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EcoVoice Alumni News: September 2012-June 2013

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James Riehl and Brent Haglund, PhD '81.

Brent M. Haglund, PhD ’81, was inducted into the Academy of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2012 by Dean James Riehl of the Swenson College of Science and Engineering. Randall Hicks, PhD ’83, director of the Center for Freshwater Research and Policy and professor in the UMD Department of Biology, made the presentation at the ceremonies in Duluth on 14 September 2012. Brent, who received his BS from UMD, has served on the Swenson College of Science and Engineering External Advisory Board for many years, as well as securing research funds for faculty and graduate students at UMD. A leading environmentalist in North America since the mid-1960s, he has focused on private landowner conservation through ethics, science and incentives as president of the Sand County Foundation since 1988. He was previously the State Director of The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin.

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Douglas Booher, BS ’98, received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Doug is pursuing his doctorate at the University of California Los Angeles, where he is studying the ecology of North American dacetine ants.

Dr. Jeffrey Brooks, MS CESD ’98, recently co-authored two peer reviewed papers, “Alaska Native peoples and conservation planning: A recipe for meaningful participation,” published in Native Studies Review in 2011and “Stakeholder understandings of wildfire mitigation: A case of shared and contested meanings,” published in Environmental Management in June 2012. Jeff works as a social scientist for the National Wildlife Refuge System in Anchorage, Alaska where he lives with his wife, Robin, daughter, Anna, and son, James.

Ellen Sutherland Irby, BS/MS CESD ‘99, and her husband welcomed Miles Garrett Irby into the world on June 19, 2013. Elle reports that all are healthy and happy.

Mark Warner, PhD ’98, associate professor of marine biosciences at the University of Delaware, presented a talk, “Our Changing Climate and the Future of Coral Reefs: How Can We Predict the Winners and Losers?” to open the Ocean Currents Lecture Series in 2013. His presentation explored how pollution and rising temperatures are impacting the health of coral reefs.

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Jeff Lovich, PhD '90.

Jeff Lovich, PhD ’90, is a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Southwest Biological Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona. His current research focuses on the impacts of wind and solar energy development on wildlife in the desert southwest, especially federally protected Agassiz’s desert tortoises.

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Scott Connelly, PhD '08.Scott Connelly, PhD ’09, accepted a position as Assistant Professor at the Odum School of Ecology in 2013. Connelly, who has been serving as faculty director of the Odum School’s ecology program at UGA Costa Rica, will continue his involvement with the program as the leader of the ecology Maymester course there.

Grantly R. Galland, BS ’04, recently joined the Office of International Affairs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a National Sea Grant College Program Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow. He earned his doctorate in marine biology at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography after serving in the Peace Corps.

Nicole Gottdenker, PhD ’09, was lead author on a paper, “Host Life History Strategy, Species Diversity, and Habitat Influence Trypanosoma cruzi Vector Infection in Changing Landscapes,” published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases in 2012, with coauthors Luis Fernando Chaves, José E. Calzada, Azael Saldaña, and Professor Emeritus Ron Carroll. Nicole is an assistant professor in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Department of Pathology.

Rebecca Haynes, MS CESD ’06, recently joined the staff of the nonprofit Conservation Voters of South Carolina as Director of Government Relations. Rebecca previously worked for American Rivers as Associate Director of Southeast Conservation. An active community volunteer, she is a founder and Board member of the NoMa Bark Park and President of the Earlewood Community Citizens Organization in Columbia, South Carolina.


Sonia Hernandez, PhD '08.Sonia Hernandez, PhD ’08, assistant professor of wildlife disease in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, received widespread media attention in 2012 for her “Kitty Cam” project. Using lightweight video cameras mounted on the collars of 60 pet cats in Athens, Sonia and her team documented the activities of cats as they roamed outside over the course of 10 days. The next phase of the Kitty Cam project involves studying the impact of a stray cat colony on avian populations on a barrier island.

John Kominoski, PhD ’08, accepted a position as assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Southeast Environmental Research Center at Florida International University in 2013.

Sam Miles III, BS ’09, is a commercial and industrial account manager for United Renewable Energy, LLC , in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A LEED Accredited professional, he previously worked as a hazardous waste project manager and environmental consultant for Marion Environmental, Inc.

Nanette Nelson, MS CESD ’00 and Bob Hall, PhD ’96, celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in August. Nanette and Bob live in Laramie, where Bob is a professor in the Department of Zoology and Physiology and director of the PhD Program in Ecology at the University of Wyoming. Nanette is in her sixth year with the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center where she is an Scott Connelly associate research scientist. Beginning in September, Bob and Nanette will be on a nine month sabbatical at Duke University. Nanette reports that they plan to make several trips to Athens to visit friends during their stay in Durham, North Carolina.

Kelly Sands, MS CESD ’08, recently joined WRA Environmental Consultants in San Rafael, California, as a Mitigation Banking Analyst.

Theresa Thom, MS CESD ’00, PhD ’05, is an aquatic ecologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Inventory and Monitoring Network for the Southeast region.

Seth Wenger, MS CESD ’99, PhD ’06, was named Assistant Professor and Co- Director for Science of the River Basin Center at the Odum School of Ecology. He will start his new position in 2014.

