored a paper with USF graduate Andrea Liebl on a study of how physiological flexibility in house sparrows (Passer domesticus) could enable the birds to better colonize new territory, expanding the range of the species. Read more about their study, which builds on their previous work with house sparrows, here.
Suzanne Young was awarded a US EPA STAR (Science to Achieve Results) Fellowship
Suzanne Young, doctoral candidate in Integrative Biology (Harwood/Rohr labs) won a competition for a US EPA STAR research Fellowship. The title of her research project was, "Effects of climate change on waterborne human pathogens and antibiotic resistant bacteria". Read more about Suzanne, her research work and award here.
Valerie (Jody) Harwood appointed Interim Chair of the USF Department of Integrative Biology
Valerie (Jody) Harwood has accepted the position of Interim Chair of the USF Department of Integrative Biology, filling the position vacated by Peter Stiling as he takes his new position in the Provost's office. Jody has had a successful career in the Department of Integrative Biology at USF since 1998, and is recognized as a world expert in water quality, microbiology, microbial source tracking and water contamination. Read more about her work here.
Peter Stiling, former Chair of the Department of Integrative Biology, accepts a position as Special Faculty Assistant in the USF Office to the Provost
Peter Stiling, Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology, is stepping down from his position as Department Chair in Integrative Biology to take a new position as Special Faculty Assistant in the USF Office to the Provost. Peter served as Chair in the IB Department for 3 years, during a transition and growth time for the Department. His new role at USF will also involve coordinating a STEM program across all USF Campuses and conducting feasibility studies for affiliation programs with outside organizations such as Sea|Mester and a USF London program. He will continue to teach classes in the IB Department. His new position begins August 7. Read about Peter's story here.
David Lewis co-authors paper on use of satellite imaging to evaluate soil parameters under dense vegetation of coastal wetlands
David Lewis co-authored a paper demonstrating the capabilities of remote satellite imaging in determining the soil parameters in areas densely covered with coastal vegetation. The authors investigated soil properties indicative of soil functions such as nutrient and organic matter turnover and storage. Their results demonstrate that remote-sensing spectral models can successfully predict soil properties indicative of ecosystem nutrient and organic matter turnover and storage, and do so in areas with dense canopy cover. Read about their study here.
Philip Motta to give lecture on feeding behavior of sharks and bony fishes at Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, August 12, 7-8PM
Philip Motta has been invited to give a lecture on his lab's research into the dynamics of shark and bony fish feeding behavior. The lecture is part of the Road Series lectures, held at the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. The title of Phil's talk is: "JAWSOME, Shark and Fish Research at the University of South Florida." For more information on attending this free lecture, and about Phil's research, look here.
Susan Bell publishes study on coastal urbanization and the quality of nekton habitat in mangrove tributaries
In a comparative study of various types of habitat found in tidal tributaries, Susan Bell co-authored a paper studying 11 undeveloped, agricultural, industrial and urban tidal tributaries in Tampa Bay, monitoring nekton (free-swimming organism) performance in the communities. Her study examined fish and crustacea for 11 parameters of health and life quality. Read about her interesting findings here.
Charlotte Stinson puts her biology training to good use at MOSI
Charlotte (Charly) Stinson, Ph.D. candidate in Integrative Biology, has been putting her biology and marine biology training to good use in Tampa Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) outreach programs and workshops. She has been working there since the spring of 2013, giving presentations to public school students and working with Boy and Girl Scout groups. Read more about Charly's story here.
Taegan McMahon awarded 2014 Outstanding Dissertation Award by USF Office of Graduate Studies
Taegan McMahon, Ph.D., was awarded an Outstanding Dissertation Award by the Office of Graduate Studies for her work: "Understanding Amphibian Decline: the Role of Pesticides and the Pathogenic Chytrid Fungus on Amphibians and Aquatic Communities". The award recognizes truly exceptional theses and dissertations submitted by students at USF. Read more about Taegan's award and her dissertation here.
Edward Haller co-authors study on chronic effects of ischemic stroke on the microvasculature of the brain
In the first ultrastructural study to demonstrate widespread damage to the microvascular system of the ipsilateral and contralateral sides of the brain in a chronic ischemic stroke model, researchers from the USF Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair and the Department of Integrative Biology collaborated in a study on stroke-damaged rat brains. The unique finding of this study is that damage was observed to components of the brain-blood barrier on both sides of the brain in stroke animals at 30 days post-ischemic stroke in regions distant from the initial area of ischemia. These findings suggest persistent and/or continued BBB damage in chronic ischemia. Read about their findings here.
Valerie (Jody) Harwood publishes research documenting parallel rain runoff behavior between poultry fecal contamination and Staph aureus bacteria
Using a rainfall simulator and vegetative strips, Valerie (Jody) Harwood joined two other researchers in demonstrating that fecal contamination from poultry was transported in runoff in a similar manner to Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp. bacteria. They used a microbial source tracking (MST) marker for poultry feces/litter (the 16S rRNA gene of Brevibacterium sp. LA35 [LA35] measured by quantitative PCR) and compared this marker with fecal bacteria flushed out in their experimental system. You can read about their findings here.
Rohr research group publishes article on amphibian resistance to chytrid fungus in the journal Nature
In a continuation of their research into the effects of the chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) on frogs, the Rohr lab, led by senior author Taegan McMahon, working with several outside investigators, discovered that 3 species of frogs can acquire behavioral or immunological resistance to the deadly fungus. Their studies showed that frogs learned to avoid the fungus after just one exposure and temperature-induced clearance. Read more about their study, published in Nature, here.
