Effects of Wet and Dry Years on the Growth and Body Mass of Ornate Box Turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata)

April 27th, 2013

In the past five years, Iowa has experienced weather extremes with records or near-records set for spring flooding in 2008, summer rainfall in 2010 and drought in 2012. To determine whether these weather events affected growth or body condition in ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornate ornata), we analyzed the changes in shell morphology and mass/volume ratio during their active season of May to August of 2005-2006 and 2008-2012. Read More…

IOWATER and Phosphate: A Study on the Effectiveness of Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Programs

April 27th, 2013

IOWATER is a volunteer water quality monitoring program for Iowa, created as a cooperative effort with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The program’s goal is to use the efforts of volunteers to help identify problematic sites on rivers and other bodies of water, which could pose risks to the environment and human health. Read More…

Home Range, Habitat Use, and Mortality of Ornate Box Turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata) in Iowa

April 27th, 2013

The ornate box turtle, Terrapene ornata ornata, is threatened in Iowa, as the species’ prairie habitat has mostly been converted into agricultural land, reducing and fragmenting natural habitat and increasing contact with motor vehicles, farm implements, and mesopredators. Our project strives to understand the ecology and natural history of T. ornata in Iowa for conservation purposes. Read More…

A 4,000 Year Stalagmite Record of Extreme Rainfall Events in Tropical Western Australia

April 27th, 2013

Global environmental change poses several risks, including the possibility of increased frequency and strength of severe weather events. Though extreme weather events are difficult to define precisely, they include, but are not restricted to, tropical cyclones (a.k.a. hurricanes and typhoons) and particularly intense rainfall episodes within summer monsoons. Read More…

The Real Food Calculator: An Analysis of Cornell’s Food System

April 27th, 2013

The Real Food Challenge, a non-profit organization, posits that the current food system is broken and that college/university food spending can help to fix this system by shifting buying toward “Real Food.” How could a shift to Real Food be beneficial to Cornell students as well as the broader community? Read More…

Gendered Forestry Practices in India and the Benefits of Agroforestry

April 27th, 2013

Despite the Indian government’s clear efforts to move towards gender equality, the actual status and lived experiences of men and women are far from equal. Two particular manifestations of this inequality are the divided and hierarchical labor roles that Indian men and women assume, as well as the unequal property rights afforded to men and women. Read More…

Remediating the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico Through Nutrient Pollution Management Techniques and Regulation in the Upper Mississippi River Basin

April 27th, 2013

During my research, I will be exploring several questions regarding nutrient pollution in the Upper Mississippi River Basin, which is directly related to the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico.  Isolating the Upper Mississippi River Basin will allow me to focus on the agricultural Midwest, which is the greatest source of nutrient pollution.  Read More…

Mud Layers and Oxygen Isotopic Ratios in Late Glacial Stalagmites from Coastal Western Australia

April 14th, 2012

Mud layers trapped within stalagmites from caves in a variety of environmental settings have been interpreted as flood deposits.  Here we present a combined petrographic and isotopic analysis of one glacial-age stalagmite, AUS-118 from Cape Range, coastal Western Australia.  Stalagmite AUS-118 was thin sectioned and visually inspected and 121 mud layers were identified.  The distance of each layer was measured from the bottom of the stalagmite.  Read More…

From Rose to Roquefort: The Food-Producing Landscape and Culture of Provence, France

April 14th, 2012

During the summer of 2011, I spent three weeks in Provence, France, traveling with a group of students seeking to understand the connections between people and the terrain in this country so famous for its cuisine. From bustling marketplaces to vast swaying lavender fields, we explored many different centers of regional agriculture and spoke to some very passionate individuals about the work that they do. Read More…

Home Range and Habitat Use of Hatchling and Juvenile Ornate Box Turtles

April 14th, 2012

 We quantified home range size and movements of hatchling and juvenile ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata) at Hawkeye Wildlife Area, Iowa, during the summer of 2011.  Ten hatchlings and juveniles were followed using radio telemetry from May through July. Read More…

Variation in the Red Coloration of the Antebrachial Scales in the Male Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata ornata)

April 14th, 2012

The ornate box turtle, Terrapene ornata ornata, displays significant sexual dimorphism. Males generally have thicker and longer tails, modified hind toes, a concave plastron, more muscular hind legs, and vividly red or orange irises and antebrachial scales, as opposed to the pale yellows and browns of juveniles and females (Legler, 1960). Read More…

