Calendar

October – November 2014

Oct
1
Wed
SFWS Seminar Series: Predation in the Fire Forest
Oct 1 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

**Continuing Forestry Education Credits Available

Title: Predation in the Fire Forest: a Long-Term Mesopredator Exclosure Experiment presented by the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center in Newton, Georgia

Abstract: In 2003, we initiated research to better understand the role of mesopredators within a longleaf pine forest. The core infrastructure of our experiment consisted of 4 mesopredator exclosures and 4 control plots. Direct effects of mesopredators on studied prey populations varied. Gopher tortoise nest and hatchling survival were dramatically greater in exclosures relative to controls. In contrast, mesopredators had no impact on nest survival of shrub-nesting birds. Small mammal response to mesopredators was mixed with only one species having increased survival in mesopredator exclusures. Compensatory predation was largely responsible for lack of population change in most small mammal populations, and fire-facilitated predation was the most important factor affecting survival of most small mammal populations. Recent efforts suggest that indirect effects of predators on prey may have greater impact than direct effects. We documented behavioral responses to predation risk in small mammal populations and white-tailed deer. Cotton rats were larger and had larger home ranges where mesopredators were excluded. White-tailed deer responded behaviorally to mesopredator exclusion; they used exclosures more than expected and were less vigilant within exclosures. White-tailed deer use of exclosures during the fawning season and increased fawn survival within exlcosures led to a substantial increase in fawn recruitment. Current research is focused on understanding the role of predation risk on population dynamics and behavior of wildlife.

Bio of SpeakerDr. Mike Conner received his B.S. degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Mississippi State University. He served as an Assistant Professor at Arkansas Tech University for 3 years before accepting an Assistant Scientist position at the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center in 1997. He is currently a Scientist at the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center in Newton Georgia. His research interests include the direct and indirect impacts of predators on prey populations and communities, novel ways to manage predation and predation risk, and the role of predation risk as a driver of habitat selection.

Oct
8
Wed
SFWS Seminar Series: Wildfires In Relation to CO2
Oct 8 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

**Continuing Forestry Education Credits Available

Title: Has Extra CO2 Increased the Number of Wildfires? 

 

Abstract: We are living in an age where just about anything is blamed on the an increase in CO2…(even cold events like the polar vortex). Some journalists (and others) now blame recent wildfires on anthropogenic global warming. Although it is true, that a large number of wildfires in the USA are caused by humans, there is no hard evidence that (independent on fuel loads), CO2 affects wildfires. Some short-term, cherry-picked data, do show a positive correlation while others show a negative correlation. Even so, several politicians claim the number and size of wildfires are a direct result of an increase in CO2. On June 3rd, 2014, Dr. South testified to a Senate subcommittee regarding wildfire trends in the USA. This seminar will cover some of his Senate testimony.

 

Bio of Speaker: Dr. David South currently resides near Pumpkintown, SC. After graduating in 1975 with a MS in Forestry (NCSU), he came to Auburn in 1975 and began working on herbicide research in nurseries. He completed his Ph.D. in 1983 (Auburn). South received two Fulbrights and conducted research in South Africa, Scotland and New Zealand. South also made $1,000 bets with two professors and won both times. He currently is willing to bet $1,000 on sea level increase by the year 2024. He retired in 2010 after working for 35 years with the Nursery Cooperative. Dr. South was recently referred to as being on the “fringe” by a US Senator.

 

Oct
15
Wed
SFWS Seminar Series: Nematodes in Louisiana
Oct 15 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

**Continuing Forestry Education Credits Available

Title: Rotylenchulus and Bursaphelenchus: the Ying and Yang of Nematodes in Louisiana

 

