We would like to welcome Jennifer Riehl and Olivia Cope to the Lindroth research group!
Jennifer received a Ph.D. in Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology from Michigan Technological University. Her dissertation focused on North American red oak genetic variation, population structure, and local adaptation. She is joining our lab in a post-doctoral position, in which she will investigate the genes underlying ecologically important traits in aspen and aspen-insect interactions. Jennifer is originally from Austin, Texas and received her B.S. in Biology from Texas Lutheran University and an M.S. in Molecular Biology from SUNY Albany. In her spare time she travels by car with her husband and loves attending various musical events from rock to symphony concerts.
Olivia Cope received a B.S. in Genetics and Plant Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, where she conducted undergraduate research focused on insect galls. She will be working as a Ph.D. student under Rick Lindroth and Eric Kruger studying the ecology of herbivore defense in aspen.Olivia is originally from Seattle, Washington and likes to spend her free time riding her bike and playing the banjo.
Recently, current and former members of the Lindroth Research Group published a manuscript on herbivory and global change in Nature Plants. Couture et al. investigated the effects of atmospheric change on insect herbivory in northern temperate forests. A key finding was that elevated levels of carbon dioxide stimulated insect herbivory, and thus limited the ability of forest trees to act as a carbon sink. Check out the news feature from UW-Madison!
Hilary Bultman and Amy Flansburg recently participated in a Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. This event was hosted by the Graduate Women in Science at UW-Madison (GWIS-Beta) and involved a university wide graduate student competition. The challenge was for students to communicate the big-picture ideas and motivation behind their research in three minutes or less.
We’re happy to announce that Hilary won 2nd place for her presentation on work linking aspen genes to insect communities found on this foundation tree species. Amy also gave a fantastic presentation on her research examining triploidy in aspen.
The Lindroth lab participated in Saturday Science at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. It was our first chance to teach our new “Elements of Food Webs” lesson.
We’ve developed educational materials and hands-on activities to teach students about concepts in Biology and Chemistry through the “Elements of Food Webs”. Lessons explore feeding relationships among species. Students learn about the transfer of energy and elements from the sun to plants, from plants to insect herbivores, and from insect herbivores to insect predators.
To illustrate food webs to kids and their families, we brought in some live specimens of aspen trees, aphids, ladybugs, and ants. Aphids eat sap from aspen, which is rich in sugar, and ladybugs are predators of aphids. Luckily, some aphids have ant bodyguards for protection. Ants feed on “honeydew”, a sugary substance that aphids secrete. In turn, ants protect aphids from predators.
Here’s a photo highlight from the event that the kids took using our digital microscope!
We’d like to welcome two new graduate students to our research group.
Andrew Helm is pursuing a Master’s degree in Forestry, co-advised by Eric Kruger. He will be working on a project examining intraspecific competition among aspen.
Michael Falk is a Master’s student in Entomology, co-advised by Ken Raffa. He will be studying the effects of climate change on forest tent caterpillar and aspen.
Good news! Madeline Berkvam received a Hilldale Undergraduate Research Fellowship for her proposal to study pathogen damage on aspen. Maddie is a senior at the University of Wisconsin studying Zoology. She will be working in collaboration with graduate student Hilary Bultman to identify aspen genes associated with susceptibility to pathogen attack.
Congratulations to Hilary Bultman! She was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for her proposal entitled “From genes to communities: determining the genetic underpinnings of plant traits affecting arthropod abundance and richness.” The fellowship will support Hilary during her PhD program, as she continues her work on aspen and the community of insects feeding on this foundational tree species.
We’d like to welcome Amy Flansburg to our research group! Amy recently completed her undergraduate degree in English and Biology at the University of Denver. She began a PhD program in Zoology in January. Amy will be leading a collaborative research project examining the influence of triploidy on aspen physiology, growth, and defense.