Understanding Millennial-scale Shifts in Australian Monsoon Variability Over the Past 40,000 Years Through Analysis of Stable Isotopes in Calcite Stalagmites

April 14th, 2012

Approximately one third of the global population lives in the area affected by the Indo-Australian monsoon. Understanding the variability and dynamics of Australian monsoon rainfall, especially in response to global climate change, is of critical importance. Research in Borneo and Indonesia has demonstrated that the strength of the Indo-Australian monsoon is tied to millennial-scale climate anomalies originating in the North Atlantic.  Read More…

Reconstructing Tropical Cyclone Frequency Using Mud Layers in Speleothems

April 11th, 2011

Our ability to understand multi-decadal to centennial-scale trends in tropical cyclone activity is limited by the short duration of, and limitations in, historical records. In order to extend these records for tropical Western Australia, we have analyzed mud layers in stalagmite KNI-51-11 from the Kimberley region of north-central Australia that appear to be formed by cyclone-induced flooding.  KNI-51-11 grew over the last 250 years and contains 39 mud layers. Read More…

Water is Worth More Than Gold: The Anti-Mining Fight in Ecuador (Presented in Spanish)

April 11th, 2011

Mining, even with modern precautions, puts the world’s delicately balanced biosphere in peril. While staying in the Province of Azuay, Ecuador, I witnessed firsthand the people’s resistance against the Canadian mining company “IAMGOLD” that is currently in the preliminary process of exploitation at the source of the community’s water system. Read More…

Combined Stalagmite and Limpet-Based Holocene Paleoclimate Reconstructions From Coastal Portugal

April 11th, 2011

Few paleoclimate records preserve high-resolution information for the middle Holocene in (near) coastal Portugal, but this region contains many caves within a few kilometers of the coast.  In addition, shells of shallow marine invertebrates record sea surface conditions and some of these were harvested and preserved in archaeological middens. Read More…

Biodiversity Protection in Costa Rica: Research Permit Requirements Are Hampering Important Biodiversity Research

April 11th, 2011

Ecological health depends on a wide diversity of all life forms. The greater the biodiversity the more opportunities there are for adaptive responses to environmental challenges such as climate change and economic development.  Loss in biodiversity may limit medical and pharmacological discoveries.  Biodiversity-rich ecosystems are more resilient and boost ecosystem productivity. Read More…

Using Epibiont Successional Patterns to Determine the Mode of Accumulation of Late Pleistocene Fossil Reefs

April 11th, 2011

Coral colony orientation data obtained from Late Pleistocene reef coral assemblages preserved on Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, Great Inagua and San Salvador Islands, Bahamas, indicates that the same gradient in hurricane frequency observed today also was present during Late Pleistocene time. We conduct an independent test of this hypothesis by examining the successional patterns exhibited by epibionts that grew on coral colonies during a distinct reef-building event that is spectacularly preserved in the upper Hato Unit of the Lower Terrace Limestone, exposed on Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles. Read More…

Monsoon Variability Preserved in Australian Stalagmites During the Early Holocene

April 11th, 2011

Recent studies from Borneo and Indonesia have increased our understanding of the evolution of the Indonesian-Australian Summer Monsoon (InAuSM) system over the past 10,000 years (the Holocene epoch).  However, little is known about the InAuSM in Australia or at centennial time-scales. Read More…

Initial Quantification of the Effect of Fungal Extracts on Antibiotic Production in Pseudomonas fluorescens PF-5

April 11th, 2011

Biological control of plant pathogens has steadily grown in popularity over the past several decades as an alternative to the use of pesticides which negatively affects the environment. A problem in the use of biocontrol agents is the unpredictability of interactions they face once introduced to the soil, some of which impair the production of antibiotic and antifungal compounds. Read More…

Applications of Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry for Characterizing Biological Samples: Analyzing Turtle Nest Volatiles and Plant Essential Oils

April 8th, 2011

Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is a technique that combines gas-liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry to characterize substances within a sample. We first used this technique to analyze turtle nest volatiles to determine if turtle nest predators use olfactory cues to find nest sites. Read More…

