Category: Ecological Processes and Applications

VCU News: Structurally complex forests better at carbon sequestration

Jeff W. Atkins, Ph.D., a post-doctoral researcher in VCU's Department of Biology, uses a lidar system to collect data in a forest at VCU's Rice Rivers Center in 2016. (Photo by Julia Rendleman, University Marketing)
Jeff W. Atkins, Ph.D., a post-doctoral researcher in VCU’s Department of Biology, uses a lidar system to collect data in a forest at VCU’s Rice Rivers Center in 2016. (Photo by Julia Rendleman, University Marketing)

Associate professor Chris Gough, Ph.D. and post-doctoral fellow Jeff Atkins, Ph.D. were recently featured in a VCU News article about carbon sequestration in forests.

Read the full article “Structurally complex forests better at carbon sequestration” by Brian McNeill at VCU News.

Chris Gough is an associate professor in VCU Biology, studying forest ecology.

Jeff Atkins is a post-doctoral fellow in Professor Gough’s Forest Ecology Lab.

VCU News features graduating Biology senior

Being diagnosed with alopecia areata at age 16 inspired in La’Tila Abbott a passion for health sciences that eventually led her to VCU. Abbott will graduate in May with a biology degree. (Photo by Kevin Morley, University Marketing)

VCU News reports:

“When she was 16, La’Tila Abbott was diagnosed with alopecia areata, a medical condition that causes the immune system to attack hair follicles. Her hair fell out, and she began to receive steroid shots in her scalp that came with “really horrible side effects,” she said. She wore a wig to school.”

“Her diagnosis inspired a passion for the health sciences that eventually led her to Virginia Commonwealth University, where she will graduate in May with a biology degree from the College of Humanities and Sciences.”

Read the full article, “Class of 2019: Entrepreneur and biology graduate driven by a personal mission” by Taylor Pilkington at VCU News.

La’Tila will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.

VCU News: CPEL research highlights impacts of climate change on VA’s barrier islands

The emergence of woody vegetation on the interior of Virginia's barrier islands — brought about by a warming winter climate — is accelerating the impact of sea-level rise. (Photo by Brian McNeill, University Public Affairs)
The emergence of woody vegetation on the interior of Virginia’s barrier islands — brought about by a warming winter climate — is accelerating the impact of sea-level rise. (Photo by Brian McNeill, University Public Affairs)

VCU News recently featured Julie Zinnert’s Coastal Plant Ecology Lab and their ongoing research into how climate change events impact the composition and function of Virginia’s barrier islands.

Full Article: “Study gives new insight into how climate change is transforming Virginia’s barrier islands” by Brian McNeill

Julie Zinnert, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of Biology studying coastal plant ecology.  Others credited in the article include Ben Nettleton, who graduated from VCU Biology with an M.S. in Biology, and Philip Tuley, a current M.S. student in VCU Biology.

VCU News: How forests are a key piece in the climate change puzzle

A VCU biology professor was a contributing author to the forests chapter of a major new U.S. government assessment of carbon cycle science across North America. (Getty Images)
A VCU biology professor was a contributing author to the forests chapter of a major new U.S. government assessment of carbon cycle science across North America. (Getty Images)

Assistant Professor Chris Gough was featured on VCU News for his contributions to a report by the US Global Change Research Program regarding the carbon cycle in North America.

Full Article: How forests are a key piece in the climate change puzzle by Brian McNeill

Chris Gough is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology who researches forest ecology.

VCU News Features Coastal Plant Ecology Lab’s research on climate change

On Parramore Island, what was once a maritime forest is now essentially dead — a change brought about, at least in part, by climate change. (Photo contributed by Coastal Plant Ecology Lab)
On Parramore Island, what was once a maritime forest is now essentially dead — a change brought about, at least in part, by climate change. (Photo contributed by Coastal Plant Ecology Lab)

VCU News featured the Coastal Plant Ecology Lab‘s research into climate change and its effects on barrier islands in Virginia.

Full Article: “How will climate change impact coastal communities? VCU researchers look to Virginia’s barrier islands for clues” by Brian McNeill with VCU News

The Coastal Plant Ecology Lab is managed by Assistant Professor Julie Zinnert, the principal investigator.  Also featured in the story are Instructor Spencer Bissett, postdoctoral fellow Natasha Woods, and M.S. in Biology student, Michael Sinclair.

