Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Looking at Water Stress Spectrally

                                            Tim Aston measures spectral reflectance of a plant experiencing drought.

Students in BOT 4111/5111, An Introduction to Remote Sensing of the Environment, are required to complete a self-designed research project by the end of the semester that applies remote sensing concepts learned in class.  Tim Aston, a graduate student in Brent Ewers' lab, took on a unique project; he's using a spectrometer to see how the reflectance of light from a plant leaf changes as the leaf dries.  His hypothesis is that drought stress will be visible in the "red edge," the spectral region between the visible red and the near-infrared, and in a water absorption band at around 960 nm.  Ultimately, Tim hopes to be able to use remote sensing to identify plants that express differences in genetic traits related to the movement of water through their leaves.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Public Seminar in Jackson, WY on bark beetles, climate change and forest pestilence

Drs. Matt Ayres (Professor of Biology at Dartmouth College), Brent Ewers (Botany), and Dan Tinker (Botany) will also jointly offer a public talk on bark beetles, climate change and forest pestilence in Jackson WY on Thursday, December 1 at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, 6:30-8:30, with doors opening at 6:00 pm.

Special seminar on "Climate, population dynamics, and forest pestilence"

--Thomas Morrison

Matt Ayres (Professor of Biology at Dartmouth College) will be giving a seminar at 4 pm on Wednesday, November 30 in the Berry Center, room 138, in a special event jointly supported by Environment and Natural Resources, the Zoo-Phys Department and Botany Department.

The title of Matt’s seminar is "Climate, population dynamics, and forest pestilence." The seminar will be preceded by a reception with light refreshments in the Berry Center at 3:30 pm.

Please email me know if you’re interested in meeting with Matt either Wednesday morning (Nov 30) or Friday afternoon (Dec 2).

Matt has a diverse research program, generally exploring spatiotemporal variation in the abundance of forest insects, especially those that are sometimes recognized as pests. Study systems include bark beetles, Lepidoptera, wood wasps, scale insects, phoretic mites, and fungi. More info on his research program can be found here.

Matt is very engaging (see picture of him with Spanish magician/wizard on his homepage) and has broad scientific interests. I think you’d enjoy meeting with him (and vice versa) if you can spare the time.

Matt is also keen to go hiking in the Snowies on Saturday (Dec 3) to see some forest-beetle interactions first hand. Let me know if you might be interested in joining.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dr. Dan Tinker presents at the 2011 Future Forests Summit

Dr. Tinker was by invited by the Colorado Bark Beetle Cooperative (CBBC) to talk about the ongoing bark beetle epidemic as part of the Future Forests Summit at the Colorado Mountain College's Breckenridge campus.

CBBC is "a coalition of officials from agencies, organizations, educational institutions and more who are working to address the ecology of lodgepole pine forests and their future (Kurbjun, 2011, Summit Daily News)."

Complete information about Dr. Tinker's presentation can be found at Summit Daily newspaper's website.

Visit the Tinker Lab for Forest & Fire Ecology website to learn about Dr. Tinker's research.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Remote Sensing Minor

                                            Landsat 5 image:  Can you name the place?

The Botany Department just approved the addition of a Minor in Remote Sensing to our list of offerings.  This gives students from any department the chance to add a valuable qualification to their diplomas while learning about how we use satellite imagery to study the earth's surface. 

Students pursuing the minor will be required to take three courses:  Introductory and Advanced Remote Sensing (BOT 4111 and 4211), and Vegetation Ecology (BOT 4700).  The latter is required because remote sensing isn't limited to sitting in front of a computer processing images -- it requires a detailed knowledge of the environmental factors that drive the distribution of plants across landscapes. 

In addition to the three required courses, students can choose from a list of electives that cover other aspects of remote sensing, GIS, and spatial modeling. 

We're excited about the new minor, and the opportunities that it will provide for students to learn about this increasingly valuable science.

If you are interested in the new minor and want to find out more, contact the Botany Department.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stephen T. Jackson elected to Board of Directors, Ecological Society of America

Dr. Steve Jackson, Professor of Botany, University of Wyoming, has been elected to a 3 year term as a member of the Governing Board for the Ecological Society of America. Dr. Jackson, an ecologist, has been a member of the Botany faculty for 16 years, and he specializes in Quaternary ecology.

Interested to learn more about Dr. Jackson's research? Please visit his lab's website.

Rocky Mountain Herbarium and Solheim Mycological Herbarium Grow

Thanks to funding from the Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center, the Rocky Mountain and Solheim Herbaria were able to add 160 new herbarium cabinets.

These cabinets were desperately needed to accommodate the growing collections, much of it being stored in boxes and not available for study. Over the next several months both collections will be reorganized to make room for the backlog of specimens in storage.

More information about the Rocky Mountain Herbarium can be found at its website.