Efficacy of the Curaçao Marine Park: A Pleistocene Perspective

April 8th, 2011

As global climate change persists, anthropogenic impacts will continue to exacerbate current environmental degradation, particularly to coral reef ecosystems. To mitigate this critical situation, coral reef conservation efforts have focused on the development of effective marine protected areas (MPAs). However, successful ecological conservation and restoration require an understanding of previous community states – unaffected by anthropogenic impacts – to serve as a basis for comparison. Read More…

The Taxonomic History of Gurania bignoniacea and Gurania acuminata: A Case of Species Hypermeronymy

April 8th, 2011

Gurania bignoniacea and Gurania acuminata are two species of flowering vines in the cucurbit family native to tropical South America. Although each is currently considered to be a single species with widespread geographic distribution, these two names encompass more than 20 historical species epithets applied to type specimens collected across the continent. Read More…

Host Specificity in a Group of Tropical Parasitoid Wasps

April 6th, 2011

Flies of the genus Blepharoneura, found throughout South America, are highly diverse and highly specific to the plant species they infest. The flies are parasitized by wasps, called “parasitoids” because the wasps kill their hosts (the flies). If the wasps themselves exhibit high degrees of host specificity, they may have influenced the high degree of speciation exhibited by the fly species. Read More…

Mitigating the Effects of the Shifting Baseline Syndrome by Utilizing the Benthic Molluscan Death Assemblage

April 8th, 2010

Benthic marine faunas are currently experiencing rapid shifts in community structure which are already having deleterious effects on marine ecosystems. Since many systematic surveys of marine communities occurred after those communities had been disturbed, our knowledge of “what is natural” is incomplete: a phenomenon that has been termed the “shifting baseline syndrome.” Read More…

Distribution of and Predation on Ornate Box Turtle Nests at Hawkeye Wildlife Area

April 18th, 2009

We examined the distribution and fates of natural nests of ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata) in the Hawkeye Wildlife Area, Johnson County, Iowa. Read More…

Trace Elemental Analysis of a North Australian Stalagmite

April 18th, 2009

A 152 cm tall stalagmite (KIM1) was collected from the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-sensitive and monsoon-dominated Kimberly region of northwestern Australia. Read More…

Speciation in Fire Corals: What Constitutes a Species?

April 18th, 2009

Two morphologies of Millepora, currently classified as separate species, exist off the coast of the Bahamas. Read More…

Searching for Genes that Control Phenotypic Plasticity in Amphibians

April 18th, 2009

Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of organisms to change their phenotype in order to adapt to their environment. Read More…

How Do Predators Locate Turtle Nests? An Experimental Study Using Artificial Nests

April 18th, 2009

Nest predation is an important source of mortality in turtles. We have been studying nest predation on ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata) for several years at Hawkeye Wildlife Area, Johnson County. Iowa. Read More…

Dye Sensitized Solar Cell Improvement

April 18th, 2009

Last summer we expanded on the ongoing project of the Physics Department of developing, fabricating, and testing Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSCs). Read More…

Investigating Multiple Paternity in a Colombian Population of Podocnemis expansa

April 18th, 2009

Female turtles are capable of storing sperm from multiple males, potentially enabling offspring from a single clutch to be fathered by several males. Read More…

The Chippewa Struggle for Environmental Protection and the End of the Crandon Mine Project

April 29th, 2008

For the better part of thirty years, a mining project near Crandon, Wisconsin, was pursued by multi-national corporations. A struggle to permanently block mining there intensified during the last decade of the 20th century.In 2002, the project was finally closed when the site was purchased by a coalition of Native American Tribes. Read More…

The Medieval Warm Period: How Climate Change Shaped European History

April 29th, 2008

When discussing the issues surrounding current global warming, is not uncommon to hear people bring up the so-called “Medieval Warm Period.” Such conversations are littered with debates about what the Medieval Warm Period actually was, how it impacted the world of the Middle Ages, and what an accurate comprehension of it could mean for our future. Read More…

Uncovering Tropical Diversity: Six Sympatric Species of Blepharoneura (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Flowers of Gurania spinulosa (Cucurbitaceae) in Eastern Ecuador

April 14th, 2007

Diversification of phytophagous insects is often associated with changes in the use of host taxa and host parts. We focus on a group of newly discovered neotropical tephritids in the genus Blepharoneura and report the discovery of an extraordinary number of sympatric, morphologically cryptic species all feeding as larvae on calyces of flowers of a single functionally dioecious and highly sexually dimorphic host species (Gurania spinulosa) in eastern Ecuador. Read More…

