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Meet the Mentors. UNDERC-East 2010. Dr. Todd Crowl. Aquatic ecology Population and community ecology Fish, insects Abiotic effects. Past UNDERC projects. Effect of Roundup runoff on growth of Lymnaea stagnalis and Cipangopaludina chinensis

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meet the mentors

Meet the Mentors

UNDERC-East 2010

dr todd crowl
Dr. Todd Crowl
  • Aquatic ecology
  • Population and community ecology
  • Fish, insects
  • Abiotic effects
past underc projects
Past UNDERC projects
  • Effect of Roundup runoff on growth of Lymnaeastagnalis and Cipangopaludinachinensis
  • Early to late successional leaf litter decomposition rates in a northern temperate stream by Trichopteralarvae
  • Prevalence of parasitism and predation in three freshwater gastropods at UNDERC.
  • Predator-avoidance responses in native and exotic freshwater snail species.
  • Nest site selection and predation of Chrysemyspicta and Chelydra serpentine.
  • The role of bullfrog tadpoles (Ranacatesbeiana) on stream ecosystem dynamics.
Ashley Baldridge

Third year graduate student in

Dr. David Lodge’s Lab

Broad interests: Aquatic Ecology,

Invasive Species, Predator-Prey Interactions







Adult smallmouth bass

Bass eggs

Rusty crayfish

Juvenile bass

More specifically: Food web interactions between rusty crayfish and native fish

Intraguild predation: an relationship in which two species both prey upon and compete with each other, depending on their respective life stages.

2010 underc projects
2010 UNDERC Projects

Project 1: Prey preference and functional response

Determine the preferred prey using feeding trials

Describe the functional response of the predator as influenced by substrate and/or prey species.

Project 2: Competition among crayfish for food, shelter

Conduct competition trials between crayfish using different “prizes” (e.g. food items, shelter)

Investigate which characteristics, if any, correspond to higher success in competitive encounters


General Approach…

  • Construct Tank Mesocosms
    • Feeding arena
    • Competition arena
    • Variable substrates, prey
  • Specimen Collection
    • Trapping
    • Hand collection while snorkeling
    • Core sampling
    • Kick netting
dr andy mahon
Dr. Andy Mahon

Molecular Ecology at UNDERC-East Summer 2010

molecular ecology at underc east summer 2010
Molecular Ecology at UNDERC-East Summer 2010

Projects will utilize molecular methods to detect aquatic invasive species in UNDERC waters

DNA extraction



past projects
Past Projects
  • Detection of the invasive crayfish Orconectesrusticususing environmental DNA from aquatic systems in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 
  • DNA barcoding parasite organisms found in terrestrial mammal scat using COI sequence data
project ideas
Project Ideas
  • Population genetic structure of invertebrates that are parasites of mice
    • Internal parasites or ectoparasites (ticks and fleas)
    • In collaboration with Michael Cramer
  • Monitoring movement and feeding of Chinese mystery snails
research interests
Research Interests
  • Optimal foraging and energy maximization strategies of benthic macroinvertebrates.
  • Functional morphology of benthic invertebrates.
past project shayna sura
Past Project: ShaynaSura
  • Effects of competition and predation on the feeding rate of the freshwater snail, Helisomatrivolvis.
  • Resulted in a manuscript submitted for publication.
potential projects
Potential Projects
  • Study the aquatic invertebrate communities in water masses with different abiotic factors.
  • The effect of UV radiation on aquatic invertebrate communities.
  • Or anything else that you want to do….(within reason!)
mammalian influences on forest regeneration

Mammalian Influences on Forest Regeneration

David Flagel

Belovsky Lab

Second Year Ph.D student – Third year at UNDERC

rodent seed predation dispersal
Rodent seed predation/dispersal
  • How does seed predation pressure by rodents vary during the life of a seed in the tropics?
    • Compared predation pressure by arboreal, scansorial, and terrestrial rodents on two important species of palms in the tropical rainforests of Panama
      • Impacts eventual fate of seed
ecosystem restoration by top predator recolonization
Ecosystem restoration by top predator recolonization
  • Wolf-Ungulate-Sapling System
    • Extirpation of top predators may have revealed a past trophic cascade
    • Where and how far will the trophic cascades in eastern forests trickle?
      • Community-level vs. species-level debate
      • Mesopredator Release Hypothesis
      • Indirect effects of wolves beyond plants
potential student projects
Potential Student Projects
  • Mammalian influences
    • The influences of predation risk on vigilance behavior in deer
    • Seed predation pressure variation within the rodent seed predator guild at different seed life stages
    • Coring study investigating historic trophic cascade pressure
    • Trophic cascades trickling down to affect decomposition
  • Masking effects of invasive earthworm species
    • Various densities/assemblages on the soil duff layer
    • Sapling germination and root formation/biomass
  • Past student projects:
    • Giving up densities for shrew predators on earthworm prey
    • The variation of seed removal rates by seed life stage
lauren brierley adviser dr jeffrey lucas
Lauren BrierleyAdviser: Dr. Jeffrey Lucas


