Spring 2012 Douglas Lake Report

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Newsletter of the University of Michigan Biological Station.

Transcript of Spring 2012 Douglas Lake Report

  • Spring 2012

    Douglas LakeReport

    A Special Report to Alumni & Friends of the University of Michigan Biological Station




    SPRING termMay 20 - June 16

    MINI-COURSESJune 13 - 17

    SUMMER I termJune 23 - July 21


    SUMMER II termJuly 22 - Aug. 18

    FULL SUMMER term June 23 - Aug. 18

    see Research, p. 5

    The Long View Two Multi-Decade Research Projects at UMBS

    Douglas James in the UMBS aspen plot, 1997.

    Long-term surveys are the marathon event of research. One must return to the same place, the same subjects, and the same methods, over a period of years or decades. Last summer, two researchers at the Station did just that. Owen Lind, a Professor of Biology at Baylor Univer-sity, conducted his 6th survey of Douglas Lake in 40 years. At the age of 86, Douglas James,

    University Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Arkansas, completed his 7th bird census in 65 years.

    Long-term research reveals dynamics we could never discover in a season or even several seasons of study, says UMBS Director Knute Nadelhoffer. Jamess surveys illustrate northern Michigans recovery from widespread logging. In Linds case, he documented the impact of invasive species.

    James first came to Bug Camp as a Masters student in 1946. The next year, at the request of Dr. Olin Sewall Pettingill, James staked out a 49-acre census plot east of East Burt Lake Road and south of Riggsville Road for students in the ornithology class to use. That was the site and inaugural year of Jamess breeding bird terri-tory mapping project. He returned for several years in the early 70's, in the late 90's and in 2008. Others did the censuses in 1949, 1950 and 1971, thus totaling 10 altogether. I tried to get two or three censuses over a close span of years each time to average the yearly variation in numbers, James explains. He also sampled the vegetation using protocol designed by Dr. Frank Gates.

    When James began his surveys, the region was still rebounding from wildfires and lumber-ing. The aspen-birch canopy was only 30-40 feet high. James counted 24 territories and 13 different bird species.

  • 2Director's Notes

    Knute NadelhofferUMBS Director

    When writing reports and proposals to support our field stations programs, I am at a loss for words in trying to categorize our residents. Too often I find myself writing about our faculty, researchers, and students as if members of these groups were filling entirely different roles.

    The truth is, however, that all Biological Station residents function as teachers, field scientists, and learners. Our course instruc-tors, or faculty, conduct research on site and glean new knowledge from their students and colleagues field studies. Those taking classes students nevertheless conduct field research yielding new information from which others learn. Our researchers, those faculty-level and advanced graduate student investigators who are not teaching formal courses, typically share their time and talents to mentor undergraduates and novice graduate students. Our staff, who work in support of our operations and programs, con-tribute in multiple ways to our research efforts.

    If I had my druthers, I would refer to all who work at the Station simply as researchers. Unfortunately, because those who have not ex-perienced a UMBS field season would interpret this term too narrowly, I am forced to continue referring to our residents in terms that fail to describe the richness and value of their work.

    Engagement in research by all is not a recent development at the Biological Station. The long view is illustrative. Research is embedded in our culture and we have offered research-centered field courses continually since 1909.

    Last spring, we celebrated the 100th year of our birds/ornithology class, which has contrib-uted over 851 student papers to science. Field courses such as this have engaged students and their instructors working together as researchers from the start, as documented in photographs lining the walls of Stockard Lakeside Labora-tory, the Dining Hall, and the Alumni Room of the Gates Lecture Hall.

    I am pleased to report some exciting devel-opments related to our research mission. Last February, we appointed one of an expected larg-

    er group of UMBS-based Research Scientists, Dr. Lucas (Luke) Nave. Research Scientists are faculty-level positions at the U-M. They are expected to meet the high standards of scholarly performance of traditional tenure-track faculty and to attract funding for research from outside sources. Dr. Naves appointment as Assistant Research Scientist will enable him to assume leadership roles in research and mentoring. We anticipate that he will work with us to advance our programs as we work with him to advance his research stature at national and international levels.

