The authors of a University of Georgia study on global conservation funding have received an inaugural Conservation Science Award from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Lead author Anthony Waldron, a former postdoctoral associate at the UGA Odum School of Ecology now at Oxford University, accepted the award on behalf of his co-authors.
Protecting a county’s natural resources and its fiscal health may seem to be competing goals, but a recent University of Georgia study provides a blueprint for achieving both.
Droughts might be affecting how Georgia’s blackwater rivers process carbon, according to a new study led by Andrew Mehring, PhD '12, while he was at the University of Georgia.
Southeastern forests may look and function differently in the future as more frequent droughts and forest disturbances combine to affect which tree species thrive, according to a new study led by Odum School ecologist Nina Wurzburger.
Researchers at the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology have developed a new mathematical model that helps to explain how some parasites predominantly associate with one particular host species—but are still capable of infecting other species
A new publication from the University of Georgia River Basin Center will help local governments and community groups develop programs to protect wetlands and the services they provide.
Daniel Streicker, who received his Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Georgia in 2011, has been named the first grand prize winner of the new Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists.
Carl F. Jordan, senior research scientist emeritus in the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology, will present a seminar on his new book, An Ecosystem Approach to Sustainable Agriculture: Energy Use Efficiency in the American South, on Nov. 12 at 4 p.m. in the ecology auditorium.
Odum School assistant professor Rich Shefferson explored theories of plant senescence in a recent special issue of the Journal of Ecology—in particular, the idea that certain plants might be immune from this seemingly universal phenomenon.
Climate change is affecting the spread of infectious diseases worldwide, according to an international team of leading disease ecologists, with serious impacts to human health and biodiversity conservation. Writing in the journal Science, they propose that modeling the way disease systems respond to climate variables could help public health officials and environmental managers predict and mitigate the spread of lethal diseases.
Ecologists at the University of Georgia have discovered complex and surprising relationships between land cover and rates of transmission, illness and death from hemorrhagic disease in white-tailed deer.
A new University of Georgia study has identified the worst and best countries in the world in terms of funding for biodiversity conservation. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also suggests how funding should change to help achieve the United Nations 2020 goals on reducing extinction.
If University of Georgia ecologist John Pickering has his way, mothing soon will become as popular as birding, a pastime 48 million Americans enjoy annually, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
UGA ecosystem ecologist Nina Wurzburger has received a $1.39 million grant from the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program of the U.S. Department of Defense in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to study how the soil-based process of nitrogen fixation facilitates recovery from physical disturbances in longleaf pine ecosystems.
The spread of white-nose syndrome, an emerging fungal disease in bats, may be determined by habitat and climate, ecologists at the University of Georgia have found.
The University of Georgia’s Katie Sheehan, a legal fellow with the River Basin Center, has developed a guidebook, “Valuing Conservation Easement Properties: A Guide for Local Tax Assessors,” to help local tax assessors properly value conservation easement properties.
The number of genetic mutations that follow host shifts in rabies virus impacts the speed of disease emergence in new host species, according to new research by ecologists at the University of Georgia and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Seven eminent scientists with ties to the University of Georgia—six of whom are affiliated with the Odum School of Ecology—have been named to the inaugural list of Fellows of the Ecological Society of America.
Scientists from the University of Georgia Savannah River Ecology Laboratory have helped to reintroduce a species of toad declared extinct in the wild to its native range—the world’s first reintroduction of an extinct-in-the-wild amphibian.
Judith L. Meyer, distinguished research professor emerita in the UGA Odum School of Ecology, has been awarded the 2010 Naumann-Thienemann medal from the International Society of Limnology.
New research is revealing surprising connections between animal microbiomes—the communities of microbes that live inside animals’ bodies—and animal behavior, according to a paper by University of Georgia ecologist Vanessa O. Ezenwa and her colleagues.
Researchers in the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology will work with colleagues from universities across the U.S. Sun Belt on a study of water sustainability in the face of climate change and population growth. The four-year projects is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
In the U.S., most human cases of tick-borne Lyme disease occur in the Northeast—with a smaller cluster in the Midwest—even though the bacteria that cause it are equally common in ticks in both regions. A new study by researchers at the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology, published in the August issue of the journal Epidemics, combines ecology and immunology to offer an explanation for this puzzling disparity.