Philip Motta interviewed for "People Behind the Science" Radio Program
Philip Motta was interviewed for the June 24 radio broadcast of "People Behind the Science", a 7 day a week radio podcast featuring leading scientists from varied fields of research. The nearly 38 minute interview covered portions of Phil's personal life and upbringing as well as his education and his research work. You can find out more about Phil and listen to the entire engaging broadcast here.
Lynn (Marty) Martin invited as Fulbright Specialist to the Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Argentina
Lynn (Marty) Martin has been invited to come to the Universidad Nacional del Litoral in Sante Fe, Argentina, as a Fulbright Specialist, to present a series of lectures and workshops for faculty and students on eco-immunology. He will be presenting classes and field workshops, as well as giving lectures, covering subjects on methods for immunology, host-parasite evolution, behavioral ecology and psychoneuroimmunology, among other topics. You can read more about his upcoming trip to Argentina here.
Pauline Wanjugi and Valerie (Jody) Harwood co-author a paper on enteric bacterial motility and its effect on bacterial survival in water and sediment environments
Survival of enteric bacteria in aquatic habitats varies depending upon species, strain, and environmental pressures. Mechanisms governing their fate are poorly understood. Authors Pauline Wanjugi and Valerie (Jody) Harwood compare the survival of two motile pathogens of fecal origin by culturing Escherichia coli O157 and Salmonella enterica Typhimurium. Each species has a motile and non-motile counterpart and were cultured in out-door microcosms with protozoan predators (Tetrahymena pyriformis) present or absent. Bacteria were studied in both water and sediment environments. Read more about their study here.
Lauren VanMaurik co-authors a paper on the setal morphology of the commercially important freshwater shrimp Macrobrachium rosenbergii
Using scanning electron microscopy, authors Jennifer Wortham (Univ. of Tampa, Tampa, FL), Lauren VanMaurik (USF Integrative Biology), and W. Wayne Price (Univ. of Tampa, Tampa, FL) examined the setal structures and their arrangement on the grooming appendages and sensory structures of the commercially important shrimp, Macrobrachium rosenbergii. Three male morphotypes and the female shrimp are described in the paper, accompanied with SEM photography of the setae. A literature review of terminology related to the structure of setae and setal types in decapod crustaceans is offered as the usage of various terms is ambiguous and conﬂicting in the literature. Read more about their study here.
Courtney Coon, Amber Brace and Lynn (Marty) Martin co-author a paper on the coping abilities of introduced and native congeners dealing with parasitic infections
Hosts manage parasitic infections using an array of tactics that develop with time and exposure of generations of a species to the parasite. The authors explore whether coping ability of congeners that differ in host-parasite coevolutionary history differed in response to experimental infections with a coccidian parasite. Using non-native (invasive) house sparrows and native gray-headed sparrows, the authors expose both groups of birds to the parasite, and measured physiological and biochemical responses of the birds to the infection. Read more about their study here.
Earl McCoy and Henry Mushinsky co-publish comprehensive guide to North American tortoises
Earl McCoy, Henry Mushinsky and David Rostal co-published the first comprehensive guide to North American tortoises. The 208 page book covers everything about the long-lived herbivores from paleontology to morphology to diet, behavior and conservation. Read more about their new book here.
Lynn (Marty) Martin elected Chair of Division of Ecoimmunology and Disease Ecology at SICB
Lynn (Marty) Martin was elected Chair of the newly formed Division of Ecoimmunology and Disease Ecology of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. The new division was established by SICB in January 2014, formed "to facilitate communication, research, and data sharing among ecoimmunologists and disease ecologists." Read the full story about Marty's new appointment here.
Peter Stiling helps evaluate Sea|mester Caribbean Cruise Program
In April, Peter Stiling joined Amanda Maurer and Thomas Juster on a USF-sponsored trip to the Caribbean, where they boarded the sailboat Ocean Star to evaluate classes in seamanship, student leadership, oceanography, and marine biology offered by Sea|mester, an organization that teaches college classes at sea. They joined 11 students and their instructors on the boat at St. Eustatius to observe the rigor of their classes. Read the full story about their trip here.
Kaitlin Deutsch awarded 2014 Barry Goldwater Scholarship
Kaitlin Deutsch, a junior in the Honors College and CAS with a double major in biology and environmental science and policy, is one of three USF students to be awarded a 2014 Barry Goldwater scholarship. Kaitlin is an undergraduate research assistant in Jason Rohr's lab, studying chytrid fungus. Read the full story about Kaitlin's Goldwater Scholarship here.
National Geographic TV featured Skip Pierce and photosynthetic sea slugs on Invisible Nature program
Sidney (Skip) Pierce featured on a National Geographic "Invisible Nature" broadcast June 25. The program explored plants and photosynthesis. Skip has been studying sea slugs for years, and their ability to ingest algae chloroplasts, and to maintain photosynthesis as a result of their diet. Read more about Skip's work and watch the video clip about these amazing photosynthetic sea slugs here.
Viviana Penuela receives McKnight Doctoral Fellowship award
Viviana Penuela received a three year McKnight Doctoral Fellowship award for her proposed studies on the effects of potable or reclaimed water irrigation of urban lawns on soil chemistry. Read the full story about her research project here.
Jamie Gluvna awarded her second Unruh Book Scholarship from Fern Garden Society
Jamie Gluvna was awarded her second Unruh Book Scholarship from the Fern Garden Club (FGC) of Odessa. Jamie won her first scholarship in 2013. Her research focuses on the longleaf pine (Pinus palustris). Read the full story about her Unruh Scholarship here.
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