    Second, the LSA Deans Office has provided support to add another Research Scientist to our program. Before we begin a search to fill this position, we are seeking opportunities to leverage this anticipated Research Scientist position to include two or more positions by exploring partnerships with other U-M units. We look forward to building a dynamic cohort of Research Scientists who will base their field research at the Station and will engage collabo-rators from across U-M and other institutions.

    Finally, with support from LSA and an NSF grant, we held our first Winter Research Meet-ing on March 9th and 10th. Over 60 people former, current and prospective researchers, faculty and students attended this two-day gathering in Ann Arbor. Eighteen people pre-sented research talks and four shared posters. Also included were planning sessions for aquat-ic, atmospheric, and forest research programs. We expect that future winter meetings will fa-cilitate collaborations, improve research quality, broaden our impacts, attract new students, and engage new members from U-M and elsewhere in our field programs. We also plan to develop opportunities for you, our friends and alumni, to participate in this new forum for sharing information and planning for our future.

    As always, thank you for your generous sup-port.


  • 3Station NewsService Anniversaries

    CORRECTION: In the Fall 2011 Douglas Lake Report, we incorrectly stated that the Gates family was the only one with a 4-generation connection to the Station. Alumna Nancy Paul writes,

    The Eggleton family also has a four-generation history at Bug Camp though it may not run as directly. Grandpa Frank [Eggleton] taught there for many years. Mom and Dad [Phyllis (Eggleton) and Burne White] both took classes as did my brother, Bill, and I. The one you may not be aware of is my sister Suzanne's son - and Frank's great grandson - JT Knight, who took Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in Spring 2010.

    If yours is another 4-generation family we've neglected to note, or you find an error in the newsletter, please let us know: [email protected]

    This winter we celebrated three UMBS service annivarsaries:

    Karen Bowman completed her 20th year as Service Supervisor. Both Knute Nadelhoffer and Karie Slavik finished their 10th years as Director and Associate Director, respectively.

    Luke Nave appointed Research Professor

    FaciLities UPdateThe best news for the Station's

    facilities is that Richard Spray, who broke his ankle in a fall from a hunting blind last autumn, is back at work after surgery and a long recovery.

    The Dining Hall and Kitchen will open this spring with new flooring throughout (carpeting and tile).

    The Station is pleased to welcome Luke Nave as an Assistant Research Scientist at UMBS, effective February, 2012. Prior to that, he was a Postdoctoral Researcher on the Forest Accelerated Succession Experiment (FASET) project with Knute Nadelhoffer.

    Nave, who got his Ph.D. at Ohio State University in Peter Curtiss lab, says, One of the finest things about doing science at UMBS has been the chance to work with the outstanding researchers who come here to study forest biogeochemistry.

    In his new capacity, Nave will continue working on FASET. He will also become more involved in grant writing and mentoring students.

    Nave describes his new job as the logical next step for his career, but says he also feels very fortunate to be able to stay at UMBS. I anticipate working on the nitrogen cycling aspects of [FASET] until [Lab Associate] Jim Le Moine and I need all-terrain wheelchairs to go out and collect samples.

    Karen Bowman rarely seen sitting still, sewing curtains for the cabins.

    Jasmine Crumsey, whose research on earthworms is housed in our Biotron, participated in Climate Science Day on Capital Hill in

    February. The National Ecological Obser-vatory Network (NEON) selected Crumsey for travel funding to and special commu-nications training in Washington, D.C. prior to the event. On Science Day, Crumsey and 29 other scientists met with legislators to discuss the impacts of climate change.

    Crumsey is a graduate student at the University of Michigan. She is in Knute Nadelhoffer's lab in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She is also pursuing a graduate certificate in

    Science Technology and Public Policy at the U-M Ford School of Public Policy.

    Jasmine Crumseyphoto credit: Dale Austin

    Researcher Crumsey Schools Legislators on Climate Change

    Luke Nave

  • 4Eugene Filmore Stoermer 1934-2012

    Eugene Gene Filmore Stoermer passed away at his Ann Arbor home on Friday, February 17, 2012. He taught Freshwater Algae and Ecology of Phytoplankton at the Station from 1969-1973. He returned in the 80's as a researcher.