Model asks if importing a plant is worth the risk of environmental damage, economic costs
Weedy plants, many introduced to the U.S. for sale through plant nurseries, are responsible for extensive environmental damage and economic costs. Researchers at the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology and the University of California, Davis have developed a “cost-sensitive” model to determine when importing a given plant is worth the risk.
A new study of rabies in vampire bats in Peru has found that culling bats—a common rabies control strategy—does not reduce rates of rabies exposure in bat colonies and may even be counterproductive. The findings may eventually help public health and agriculture officials in Peru develop more effective methods for preventing rabies infections in humans and livestock.
The rate at which rabies virus evolves in bats may depend heavily upon the ecological traits of its hosts, according to researchers at the University of Georgia, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and KU Leuven in Belgium.
University of Georgia ecologist Jacqueline Mohan has received a $554,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to help develop more accurate predictions about the impacts of climate change on forests. Her project is part of a five-year collaborative effort led by James Clark of Duke University.
Associate Professor Jeb Byers is one of three University of Georgia faculty named recipients of the Richard B. Russell Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
A new paper by researchers from the University of Georgia and Princeton University sheds light on the critical part played by a little-studied element, molybdenum, in the nutrient cycles of tropical forests. Understanding the role of molybdenum may help scientists more accurately predict how tropical forests will respond to climate change. The findings were recently published in the journal PLoS ONE.
Carl Jordan, professor emeritus in the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology, has received the 2012 Governor’s Agricultural Environmental Stewardship Award for the Northeast Georgia region.
The Feb. 24 episode of Georgia Outdoors, the award-winning Georgia Public Broadcasting television series, featured Odum School of Ecology Associate Professor Jeb Byers.
Winter may be a relatively quiet season for many farmers in the Georgia Piedmont, but not for Carl Jordan, senior research scientist emeritus at the Odum School of Ecology and the founder of Spring Valley EcoFarms, who is busy preparing for his summer-long course in organic agriculture.
Scientists have for the first time measured how fast large-scale evolution can occur in mammals, showing it takes 24 million generations for a mouse-sized animal to evolve to the size of an elephant.
A paper about climate change and marine invasive species, coauthored by Jeb Byers, was recently covered in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Predicting the risk of extinction is a complicated task, especially for species that migrate between breeding and wintering sites. Researchers at the University of Georgia and Tulane University have developed a mathematical model that may make such predictions more accurate. Their work appears in the early online edition of the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.
O.E. (Gene) Rhodes, Jr. has been appointed director of the University of Georgia Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, a world-renowned environmental research facility on the Department of Energy’s protected Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C.
Carl F. Jordan, professor emeritus in the Odum School of Ecology, and Spring Valley EcoFarms have received the 2011 Conservationist of the Year award from the Oconee River Soil and Water Conservation District.
James W. Porter has been appointed to the International Scientific Advisory Board on Sea-Dumped Chemical Weapons, which advises the group that implements the U.N. Chemical Weapons Convention.
Scientists at Kansas State University, the University of Georgia, and six other collaborating institutions were recently awarded $3.3 million from the National Science Foundation to conduct a-large scale study of how stream organisms influence water quality across North America.
Researchers have found that a species invasion that starts at the upstream edge of its range may have a major advantage over downstream competitors, at least in environments with a strong prevailing direction of water or wind currents.
DiscoverLife.org, an online interactive encyclopedia created by associate professor John Pickering of the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology, will reach its first billion hits this fall. To celebrate this milestone and plan for the future, the Discover Life staff and collaborators will hold a symposium entitled “Discover Life: The Next Billion Hits” Oct. 7 from noon to 5 p.m. in the ecology school.
Increased seawater temperatures are known to be a leading cause of the decline of coral reefs all over the world. Now, researchers at the University of Georgia have found that extreme low temperatures affect certain corals in much the same way that high temperatures do, with potentially catastrophic consequences for coral ecosystems.
A long-term study investigating how altering nutrient inputs to streams affected forest-dwelling organisms has yielded surprising results: In a paper published in the Online First edition of the journal Oecologia, researchers at the University of Georgia have shown that although nutrient enrichment led to increased production of aquatic insects, streamside predators that depend upon them as a food source did not benefit. In fact, they received significantly less nutrition from aquatic sources than did their counterparts at a similar untreated stream nearby.