Alexandra Worden, PhD ’00, and Andrew Allen, PhD ’02, were among 16 scientists to receive Marine Microbiology Initiative Investigator awards from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in 2012. Andy is an associate professor in the Microbial and Environmental Genomics Department at the J. Craig Venter Institute, and Alex is a principal investigator in molecular microbial ecology at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.


Ecology alumni and their families met in Iceland in July 2013.

An Excellent Icelandic Adventure
A group of Ecology alumni and their families met up in Iceland this summer for an unforgettable vacation of hiking, bird-watching, and sightseeing. Kevin Barnes, MS CESD ’98, and Sara Beresford, MS CESD ’00; Jamie March, PhD ’00 and Sarah March*; and Jon Benstead, PhD ‘01, and Heidi Wilcox, MS Aquatic Entomology ’03, and their children paused for a photo on top of a volcano in Heimaey, Iceland, in July 2013. Jamie is Associate Professor of Biology at Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania. Jon is Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Kevin is a fish biologist and stream ecology consultant for Streamtechs in Northeast Georgia, and Sara is the director of EcoFocus Film Festival in Athens (see story on page 12.) The group met at the tail end of Jon and Heidi’s seven-month long research stay in Iceland. Jon was part of an international team of ecologists—which also included Wyatt Cross, PhD ’04, and Alex Huryn, PhD Entomology ’86—studying the effects of global warming on stream food webs and ecosystem processes in streams in the Hengill region, a project funded by the National Science Foundation. *Sarah March is the artist responsible for the Kosrae (Micronesia) paintings in the Ecology lobby!

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Brett Berry, BS ’12, will enter the master’s degree program in the Odum School this fall. He will be working jointly with Andrew Park and Jim Porter studying coral diseases. Christina Faust, BS/MS ’09, is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, where she is studying wild primate malaria in southeast Asia. She received her M.Sc. in Global Health and Immunology from the National University of Ireland Maynooth, with First Class Honors, in 2010. At UGA, Christina received Udall and Truman scholarships and a George Mitchell Fellowship.

Andrew Mehring, PhD ’12, accepted a two year postdoctoral position at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. He will work on a project examining how animals and plants interact in freshwater, brackish, and saline wetlands to enhance wastewater and graywater purification, studying the processes in natural and constructed wetlands in California and Australia. The project is a collaboration between Monash University and the University of Melbourne in Australia, and UCSD, UC Irvine, and UCLA.

Ashley Helton, MS CESD ’06, PhD ’11, was lead author on two papers in 2012. “Scaling flow path processes to fluvial landscapes: An integrated field and model assessment of temperature and dissolved oxygen dynamics in a river-floodplain-aquifer system” was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, and “Relative influences of the river channel, floodplain surface, and alluvial aquifer on simulated hydrologic residence time in a montane river floodplain” in Geomorphology. She accepted a position in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment and the Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of Connecticut in 2013, after two years as a postdoctoral associate at Duke University.

Shan Huang, PhD ’12, is a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Chicago, where she is working with David Jablonski in the Paleontology Research Group, in the Department of Geophysical Science.

Tierney O’Sullivan, BS ’12, received a Fulbright Scholarship for study in 2013-2014. She will work with the Forest Practices Authority and the University of Tasmania, Australia, for a year to research the effect of road traffic on the breeding behavior and success of the wedgetailed eagle. She will monitor nesting sites and record behavioral responses to disturbance. The wedge-tailed eagle is the sole remaining predator in Tasmania, and is currently endangered on the island. This project will continue in an ongoing effort to better understand the factors responsible for its decline and enable its conservation in the future.

Science writer Kathleen Raven, MS CESD ’12, attended the 2013 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany as a blogger for Scientific American. Raven, who also received a master’s in journalism at UGA, recently completed a science writing internship at Nature Medicine. Follow her on Twitter: @sci2mrow.

Julie Rushmore, PhD ’13, will pursue a DVM from the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine beginning in fall 2013.

Stephen Shivers, MS Ecology ’10, continues his work on the effects of invasive aquatic vegetation (Hydrilla) on nutrient storage and cycling in Lake Seminole as a PhD student in the Odum School. This large reservoir on the border of Georgia and Florida receives inflow from the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers and releases flow to the Apalachicola River. Stephen is studying the effects of two molluscan invasive species (Corbicula and Pomacea) that may alter nutrient cycling by their feeding activities.

Daniel Streicker, PhD '11.Daniel Streicker, PhD ’11, has accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Glasgow, where he will conduct research on bat rabies evolution, to begin in fall 2013.

Amy Trice, MS ’11, is the Lapham Conservation Fellow at the nonprofit conservation organization American Rivers, where she works on issues related to the Clean Water Act, preserving headwater streams and flood mitigation. Jamie Winternitz, PhD ’13, accepted a two year postdoctoral position at the Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic, at the Institute of Botany to work on immunity and host-parasite ecology. She will be doing comparative genetic work to study immune genes in wildlife populations.

Gina Botello Young, MS Ecology ’12, has a paper, “Immature Mosquitoes in Agricultural Wetlands of the Coastal plain of Georgia, U.S.A.: Effects of Landscape and Environmental Habitat Characteristics,” in press in Ecological Indicators. Gina married Justin Young on May 11, 2013 and is working for a consulting firm.


After a postdoc studying nitrogen cycling in Lake Superior, Chip Small, PhD ’10, recently began a faculty position in the Biology Department at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN, where he teaches courses in environmental biology and urban ecosystem ecology. He and his wife Julie are expecting their third child in June.



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