Abstract: Four out of five multi-cellular animals on earth are nematodes. Most nematodes are actually beneficial to man since they feed on fungi, bacteria, and other microscopic organisms that live in the soil and thereby recycle the nutrients contained in them. Nematodes also benefit mankind by parasitizing a wide range of damaging insect species. A majority of nematologists, however, focus their research activities on a relatively small group of nematodes, perhaps 4,000 species that are plant pathogens. Plant-parasitic nematodes are a serious, ever-present and insidious agricultural production constraint. They are microscopic, subtle, mostly root-parasitic animals that rarely make their presence known to the untrained eye. The symptomology they cause is often inaccurately attributed to factors such as plant nutritional and/or water deficiencies or excesses, soil-inhabiting insects, or undesirable soil structure, fertility or topography.
Collaborative research with other nematologists, colleagues and students in the LSU Agricultural Center over the last 35 years has been used to: 1.) establish “damage thresholds” for five of the most pathogenic species of nematodes associated with soybeans in Louisiana; 2.) characterize nematode-nematode competition on soybean and nematode-fungus interactions on sorghum, wheat, rice, tomato, cotton, pepper and strawberry 3.) evaluate the efficacy of all nematicides and potential biological control agents labeled for use on soybean, cotton, and sugarcane, as well as novel and environmentally-friendly materials such as Agri-Terra; 4.) monitor the impact of a variety of crop rotation schemes on population development of several nematodes pathogenic on soybean; 5.) make significant contributions to efforts to characterize the intricacies of nematode-fungus-insect-weed pest complexes of soybean; and 6.) document reproductive and pathological variation in geographic isolates of reniform nematode. Additionally, research conducted over the last five years has documented the economic importance of nematodes on recreational and residential turf in Louisiana and resulted in the initiation of research on the use of GPS mediated site-specific nematology.
Forestry is the number one agricultural industry in Louisiana. There are 13.9 million acres of forests, including pine, oak, gum and cypress. Approximately one billion board feet of timber and 3.6 million cords of pulpwood are cut annually to support a variety of forest-related industries including Kraft paper and fine-paper mills, plywood and particle board plants, furniture and flooring manufacturers, pulp mills, liner board and container board factories and paper bag plants. Currently, a single plant-parasitic nematode species, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, commonly called the pinewood nematode, is rapidly becoming the most devastating forest pathogen outside of America causing a disease called Pine-Wilt.
The disease cycle of pine wilt begins with immature stages of the nematode “hitchhiking” from diseased to healthy trees on round headed borers or long horned, cerambycid beetles. Herein may be an important difference between pine wilt disease in America versus that in Asia and Europe. Monochamus alternatus is the primary vector of the nematode in Japan, China and Korea; M. carolinensis is the primary vector in the United States and M. galloprovincialis vectors the nematode in Portugal and other European countries from which it has been reported. Perhaps the relationship of the beetle vectors with the pinewood nematode is different between the three beetle species and this in some way limits the spread of the nematode in North America. This is a research hypothesis shared by E.C. McGawley and Drs. Kazuyoshi Futai and Yuko Takeuchi of the Laboratory of Terrestrial Microbial Ecology of the University of Kyoto in Japan.

 

Bio of Speaker: After completing the Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky in 1977, Dr. Edward C. McGawley joined the faculty at Louisiana State University as Assistant Professor of Nematology in 1978. His research program focuses on the role of nematodes in plant disease complexes and in recent years on variation in populations of reniform nematode and evaluation of environmentally responsible nematicides. He has authored or co-authored more than 150 refereed publications and secured approximately $2.1million in competitive grant funds.
Dr. McGawley has is an active member of The Society of Nematologists (SON) since, the Organization of Nematologists of Tropical America (ONTA), The European Society of Nematologists and The American Phytopathological Society. He has served as Editor of the Nematology Newsletter of SON and as Editor in chief of Nematropica.. Dr. McGawley has been a William J. Fulbright Fellowship Recipient, a NATO/ JNICT Scholarship Recipient, a Sigma Xi Distinguished Professor and has received Outstanding Service Awards from SON and ONTA, and in 2013, he received the inaugural Outstanding Teaching award from the Society of Nematologists.

 

Presented by: the Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology; LSU

Oct
22
Wed
SFWS Seminar Series: Alabama’s Reptiles and Amphibians
Oct 22 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

**Continuing Forestry Education Credits Available

Title: Conserving Alabama’s Reptiles and Amphibians: Threats, Priorities and Successes

 

Presented by: Auburn University Biological Sciences

Oct
29
Wed
SFWS Seminar Series: Army Corps of Engineers
Oct 29 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

**Continuing Forestry Education Credits Available

Title: Evolution of the Army Corps of Engineers as a Natural Resource Management Agency, and the Need for Rapid Science-Based Approaches to the Quantification of Forested Wetland Biogeochemical Functions 

 

Abstract: Beginning with the Revolutionary War, the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has supported both military and civil works initiatives. This historically included the systematic drainage of wetlands on a massive scale (e.g., Everglades, Mississippi River Valley). As the scientific understanding of wetland and watershed sciences increased, federal laws including the Clean Water Act (CWA) shaped the Corps current role as a natural resource management agency responsible for regulating activities impacting wetland resources. The CWA and Corps policies require the quantification of wetland functions; including biogeochemical functions. As a result of monetary and time constraints, recent approaches to wetland resource management focus on the development of rapid ecological assessment methods (RAMs). We synthesize data from two studies examining: 1) the validation of RAM scores using soil biogeochemical measures in restored bottomland hardwood (BHW) wetlands, and 2) the application of RAM data to headwater areas impacted by mountaintop mining. Results demonstrate that RAM assessments of BHW biogeochemical functions (e.g., nutrient cycling, export of organic C) display significant relationships with soil C, microbial biomass C, total organic C, and wetland hydrology (p<0.002). Further, RAM approaches prove a useful proxy measures for biogeochemical functions occurring in headwater areas impacted by mountaintop mining, including measures of nutrient inputs (p=0.002–0.016), processing (p=0.002-0.048), and export (p=0.01-0.024). Study results indicate that the RAMs examined provide useful tools for evaluating wetland biogeochemical properties and functions. The application of science-based approaches to wetland management enhances the Corps ability to effectively regulate, maintain, and enhance the nations’ natural resources.

