In the spotlight: the art of science

Our own Hilary Barker submitted an up close photo of stinkbug eggs to the 6th Annual (2016) UW-Madison Cool Science Image Contest and was selected as one of 12 winners out of 93 submissions. Recently, her artwork and the story behind it was showcased in a short video entitled, “Forward Motion: The Art of Science” that will also be aired on the Big Ten Network as a TV story called “Art of Science” on a date yet to be determined.

Congratulations to Hilary!

Congratulations to Jennifer Riehl!


Jennifer Riehl has been awarded a postdoctoral fellowship through the National Institute of Food and agriculture (NIFA). She will be researching the genetic architecture of growth and defense traits in aspen using a combination of genomic and transcriptomic data.

WisAsp Association Mapping Garden June 2016


The Poetic Side of Ecology

Art and science have a long history of entanglements from Leonardo da Vinci’s beautiful anatomical drawings to the revolutionary essays of Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold. After all, both practices are about understanding ourselves and our surroundings. In keeping with this tradition, the Western Aspen Alliance has launched a new feature called WAA Creates. The most recent newsletter (Volume 6(4), November 2015) features a poem by one of our own, Amy Flansburg.



New Phytologist Paper




Recently, a former member of the Lindroth Research Group published a manuscript on condensed tannins and nitrogen recovery in New Phytologist. Madritch and Lindroth investigated how condensed tannin concentration in aspen leaves and below ground nitrogen cycling are influenced by herbivory. High levels of condensed tannins were correlated with nitrogen recovery within the same and following seasons in defoliated trees suggesting that tannins may be mediators of tolerance rather than resistance.

Lindroth Lab Members in the Spotlight


It’s been a busy week in the news for the Lindroth Lab group. Ken Keefover-Ring, a post-doctoral scientist and soon to be faculty of the Botany and Geography departments at UW Madison, is one of the investigators on a major multi-university NSF grant. In a recent UWMadScience article, Poplars, perfumes, willows and insects: Understanding tree biodiversity, he talks about the project which looks at how chemical ecology can help us understand how insect pollination contributes to tree biodiversity.


Bee pollinating a willow


Michael Falk, a Master’s student, made the eCALs news this week with a video he and another graduate student created for the Entomological Society of America’s student video competition. Be sure to check out this poignant video describing his work and why it’s important not only for science, but for society as a whole. Click here to watch (A)synchrony – An Untimely Problem.


A cottonwood dagger moth rests on a trembling aspen leaf

New additions to the Lindroth Research Group!


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.

New Nature Plants Paper

Couture et al 2015 Nature Plants Cover

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!

Three minute thesis competition

hilary 3mt

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.

amy 3mt