Plant Research in Zhang Lab Featured on VCU Home Page

A Juanuolla mexicana shrub, Solanaceae family, in Zhang's backyard.  Photo by Kevin Morley from VCU University Marketing.
A Juanuolla mexicana shrub, Solanaceae family, in Zhang’s backyard. Photo by Kevin Morley from VCU University Marketing.

Assistant Professor Wenheng Zhang, PhD, was recently featured on the VCU homepage (www.vcu.edu) along with her graduate students, Farahnoz Khojayori, Joon Kim, & Ghadeer Bukhari, and her postdoctoral fellow Jingbo Zhang, for their research efforts in plant evolution and development.

Zhang’s lab & research website can be found at https://plantevodevo.bio.vcu.edu/index.html

Full Article: “Flower Power – VCU biologists use developmental clues from plants to unlock secrets of evolution in the natural world.” by Leah Small in VCU Public Affairs.

3 Biology Faculty Receive CHS Seed Awards

From the left, Lesley Bulluck, Bill Eggleston, Karen Kester

The College of Humanities and Sciences announced today that three VCU Biology faculty would receive Seed Awards for 2018.  Scott Gronert, Associate Dean for Research writes, “the Seed awards were established to foster the development of successful grant proposals and nationally or internationally peer-reviewed scholarly and/or creative works.”

Assistant Professor Leslie Bulluck (pictured above, left) will receive a Seed award for her project “Using DNA barcoding to measure diet variation of a riparian consumer.”

Associate Professor Bill Eggleston (pictured above, center) will receive a Seed award for his project “Molecular analysis of loss of canalization and habituation in maize.”

Associate Professor Karen Kester (pictured above, right) will receive a Seed award for her project “Save the wasps! Maintaining productive collaborations and nurturing future funding opportunities.”

Biology Grad Student Awarded a Virginia Sea Grant Fellowship

2018 Commonwealth Fellows Announced. Lauren Pudvah shown on the left, Benjamin Nettleton shown on the right.  A faded seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia is seen in the upper right.

Virginia Sea Grant announced that Benjamin Nettleton (pictured above on the right), an MS student in biology, was awarded a Commonwealth Coastal & Marine Policy Fellowship.  Nettleton will be partnered with The Nature Conservancy’s Virginia Coastal Reserve.

Nettleton pursues his MS degree as a member of Assistant Professor Julie Zinnert’s Coastal Plant Ecology Lab.

 

Press Release: 2018 Commonwealth Fellows Announced

Summer Studies Faculty Read RateMyProfessor Reviews

Instructor Jonathan Moore reads RateMyProfessor reviews to promote Summer Studies at VCU.
Instructor Jonathan Moore reads RateMyProfessor reviews to promote Summer Studies at VCU.

Jonathan Moore, an Instructor in VCU Biology was among several faculty teaching summer courses this year who read RateMyProfessor reviews.  Moore will teach introduction to biological sciences II, ecology, a capstone seminar on animal behavior, and a new lab on animal behavior during this summer semester.

Watch the video below via YouTube!

2018 Awards Ceremony Honors Biology Students

Joseph Brown, Julie Zinnert, Benjamin Nettleton, and Chair Bonnie Brown pictured.  Joseph and Benjamin were honorees at the awards ceremony.
Pictured (left to right) are Joseph Brown (PhD student in Integrative Life Sciences), Julie Zinnert (Assistant Professor), Benjamin Nettleton (Masters Student in Biology), and Bonnie Brown (Interim Chair for VCU Biology).

On April 6th, the Department of Biology honored nine students at the annual College of Humanities and Sciences Award Ceremony.  The department recognizes these individuals for their outstanding work in their academic career, research, teaching, community contributions, and humanitarian efforts.  We congratulate these students and look forward to their continue excellence.

2018 Award Recipients

  • Sravya Uppalapati, Mohamed Shaaban Humanitarian Award
  • Sarah Ingram, Outstanding Biology Graduate Teaching Assistant Award
  • Benjamin Nettleton, Outstanding Biology Masters Student in Ecology
  • Farahnoz Khojayori, Outstanding Biology Masters Student in Evolution
  • Joseph Brown, Outstanding Biology PhD Student in Ecology
  • Rohan Kankaria, Outstanding Biology Senior Award
  • Nitika Gupta, Outstanding Biology Undergraduate Student in Cellular & Molecular Biology
  • Emma Davis, Outstanding Biology Undergraduate Student in Ecology
  • Heather Caslin, Outstanding PhD Student in Cellular & Molecular Biology
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