 

Bio of Speaker: Dr. Jacob Berkowitz is research soil scientist at the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg Mississippi. His research focuses on the wetland biogeochemistry, hydric soil processes and morphology, wetland delineation, and ecological assessment. He is the director if the Wetlands Research and Technology Center and leader of the Corps Wetland Research Team. Over the course of his career, he has worked in wetlands in every region of the country including research completed in over 35 states. Dr. Berkowitz conducts basic and applied wetland research projects, oversees the regionalization of the Corps of Engineers wetland delineation manual, manages several wetland training programs, and provides technical assistance to federal agencies addressing problematic wetlands and enforcement actions. His research has resulted in the publication of a variety of peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, technical reports, and conference presentations. Dr. Berkowitz has a B.S. in environmental science from the University of North Carolina Asheville, a M.S. in soil and water sciences from the University of California Riverside, and a Ph.D. in wetland biogeochemistry from Louisiana State University

 

Presented by: The United States Army Corps of Engineers

Nov
5
Wed
SFWS Seminar Series: Models in Applied Ecological Research
Nov 5 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

**Continuing Forestry Education Credits Available

Title: Spatial Occupancy Models and Capture-Recapture Models in Applied Ecological Research

Abstract: Two of the most widely used classes of models for studying and monitoring wildlife populations are occupancy models and capture-recapture models. Until recently, however, these methods were not spatially explicit, limiting their utility for studying ecological processes such as dispersal and connectivity – processes that can strongly influence spatial variation in density and population viability. I will present an overview of new developments in spatial modeling and demonstrate their utility using examples from ongoing research projects on desert-breeding amphibians in the Sonoran desert and carnivores in the southeastern US.
Bio of Speaker: Dr. Chandler is an Assistant Professor of wildlife ecology and management at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. He received his BS in Wildlife Biology from the University of Vermont. He obtained his MS and PhD degrees in Wildlife Conservation at the University of Massachusetts during which time he studied the effects of forest management and coffee production methods on migratory birds. He spent three years as a post-doc at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center developing statistical models and R packages for inference about population dynamics. Recently, he co-authored a book on spatially explicit capture-recapture methods. His ongoing research projects include studies of desert
8
breeding amphibian metapopulations in Arizona, species range shifts in the southern Appalachian Mountains, biodiversity and coffee production methods in Central America, and deer-panther dynamics in southern Florida.

 

Presented by: the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Nov
12
Wed
SFWS Seminar Series: Potential Climate Change Impact
Nov 12 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

**Continuing Forestry Education Credits Available

Title: A Quantitative Assessment Framework for Potential Climate Change Impacts on National Hydropower Generation

Abstract: Hydropower generation is mainly influenced by stream flow availability, which may be directly affected by climate change and variability. Using a series of hydro-climatic models and statistical techniques, including General Circulation Models (GCMs), Regional Climate Models (RCMs), bias correction techniques, Hydrological Models (HMs), historic runoff-generation relationships and a newly-organized national hydropower dataset, a regional assessment framework is being developed to quantify the potential climate change impacts on hydropower generation to support decisions on future hydropower marketing and contracting activities. Efforts are undertaken to refine the spatial resolution, enhance the model calibration, and investigate new regional water balance approaches that incorporates water storage and competing water uses to provide better understanding of future conditions and improve mitigation strategies.

 

Bio of Speaker: Dr. Shih-Chieh Kao is a statistical hydrologist in the Environmental Sciences Division and Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). He earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in civil engineering from National Taiwan University, Taiwan, in 1999 and 2001, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in civil engineering from Purdue University, USA, in 2008. His PhD dissertation, “Multivariate Statistical Analysis of Indiana Hydrologic Data”, was awarded as the Purdue Civil Engineering Best Dissertation in the year of 2008. His areas of research expertise include hydrologic extremes, multivariate statistical analysis, supercomputing, climate change impact assessment, and hydropower resource evaluation. Dr. Kao joined ORNL in 2009 as a post-doctoral research associate and was promoted to research scientist in 2010. He is currently the principal investigator for several U.S. Department of Energy funded research projects focusing on national hydropower resource assessment, climate change impact on hydropower, and regional-scale hydro-climate simulation. Dr. Kao is a frequent reviewer for a number of science journals, and was awarded as an Outstanding Reviewer for the Journal Hydrologic Engineering, ASCE, at 2009. He recently received the ICSH-STAHY 2013 Best Paper Award jointly with Dr. Rao S. Govindaraju from Purdue University for their drought analysis paper published in Journal of Hydrology in 2010.

Presented by: the Environmental Sciences Division and Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory 

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