Character Displacement in Productoid Brachiopods From the Late Pennsylvanian of Central Texas

April 29th, 2006

Biodiversity is partly dependent on the availability of resources and competition for those resources. Competition can potentially exclude weaker species, thus decreasing diversity. Read More…

Hurricane-Controlled Beach Dynamics on Windward and Leeward Sides of San Salvador Island, Bahamas

April 29th, 2006

Over an eight year period four beaches on San Salvador Island, Bahamas have been monitored with respect to their dynamic erosion and depositional processes. Read More…

A Test of Island Biogeography Theory in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

April 29th, 2006

We used Island Biogeography Theory (IBT) to generate predictions of the number of tree species found on islands in lakes of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Read More…

Evidence of Deposition of Commercial Fertilizer in an Unplowed Floodplain Prairie Remnant

April 29th, 2006

Do unplowed areas of remnant tallgrass prairie offer the best examples of unaltered or “natural” prairie systems? Remnants that are on floodplains may show evidence of human alteration even though the area has never been plowed or intentionally altered. Read More…

Constituent Particle Analysis of Reefal Sediments from the Houtman-Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia

April 29th, 2006

Constituent particle analyses have been applied to many different sedimentary environments, especially in the Bahamas and the Caribbean, but have rarely been used in analyzing sediments from Western Australia. Read More…

Aquatic Environmental Chemistry

April 29th, 2006

Aquatic Environmental Chemistry is the study of sources, reactions, transport, and fate of chemical entities in water, as well as their effects on human health and the natural environment. Read More…

A Forgotten History: Iowa’s Ghost Towns

April 29th, 2006

Iowa history is rarely viewed as exciting, and is often overlooked in textbooks. Moreover, relatively few Iowans are unaware of the countless abandoned towns that litter the prairie landscape. Read More…

After Chicago

April 29th, 2006

This short story, After Chicago, was written in the Superior National Forest of Northern Minnesota during Cornell’s Wilderness Term in September, 2005. Read More…

Ancient Foul Play: A Study of Devonian Epibionts on Brachiopods Collected from Robins Quarry and Rockford Fossil Preserve

April 17th, 2004

Modern epibionts foul, or encrust, host organisms. Ancient epibionts are informative because they are fossilized in life position, preserving interactions between epibionts and hosts. Read More…

Using a Geographic Information System to Locate Areas for Prairie Restoration within Linn County , Iowa

April 17th, 2004

The goal of this project was to use a Geographic Information System (GIS) to locate areas within Linn County , Iowa for prairie restoration and preservation. Read More…

Rhinos Through Time: Extinction and Genera Evolution

April 17th, 2004

The Rhinoceros family, Family Rhinoceratidae, was once one of the most successful and diverse mammal families in the world. Read More…

A Reassessment of the Coral Reefs in San Salvador, Bahamas

April 12th, 2003

Surveys of windward and leeward patch reefs adjacent to San Salvador Island, Bahamas, and Belize, Central America, were completed prior to and after significant environmental disturbances; a severe El Nino event (1998) followed closely by a major hurricane disturbance (Hurricanes Floyd and Mitch, respectively). Read More…

Observations and Analysis of Barites Collected at Linwood Mine, Scott County, IA

April 12th, 2003

The Linwood Mine, located in Scott County, Iowa, contains a variety of interesting mineralization. Read More…

Observations and Analysis of Barites Collected at Linwood Mine, Scott County, IA

April 12th, 2003

The Linwood Mine, located in Scott County, Iowa, contains a variety of interesting mineralization. Read More…

Climate Indicators Detected in Annual Growth Bands of Pleistocene Montastraea Collected from Belize, C.A.

April 12th, 2003

Scientists interested in global climate change have increasingly turned to proxy climate records provided by stable isotopic and elemental analyses of massive coral skeletons. Read More…

Visual Communication of Predation Threat Induced by Alarm Pheromone in Fathead Minnows, Pimephales promelas (Cyprinidae)

April 12th, 2003

Numerous species of fishes from multiple orders produce and recognize chemical alarm signals. In Ostariophysan fishes, the alarm substance originates in epidermal cells and is released when their skin is damaged. Read More…