Researchers at the University of Georgia have developed a mathematical model showing a link between land cover pattern and the spatial spread of West Nile virus in New York City.
For more than 20 years, the University of Georgia Interdisciplinary Field Program has allowed undergraduate students to learn geology, ecology and anthropology in a coast-to-coast outdoor classroom. This year, the students are sharing their progress by using SPOT, an online GPS tracking tool, which charts their route in real time.
Researchers at the University of Georgia Savannah River Ecology Laboratory have recently followed up on a study originally conducted in the 1970s and found that one of the most ecologically diverse streams in the world has not been negatively impacted by three decades of Department of Energy continued operations.
Professor Paul Hendrix was honored with the Lifetime Professional Achievement Award from the Soil Ecology Society at the group’s biannual meeting, held in British Columbia in May.
Andrew W. Park, assistant professor in the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology and the College of Veterinary Medicine Department of Infectious Diseases, has been named the recipient of the 2011 John M. Bowen Award for Excellence in Animal/Biomedical Research.
Black-dotted brown moth can strip the leaves off oaks
Researchers at the University of Georgia are tracking an outbreak of caterpillars that can eat and strip the leaves off oak trees, potentially affecting the tree’s health for a year or more. The leaf-eating caterpillars have been confirmed in several counties surrounding Athens, including Clarke, Madison, Oglethorpe and Oconee. They are also possibly in both Barrow and Gwinnett counties, but UGA researchers fear they are also spreading throughout the state.
A University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology researcher studying invasive ladybugs has developed new models that help explain how these insects have spread so quickly and their potential impacts on native species.
Continued research and syntheses by UGA Odum School of Ecology faculty and alumni
To better understand how global changes are altering the loss of carbon from tropical landscapes through rivers, University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology Ph.D. alumnus Chip Small '10 and professor Catherine Pringle are coordinating an effort to synthesize our understanding of these processes.
Professor Alan Covich of the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology will present a keynote address on “Sediments and Biodiversity: Bridging the Gap between Science and Policy” at an international conference sponsored by the European Sediment Network in Venice, Italy, on April 7, 2011.
A UGA Odum School of Ecology study that enlisted the help of hundreds of citizen scientists from across the U.S. and Canada has found that parasite infections in monarch butterflies increase during the summer breeding season, a finding that could help improve conservation efforts.
It’s a common assumption that animal migration, like human travel across the globe, can transport pathogens long distances, in some cases increasing disease risks to humans. But in a paper just published in the journal Science, researchers in the UGA Odum School of Ecology report that in some cases, animal migrations could actually help reduce the spread and prevalence of disease and may even promote the evolution of less-virulent disease strains.
A team of researchers that includes Odum School postdoctoral associate John Kominoski, Ph.D. '08, has found that the Southeast, with the exception of Florida, does not have enough water capacity to meet its own needs.
In a paper just published in the journal Ecology Letters, ecologists at the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology and other researchers studying invasive insects report that the success of new gypsy moth populations is partly dependent upon the size of the patch they occupy—information that could eventually help control the spread of the moths and other invasive pests.
Researchers from the University of Georgia Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, writing in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggest that the breeding periods of several salamander and frog species have shifted over the last thirty years, possibly due to changes in temperature and precipitation patterns.
In a paper just published in the journal Science, an international team of researchers that includes Odum School of Ecology dean John Gittleman and post doctoral researcher Patrick Stephens has found striking patterns in the evolution of the largest mammals that ever walked the earth.
The spread of lethal diseases from animals to humans has long been an issue of great concern to public health officials. But what about diseases that spread in the other direction, from humans to wildlife? Odum School Associate Dean James W. Porter has received a five-year $2 million Ecology of Infectious Diseases grant from the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health to lead a study of the first known case of such a “reverse zoonosis” that involves the transmission of a human pathogen to a marine invertebrate, elkhorn coral.
Laurie Fowler, associate dean of the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology, received the Ogden Doremus Award for Excellence in Environmental Law from the non-profit public interest legal group GreenLaw at a ceremony in Atlanta on Oct. 5, 2010.
