New Ecology Degree 10/13

Red Tailed Hawk

Red Tailed Hawk

Beginning this fall we have a new degree program in Ecology at CBU. From the greek word Oikos meaning ‘house’ (habitat), Ecology is the scientific study of organisms and their interaction with both biotic and abiotic factors in their environment. The formal term was coined by Ernst Haeckel in 1866 and has been a major scientific field long before the official term was adopted. Historically, Ecology was dominated by natural history (observation of nature) and has transitioned to elaborate empirical studies. Ecology as a science is broad and ranges from small systems such as microbial communities surrounding plant roots to global nitrogen cycles.

Field Trip!

Field Trip!

Students at CBU have a tremendous advantage of taking a plethora of classes that fulfill Ecology degree requirements, many of which are not offered at much larger universities on a regular basis. For instance, we now offer the following courses on a regular basis: Dendrology, Herpetology, Limnology, Animal Behavior, Ecological Census Techniques, Wetland Ecology, Algae Fungi and Lichens, and other ecologically relevant courses. Students who obtain an Ecology degree from CBU will be prepared to compete well in the environmentally conscious job market.

This new degree offers an exciting new perspective within the biology department and exposes students to other career opportunities beyond the traditional health-oriented professions.

Here are some student research projects:

JD Wolfe examining seedling height prior to experimental planting.

JD Wolfe examining seedling height prior to experimental planting.

J.D. Wolfe conducted research on the campus of CBU in the summer of 2012. JD’s project resulted in a submission to The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society entitled:  “Moore, J.E., J.D. Wolfe, S.B. Franklin. IN REVIEW. Growth responses of different aged individuals of Xanthium strumarium L. in flooded conditions”.

Two exotic invasive trees growing in competition experiment.

Two exotic invasive trees growing in competition experiment.

Daniel Stewart conducted research on the campus of CBU in the summer of 2012. Daniel’s project is currently in co-author peer review and will be submitted soon. The title of Daniel’s project is “Facilitative interactions of two co-occurring invasive trees in the Southeastern U.S.” This work was presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Minneapolis Minnesota in August 2013. See the image above.

Desire’ Smith getting up close and personal with her study organisms.

Desire’ Smith getting up close and personal with her study organisms.

Desire’ Smith, the first projected recipient of a CBU Ecology degree, conducted two projects during the May-mester course Ecological Census Techniques. Both projects have been submitted to Herpetological Review. The papers are entitled:  “Hanlon SM, Smith D, Kerby J, Parris MJ, and Moore JE. IN REVIEW. Confirmation of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection via qPCR at the Edward J. Meeman Biological Field Station, Tennessee, USA;  and  Hanlon SM, Smith, D, Peterson B, Kerby J, Parris MJ, and Moore JE. IN REVIEW. Occurrence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge, Arkansas, USA.”

Cathy Thorn’s project illustrates great experimental design.

Cathy Thorn’s project illustrates great experimental design.

Cathy Thorn is the newest member of the lab. She is conducting a project that is examining the effects of allelopathic compounds on nodulation. Cathy’s project is currently underway and will result in one publication.