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Apr 5 2022

E&E Seminar- Graduate Student presentations

April 5, 2022

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


4289 SEL

Please join us on April 5, 2022 for presentations by E&E graduate students.  Katie Fowler, Philip Johnson, Erik Andersson and Sheryl Hosler will share their work.

Katie Fowler will share updates on her current research.

Katie Fowler is a 4th year PhD candidate in Joel Brown’s lab focusing on wildlife conservation. Katie will share some updates about her research on analyzing reproductive success using noninvasive techniques on black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes), Bactrian camels (Camelus bactrianus), and African lions (Panthera leo).

Philip Johnson will present "Plant Richness Increases with Surrounding Habitat and Management Burns over 30-years in Suburban Forest Understories"

Forests in urbanizing landscapes are important habitat for native species and vital for conserving biodiversity in and around cities. In these forests, herbaceous understory plants represent over 80% of the plant diversity, yet little is known about the long-term effect of management or the role of landscape context on these understory plants. Using 30-years of data from DuPage County, IL, I show that prescribed burns have increased the richness of native forest herbs in the understory, and that the amount of forest habitat at the landscape scale, but not the configuration of that habitat, is associated with more native species gains over time and higher current herb richness.

Sheryl Hosler will present "Management Affects Pollinators and Pollination in Suburban Green Spaces"

Research suggests that managed urban green spaces, such as powerline corridors and residential yards, may serve as pollinator habitat, depending on their vegetation management. In the Chicago metropolitan area, some powerline corridors are actively managed with mowing and herbicide (“mowed corridors”), while others are managed passively by planting native prairie plants (“prairie corridors”), and some are rarely managed and therefore overgrown (“oldfield corridors”). We examined the species composition of the insect pollinator communities found in mowed, oldfield, and prairie corridors, as well as residential backyards paired with these corridors in suburban Chicago. We analyzed differences in the pollinator community between the three types of vegetation management and yards using generalized linear models. We also performed a sentinel plant assay with cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) to measure the quantity and quality of pollination facilitated by these insects. The pollinator community was primarily affected by the presence and species richness of floral resources in our sites. The productivity of our sentinel plants was related to the species richness of the pollinator community. We conclude that powerline corridors may provide ecological value to the suburban landscape by serving as pollinator habitat within the surrounding urban matrix. We recommend that powerline companies, municipal planners, and homeowners consider the pollinator habitat quality of the green spaces they manage when making management decisions.

Erik Andersson will present "Impacts of a Novel Aquaculture Water Additive on Sablefish Microbiome Function"

Sablefish is an economically important fishery in the U.S., but sablefish aquaculture is impeded by high costs and low survival during the larval rearing stage. The addition of an algal supplement (greenwater) increases survival rates but is expensive, although substituting a cheaper clay-based additive (claywater) after one week of greenwater improves survival while decreasing costs. Mechanisms underpinning survival differences are unclear but are important for developing new or optimized additives to improve aquaculture efficiency of sablefish and other commercially important fish reared using greenwater. Previous results suggest microbial community composition and function may be linked to larval survival rates; however, the functional contributions of different microbial taxa are not well understood. To clarify any microbial role in larval survival differences we investigated differences in survival, microbiome composition, and metabolite profiles of larvae, biofilm, and seawater samples with added greenwater (n=6), claywater (n=6), greenwater/claywater mix (n=6), and a novel greenwater exudate additive (n=6). Mechanical homogenization and centrifugation were used to separate the exudates (supernatant) from the original greenwater algae paste for the novel additive. We combined a 16S rRNA gene sequencing approach with untargeted LC-MS metabolomics analyses to directly investigate functional differences in microbial communities. Preliminary analyses of microbiome compositions suggest that greenwater exudates are insufficient to confer microbial and survival benefits associated with intact greenwater. Forthcoming metabolomics results will help clarify the metabolic environments experienced by the larvae and can reveal metabolic activities that help explain taxonomic patterns. These complementary data may produce promising leads linking specific metabolic pathways to survival. These results will inform aquaculture practices of the economically important sablefish and help clarify host-environment-microbiome interactions.


Emily Beaufort

Date posted

Dec 14, 2021

Date updated

Mar 29, 2022