‘Tis the season for Cottingham past and present lab members to move about the country and see one another…
Amelia Ritger ’15 is off on a year-long adventure studying lionfish in Curacao, and is blogging about her experiences at The Roar of the Lionfish. I encourage you to check it out, especially if you want to know more about tropical fish taxonomy, her current theme!
It’s been a week of back-to-back high profile papers for members of the lab. Go team go!
On January 8, the Team Gloeo PIs had our concepts & synthesis paper on cyanobacteria as drivers of nutrient cycling in lakes published in the open access journal Ecosphere. Because the work is on cyanobacteria (and perhaps because it was a slow news week?), several members of the media picked up on the story and we were covered on several local NPR affiliates as well as in The Blade and the Minnesota Post. (Thank you to all of my media training gurus for making the process somewhat less stressful, especially Katherine Lanpher, Catherine O’Neill, and the other folks from the OpEd Project!)
On January 12, postdoc Sam Fey had a paper describing recent increases in mass extinction events across a wide variety of organisms published in PNAS. This, too, has been featured in a number of publications, including a just-aired radio interview.
As Sam told me yesterday, talking about our work can be very time-consuming, but it’s also a fun and an important part of the job!
I’ve been elected to be Member-at-Large of the Ecological Society of America starting at the close of the 100th annual meeting in August 2015. I’m excited about this chance to serve the Society in a different way, and in particular to tackle issues about diversity in ecology, including ensuring that award nominations and presentations are done in a balanced way.
One of our senior Honors students, Annie Fagan ’15, is blogging about her field work adventures at Palo Verde in Costa Rica during December 2014. Check it out at http://puravidapaloverde.wordpress.com
For now, I’ll just link to HER blog, but may reblog some of it later, as well.
Because there are three lab members who have birthdays in this seven-day window, we planned a “social” lab meeting with a lot of desserts today….
Unknown to me, the postdoc, grad student, and recent alum decided that it should be an event that required more formal attire than we might typically wear to lab meeting. They even went so far as to invite the Bio department’s Ecology & Evolutionary Biology lab coordinator, Craig Layne (second from right in the back row), to join us for the occasion. He took them at their word and wore a jacket and tie for the event – while they dressed up to varying degrees themselves.
Coincidentally, I had meetings with the President, Provost, Dean of Faculty, and Associate Dean of the Sciences this afternoon, so I was more dressed up than usual myself (a dress! and tights!).
We thought it worth a photo, especially seeing Craig this dressed up – it might not happen again for another 20 years!
The ringleader, though, did not dress up, and I’m expecting that pay-back is coming when she least expects it…
Amelia Ritger ’15 is spending the summer studying lionfish in the Caribbean: click here to learn more
(photo from blog post by Kate Peach linked above)
This paper reports on the first 8 years of monitoring the recruitment of our favorite charismatic microflora, Gloeotrichia echinulata, from the sediments into the water column of Lake Sunapee, NH.
Like many cyanobacteria, Gloeotrichia forms resting stages, or akinetes, to tolerate adverse conditions such as winter. Cued by decreasing light and temperatures, and possibly decreasing nutrients, during late summer and early fall, akinete formation is followed by the collapse of the water column population. Parent colonies senesce and sink to the bottom, awaiting environmental cues to germinate and then return to the water column in a subsequent spring.
Since 2005 – when Cayelan Carey did her senior Honors thesis on Gloeotrichia – we have placed traps out in Lake Sunapee to catch this organism as it returns to the water column – see photo at right. We sample the traps by snorkeling once each week beginning in May and ending in mid-to-late September.
By deploying multiple traps at a site, and having multiple sites around the lake, and doing this for many summers, we were able to begin dissecting what might cue recruitment in this species in this lake.
The punchline of the paper is that mixing of the nearshore waters – as typically happens in late summer when the surface of the lake begins to cool down at night – appears stimulate recruitment. In years with warmer August overnight air temperatures, there was much less Gloeotrichia recruitment than in years with colder overnight temperatures.
The next step is to determine whether this might also hold true in other lakes – and for other cyanobacteria.
Meanwhile, we will continue to enjoy our close encounters with other freshwater life during the weekly snorkeling trips!
KLC, 14 July 2014
Lab member Zach Wood described how he found his passion for ecology in a piece for The Dartmouth during the spring