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Last modified: Monday, August 6, 2012

Ecological Society of America annual meeting draws more than 30 IU scientists as presenters

Contingent will address diverse range of research topics

Monday, Aug. 6, 2012

PORTLAND, Ore. -- More than 30 Indiana University faculty members and graduate students will present research this week during the 97th annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America. The meeting, themed "Life on Earth: Preserving, Utilizing, and Sustaining our Ecosystems," got under way Aug. 5 and is expected to attract about 4,000 scientists from around the world during the six-day event.

IU's College of Arts and Sciences has the largest Indiana-based contingent at the conference with researchers from the departments of Biology and Geography. Members of the Biology Department are presenting oral papers and posters and leading organized oral sessions and symposiums. Also represented at ESA are presenters from IU's School of Education and its School of Public and Environmental Affairs.


Photography by F. Collin Hobbs

Doctoral student Daniel J. Johnson, pictured, will discuss his work with IU biology professor Keith Clay on forest regeneration during the 97th annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America. Johnson is among more than 30 faculty members and graduate students attending the Aug. 5-10 meeting in Portland.

Print-Quality Photo

On Wednesday biology doctoral student Daniel J. Johnson will lead an oral session that includes his adviser, biology professor Keith Clay, and representatives from the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, on temperate forest regeneration dynamics by comparing three mapped forests in Indiana, Virginia and Wisconsin. Related work by Johnson and Clay has been profiled here recently.

Biology professor James Bever on Thursday will lead a symposium that includes scientists from Stanford University and the Netherlands' Utrecht University to discuss recent advances in modeling plant-soil feedbacks and how those feedbacks affect plant community dynamics. IU graduate student Keenan Mack will join Bever on the symposium panel. Past work by Bever on the relationship between plants and soil organisms has been highlighted here.

"The plant-soil feedback is emerging as a central force structuring plant communities and that has provided motivation and interest for the symposium," Bever said. "We have found that the soil community changes rapidly with different host plant species and that this change often results in declining performance of the resident plant."

Department of Biology associate professor Jay T. Lennon on Friday will lead an oral session titled "Browning of freshwater ecosystems: culprits and consequences of global change," which examines the growing evidence that land-derived dissolved organic carbon is being exported in increasing amounts into aquatic ecosystems.

Lennon said his talk would "highlight a suite of techniques and approaches, including simulation modeling, experiments and molecular tools that are being used to better understand how changes in the strength of land-water linkages will influence aquatic food webs and function under existing and future global change scenarios."

Additional researchers representing IU at the annual meeting from the Department of Biology include Jonathan T. Bauer (restoration ecology), David Civitello (disease and epidemiology), Spencer R. Hall (disease and epidemiology), Collin F. Hobbs (modeling), Baoming Ji (mycorrhizae), Elizabeth Koziol (grasslands/steppe), Anna Larimer (mutualism and facilitation), Helena Mendes-Soares (soil ecology), Meghan G. Midgley (biogeochemistry: atmospheric N deposition effects), Evelyn Rynkiewicz (disease and epidemiology), Angela L. Shelton (species interactions), Lauren M. Smith (invasion: community effects), and Alex T. Strauss (reptiles and amphibians). Also, from the College of Arts and Sciences' Geography Department, Edward R. Brzostek will present on "Biogeochemistry: Aboveground-Belowground interactions."

Attendees representing IU from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and presenting on the topic of urban ecology are Sarah K. Mincey, Mikaela Schmitt-Harsh and Jessica M. Vogt. Joseph A. Harsh of the School of Education will present on "Education: Pedagogy."

For more information please contact Steve Chaplin, University Communications, at 812-856-1896 or Tweeting IU Science: @Indiana Science; blogging IU science news at Science at Work.