Steffan lab gets together to celebrate the fall by making home-made apple cider donuts. Thanks for hosting Janet!
Some exciting work led by the Steffan Lab was recently published at PNAS:
Steffan, S.A., Y. Chikaraishi, C.R. Currie, H. Horn, H.R. Gaines-Day, J.N. Pauli, J.E. Zalapa, and N. Ohkouchi. 2015. Microbes are trophic analogs of animals. PNAS 112, 15119-15124.
Shane Foye and Kyle Johnson recently explored some of Wisconsin’s finest wild cranberry bogs and sites. This trip will have been the first of many – beginning to search for wild nematodes to cultivate and use as biological control agents in production sites.
Here are some of the highlights (photos courtesy of Kyle Johnson):
The Steffan lab had the great honor of hosting several distinguished friends and scholars last week (12/1-12/6) from across the globe, across Lake Michigan, and across the country.
Dr. Yoshito Chikaraishi, Senior Scientist from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology visited Madison for our third annual isotope “summit”! He is a collaborator and pioneer in compound specific isotope analysis methods that we use to deepen our understanding of food web ecology.
We took him to Olbrich Botanical Gardens for a much needed escape from the cold.
We also had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Peggy Ostrom, Professor from Michigan State University’s Department of Zoology. We are looking forward to future collaborations with her.
We were also delighted to host Dr. Prarthana Ghosh, who will be starting as a post-doc in our lab later this winter. She recently completed her Ph.D. from University of Alabama using an integrated approach including compound specific isotope analysis and PLFA to address mercury bioaccumulation in aquatic food webs.
So great to have you all in Madison!
Great new paper relating to the work being done in the lab on food web ecology. Check it out!
Chikaraishi Y., S.A. Steffan, N.O. Ogawa, N.F. Ishikawa, Y. Sasaki, M. Tsuchiya and N. Ohkouchi. High-resolution food webs based on nitrogen isotopic composition of amino acids. 2014 (May). Ecology and Evolution. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ece3.1103/abstract
The department’s beloved extension entomologist, Phil Pellitteri, retires this month. Read about his infectious passion for insects and his bedrock contributions to our community in the latest edition of GROW magazine, to understand why he will be so missed:
We are excited to welcome Hannah Gaines Day and Elissa Chasen to the lab. Hannah is a postdoc and Elissa is a USDA research technician, both just completed their PhDs at UW-Madison. Hannah worked in the lab of Dr. Claudio Gratton, and her dissertation was titled: “Do bees matter to cranberry? The effect of bees, landscape, and local management on cranberry yield.” Elissa worked in the lab of Dr. Eileen Cullen, and her dissertation was titled: “Beyond Economic Thresholds: Incorporating Proactive Pest Management Strategies in Alfalfa Pest Management Programs for Potato Leafhopper.” We are thrilled for the opportunity to work with them both!
We had some prospective students visiting last week, and one lucky prospect got to snowshoe the hypotenuse! For those of you that don’t know what that means, we started at the closest entry to the lake from lab (the boathouse), and headed straight across the lake to picnic point. It was snowing pretty heavily as we got started, but that didn’t stop us!
Showing off our gear. All smiles from the start.
Full speed ahead.
On our way out: the point.
At the point. We made it!
On our way back: the university and the capital (look real close, and maybe use your imagination).
Exploring host-associated differentiation in the North American native cranberry fruitworm, Acrobasis vaccinii, from blueberries and cranberries
The factors explaining host-associated differentiation (HAD) have not yet been fully characterized, especially in agricultural systems. It is thought that certain characteristics within a system may increase the probability for HAD to occur. These characteristics include relatively long-standing evolutionary relationships between insects and their host plants, endophagy, and allochrony in host-plant phenologies. We assessed the status of these characteristics as well as the presence of HAD in the cranberry fruitworm, Acrobasis vaccinii Riley (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), a pest associated with blueberry and cranberry in eastern North America. We reveal the occurrence of two distinct populations of A. vaccinii that are allochronically isolated by the phenological stage of their respective host plants (cranberries or blueberries). Laboratory-reared A. vaccinii adults collected from blueberries emerge at least 1 week earlier than adults from cranberries and the antennal sensitivity of adults to host-plant volatiles differs between A. vaccinii collected from blueberry and cranberry. Despite finding characteristics indicative of HAD, we did not detect a genetic signature of HAD in A. vaccinii. These findings suggest that HAD may occur through behavioral and phenological mechanisms before there is sufficient genetic variation to be detected.
Find the complete article here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.library.wisc.edu/doi/10.1111/eea.12143/pdf