Dan was honored by the Entomological Society of America’s Eastern Branch with the Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching! UMD Entomology colleagues also receiving ESA EB awards this cycle from the Eastern Branch include Drs. Karin Burghardt and Margaret Lewis for the Excellence in Early Career Award and John Henry Comstock Award for best dissertation, respectively!
Dr. Tielens will use NEXRAD atmospheric radar with data from the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) to study aerial feeding and population change of purple martins, tree swallows, and Mexican free-tailed bats.
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Graduate Research Fellowship Program Award goes to 2 Gruner Alum! THE NSF GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees. The awardees are:
Lily Durkee (B.S. ’18, biological sciences) with Gruner Lab, now MS student at Colorado State University.
Kristin Jayd (B.S. '19, Environmental Science and Policy) starting entomology grad program in fall 2020 w/ Burghardt Lab. Her current research focus is on parasitoids and their relationships, and how tree diversity shapes them.
Congratulations Mayda Nathan (PhD student, Gruner Lab) on being selected to receive the Ecological Society of America's Katherine S. McCarter Graduate Student Policy Award! Mayda is currently studying the recent northward range expansion of Florida’s mangroves. As a recipient of the award Mayda will meet with lawmakers and advocate for federal funding for biological and ecological sciences.
Follow link to read ESA's press release:
Kristin Jayd (Undergraduate, Gruner Lab) particpated in a poster presentation at the fifth Mangrove Macrobenthos and Management meeting held in Singapore this year. Her poster, titled "Patterns of Mangrove Seedling Herbivory Across a Salinity Gradient", presented her work done last summer in Kosrae, FSM. Currently Jade is interning at the Smithsonian Entomology Collection at the Natural History Museum, working on micro-hymenoptera from Singapore mangrove forests. The location of this year's meeting was opportune Kristin says, "I was able to connect with people who have done the field work for that project, which I hope to roll into graduate study next year via the University of Maryland College Park’s Certificate in Museum Scholarship and Material Culture."
Over the last two semesters, Betsy has analyzed spider communities in the Hawaiian Islands in Dr. Gruner’s lab. Her goal is to gain a better understanding of which ecosystem factors influence the assemblage of a predator community. Because Hawaii is made up of several volcanic islands of differing ages, it is a good system for studying differences in communities at different stages of primary community assembly. She says, “So far, I have found that age is not a good predictor for abundance of most spider families; instead, their abundance may be based on other environmental factors, like canopy structure or available plant types. Recently, I have also joined a project studying parasitoids of the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive pest in the United States.”
Congratulations to Associate Professors Daniel Gruner & Dennis vanEngelsdorp for making the Clarivate Analytics’ 2018 list of Highly Cited Researchers, a compilation of influential names in science.
Gruner studies insects and plants to explore the dynamic interplay of biodiversity, food web interactions and ecosystem function in rapidly changing environments.
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Congratulations to biological sciences student Lily Durkee who successfully presented their entomology honors thesis. Lily Durkee's thesis title, "Does goose exclusion impact the benthic macroinvertebrate community of a restored freshwater marsh?"
Lily Durkee is now an MS student at Colorado State University. In 2020, Durkee received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Award!
Dr. Megan Fritz quoted in The Scientist commenting on Dr. Daniel Gruner's research publication titled, "Local extinction of the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) following rat eradication on Palmyra Atoll."
Quote: “This is an interesting paper that opens up the fascinating possibility that eradicating one human-introduced pest, which would be the rats, could lead to the secondary elimination of another human-introduced pest, A. albopictus,” says entomologist Megan Fritz of the University of Maryland who was not involved with the study. “The findings have implications for conservation biology and habitat restoration and possibly even human health in sparsely populated tropical island communities.” Read more>>
Lily Durkee has been working with the Gruner Lab since the summer before her senior year of high school. It was because of this incredible experience that summer that she decided to attend UMD as an undergraduate student and pursue a degree in Ecology and Evolution. Currently, she is working towards completing an Honors Thesis within the Department of Entomology that focuses on assessing the effects of restoration strategies on the macroinvertebrate benthic communities in Anacostia Park marsh systems. After she graduates next spring, she plans on attending graduate school to pursue a PhD in entomology, ecology, or natural resource management.
VICTOR SETTLES, Gruner Lab, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Victor has been impressed by the diversity of insects since he was a child. After taking an entomology course this past spring and reading deeper into the primary literature, he pursued an undergraduate research position in Dr. Dan Gruner’s Lab. He now works under the guidance of Elske Tielens, a Gruner Lab BEES graduate student. His major tasks involve sorting, identifying, and curating arthropod samples from the Hawaiian Islands in order to assist Elske in investigating the effects of invasive predators on canopy insect communities in forests fragmented by lava flows and how these communities assemble over evolutionary time.
Victor hopes to use his experience in the Gruner lab working with dichotomous keys and learning to develop hypotheses about ecology and evolution to build a foundation in research that will ultimately set him on a path towards a career as a Principle Investigator.