Professor Emeritus Gene Helfman delivered the 2010 Smith Memorial Lecture at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) in Grahamstown, South Africa.
A team of researchers, led by associate professor Sonia Altizer with PhD student Daniel Streicker of the UGA Odum School of Ecology, will study the factors that drive the spread of rabies with a $580,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for a three-year study of rabies in vampire bats in Peru.
What if there were a way to predict when a species was about to become extinct—in time to do something about it? Findings from a study by John M. Drake, associate professor in the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology, and Blaine D. Griffen, assistant professor at the University of South Carolina, may eventually lead to such an outcome—and that is only the start.
A study by Odum School of Ecology postdoctoral researcher Andrew M. Kramer and associate professor John M. Drake has important implications for the conservation of threatened and endangered species and the management of invasive species.
Rebecca Sharitz, a researcher at the University of Georgia Savannah River Ecology Laboratory received the National Wetlands Award for Science Research at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on May 19. She was chosen out of a competitive nationwide field for her expertise on southeastern floodplain forests and Carolina bays and substantial contributions to wetland science.
Jeb Byers, associate professor in the Odum School of Ecology, has been appointed to the National Research Council's Committee on Assessing Numeric Limits for Living Organisms in Ballast Water. The committee will conduct a study to inform the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard how to establish environmentally protective ballast water discharge limits in the next Vessel General Permit, which regulates discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels.
Odum School of Ecology professor emeritus David C. Coleman has written a new ecology text book. Big Ecology: The Emergence of Ecosystem Science, published by the University of California Press and available this month, provides a personal overview of the history and development of the science of ecosystem ecology. Coleman has been part of the evolution of ecosystem ecology since the 1960s, when he first came to UGA as an assistant professor and research associate.
Judith L. Meyer, distinguished research professor emerita in the UGA Odum School of Ecology, delivered the seventeenth annual Abel Wolman Distinguished Lecture of the Water Science and Technology Board. The lecture, “Flowing Water, In and For Cities,” took place on April 14 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC.
J.D. Willson, who received his Ph.D. from the UGA Odum School of Ecology in 2009, is a post-doctoral research associate at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL), where he studies semi-aquatic snake population and community dynamics and ecology of invasive Burmese pythons. But it is Willson’s growing reputation as a wildlife photographer that was the subject of a profile that appeared in the Augusta Chronicle.
A CNN Special Investigations team reports that residents of Vieques are suing the U.S. government over contamination left behind by the U.S. military. The report cites research by James Porter, Associate Dean of the Odum School of Ecology.
Traveling long distances spurs the evolution of larger and pointier wings
A University of Georgia study has found that monarch butterflies that migrate long distances have evolved significantly larger and more elongated wings than their stationary cousins, differences that are consistent with traits known to enhance flight ability in other migratory species.
Richard Hall, Assistant Research Scientist in the Odum School of Ecology, has received a 2010 Short Term Visiting Scholar Award from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS).
Human activity is increasing the supply of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, to stream systems all over the world. The conventional wisdom – bolstered by earlier research – has held that these additional nutrients cause an increase in production all along the food chain, from the tiniest organisms up to the largest predators. A long-term, ecosystem-scale study by a team of University of Georgia researchers, however, has thrown this assumption into question.
J. Whitfield Gibbons, professor emeritus, senior research scientist, and head of Savannah River Ecology Lab Environmental Outreach Program: For distinguished contributions to the field of population ecology of vertebrates, particularly for developing new theoretical and applied understandings of amphibians and reptiles in wetlands. Catherine M. Pringle, distinguished research professor: For distinguished contributions to the field of aquatic ecosystem ecology and conservation, particularly for her research on hydrologic connectivity and the effects of species loss on ecosystem structure and function in tropical streams.
J. Whitfield Gibbons, professor emeritus, senior research scientist, and head of Savannah River Ecology Lab Environmental Outreach Program: For distinguished contributions to the field of population ecology of vertebrates, particularly for developing new theoretical and applied understandings of amphibians and reptiles in wetlands.
Catherine M. Pringle, distinguished research professor: For distinguished contributions to the field of aquatic ecosystem ecology and conservation, particularly for her research on hydrologic connectivity and the effects of species loss on ecosystem structure and function in tropical streams.
