Sunday, August 17, 2014

Successful trip to the 99th annual Ecological Society of America meeting

We have just returned (although some of our luggage has not) from Sacramento, CA where three graduate students and I presented papers.  Benjamin Dows talked about his master's research on dispersal of the native shrub, Morella cerifera which is expanding range across the Virginia barrier islands.  I presented a lab project on community level shifts between shrubland and grassland and how this influences island geomorphology at the island-chain level.  We met scientists from the Netherlands and learned that the same phenomenon of shrub expansion is occurring on the Frisian barrier islands.  Perhaps a trans-Atlantic barrier island comparison is in our future.

Stephen Via presented a portion of his doctoral dissertation research quantifying community level impacts of buried explosives, which have long lasting implications on composition, structure and functional traits.  Paul Manley talked about his master's research on remote sensing detection of explosives using plants.  We were interviewed by livescience thanks to the excellent talks by Paul and Stephen.  Check out the story here:

Finally, no meeting is complete without experiencing what the area has to offer.  We visited local parks and enjoyed the different vegetation of California, tasted local drinks at wineries and breweries, and of course hiked at the Pacific Coast.

Posted by: Julie Zinnert

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Graduate student awards to travel to Crete

Graduate students, Stephen Via and Paul Manley II received travel awards to present cutting edge research on plants and explosives at the 11th annual International Phytotechnologies Conference in Crete! They will present research on the effects of explosives on plant communities and advances in using remote sensing of plants to detect contaminated soils. We are very proud of their hard work and effort and excited for their trip!

Sign at Duck Field Research Facility where unexploded ordnances continue to pose a threat. Photo credit: Julie Zinnert