A new study by an international team of researchers, led by assistant professor Andrew W. Park, who holds a joint appointment in the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology and College of Veterinary Medicine, may help public health officials to combat the ever-evolving influenza virus.
During a research trip to Puerto Rico, ecologist James Porter took samples from underwater nuclear bomb target USS Killen, expecting to find evidence of radioactive matter - instead he found a link to cancer. Data revealed that the closer corals and marine life were to unexploded bombs from the World War II vessel and the surrounding target range, the higher the rates of carcinogenic materials.
"When you remove the bomb, you remove the problem - but you've got to pick it up," said Porter.
While surveying fishes in Georgia’s Flint River, Byron and Mary Freeman noticed that a certain darter fish had a striking orange color in its fins—much different than the Blackbanded darter that is prominent in the southwest Georgia River. The University of Georgia researchers had indeed come across a new species: the Halloween darter or Percina crypta.
“The Halloween darter is a great example of ‘cryptic biodiversity’—species that have gone unrecognized because they look a lot like other species that are known,” explained Mary, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and the UGA Odum School of Ecology. “Ichthyologists have documented many new fish species in the southeastern U.S., showing that despite nearly 100 years of scientific study of fishes in this region, there are still surprises.”
Sonia Altizer, associate professor in the Odum School of Ecology, and Chad Fertig, assistant professor of physics in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, were among 68 researchers honored with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) - the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on scientists and engineers beginning their careers.
Carl Jordan, senior research scientist at the University Of Georgia Odum School of Ecology, was recently designated as a 2008 Purpose Prize Fellow by Civic Ventures think tank. The Purpose Prize is awarded for people over 60 who are taking on society’s biggest challenges.
Current models of global climate change predict warmer temperatures will increase the rate that bacteria and other microbes decompose soil organic matter, a scenario that pumps even more heat-trapping carbon into the atmosphere. But a new study led by a University of Georgia researcher shows that while the rate of decomposition increases for a brief period in response to warmer temperatures, elevated levels of decomposition don’t persist.
The University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology will host “Aquatic Conservation Science: Merging Theory and Application” on Oct. 3-4. The symposium is being held in honor of the careers of emeritus faculty members Judith L. Meyer and Gene Helfman.
A $190,000 grant from Southern Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education will help the University of Georgia's Odum School of Ecology study the use of shrubby perennial legumes such as false indigo in making soil more suitable for organic farming.
Traditionally, the study of infectious diseases has taken two distinct routes, with epidemiologists focusing on quantifying disease outbreaks while researchers in fields such as microbiology and genetics have concentrated on the infectious agents themselves and the mutations they undergo.
UGA ecologist Pejman Rohani said understanding both aspects of infectious diseases is critical to revealing the complex dynamics that drive epidemics such as dengue fever and is working to combine the traditionally separate fields of study.
New research that crosses several species boundaries shows that when animals must choose less-than-preferred mates, females and males apparently have ways to compensate that increase the chance their offspring will survive. The study, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, adds weight to the Compensation Hypothesis, a proposal that has given insight into how individuals can pass on their genes even under less than ideal circumstances.
A new University of Georgia and Emory University study of monarch butterflies and the microscopic parasites that hitch a ride on them finds that the parasites strike a middle ground between the benefits gained by reproducing rapidly and the costs to their hosts.
It’s not just your imagination. Providing the first-ever definitive proof, a team of scientists has shown that emerging infectious diseases such as HIV, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), West Nile virus and Ebola are indeed on the rise.
As Bud and Mary Freeman describe a recent trip to Ecuador to collect fish samples to help guide local conservation policy, their story is abundant with color—giant electric blue butterflies, orchids rampant in the lush landscape and tropical fish species with a variety of interesting patterns.
When West Nile virus first struck New York City in 1999, news of the potentially fatal illness alarmed citizens and public health officials alike, showing that even affluent, urban societies are vulnerable to vector-borne diseases. Although West Nile virus has been widely studied, there is still little known about how the ecology of mosquito-borne diseases differs between urban and rural areas. Assistant professor at the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology John Drake hopes to shed light on these differences with a recently awarded $578,619 grant from the National Science Foundation.