  • Animal communication
  • Animal behavior
  • Conservation biology
  • Physiology
  • Birds





potential questions
Potential questions

1) Do birds use more directional vocalizations when a habitat is noisier?

2) How well do different types of noise propagate through the environment and how does that change in different environments?

3) How well can birds localize sounds that are masked with noise?

potential questions1
Potential questions

4) What amplitude of noise is needed to mask a signal and how does this vary with different noise types?

5) Do birds use more visual cues in noisy environments than they would in quite environments?

6) Does altering the spectral properties of a bird song actually increase the ability of a bird to hear a signal?

techniques to address these questions
Techniques to address these questions
  • Behavioral observations
  • Creating, recording and analyzing vocalizations
  • *Possibly* capturing birds for semi-natural experiments
lindsey sargent evolution during biological invasions
Lindsey SargentEvolution During Biological Invasions
  • Rusty Crayfish (Orconectesrusticus) as a model system
    • Important drivers of community structure
    • At least 22 generations in Wisconsin
    • Behavioral differences between native and introduced populations of rusty crayfish have been demonstrated (Pintor and Sih 2009)
  • Questions of Interest
    • Does evolution during biological invasions increase invasion success?
    • Are “invasive traits” selected for?
    • What are the ecological consequences?
summer projects
Summer Projects

Parasitic nematode, Microphallus sp.,may be reducing rusty crayfish populations

Microphallius is also found in virile and northern crayfish species.

Is Microphallus present in UNDERC lakes?

How is Microphallus affecting crayfish



Determine distribution of Microphallus on UNDERC property


potential lab experiments
Potential Lab Experiments
  • Does Microphallus infection cause increased mortality or decreased growth of northern or virile crayfish?
  • Does this parasite affect crayfish behavior such as feeding, shelter competition, and/or shelter use?


Northern Crayfish

potential field experiments
Potential Field Experiments

Is Microphallus infection more common in certain species of crayfish or in either sex within a species?

Is there a relationship between crayfish density and Microphallus infection?

Does snail density (snails are a host of Microphallus) influence the number of crayfish that become infected?

dr walt carson
Dr. Walt Carson
  • Forest ecology
  • Shifts in forest composition from several factors
    • Overbrowsing by deer
    • Fire ecology
    • Gap dynamics
past underc projects1
Past UNDERC Projects
  • The effects of shade tolerance, deer browsing, and seed predation on forest regeneration on the UNDERC property
  • Abundance and distribution of north woodland tree species with relation to canopy gaps at UNDERC.
  • Evaluating a stand of potential old growth white pine-hemlock forest at the University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center.
  • Preferred areas of deer browsing in relation to canopy cover and forest gaps.
dr michael j cramer small mammal ecology and behavior
Dr. Michael J. CramerSmall mammal ecology and behavior
  • Effect of predators on nesting behavior in Peromyscus
  • Foraging of Peromyscus on Acer seeds
  • Effect of Tenderfoot Creek on movement of rodents
  • Parasitism of terrestrial vs. aquatic gastropods
  • Student ideas welcome
past underc projects2
Past UNDERC Projects
  • Effects of mink urine on trappability of small mammals:  Peromyscusmaniculatus,Peromyscusleucopus, Tamiasstriatus, Myodesgapperiand Blarinabrevicauda.
  • Response of Erethizondorsatumand Lepusamericanusto specialized and generalized predators.
  • Effects of coyote urine on trappability of Peromyscusleucopus and Peromyscusmaniculatusgracilis. 
  • Optimal foraging and predation pressures: the importance of woody debris to the foraging behavior of Peromyscusmaniculatusgracilis. 
  • The effect of water barriers on the homing ability of Peromyscusmaniculatus and Myodesgapperi. 
  • Edge effects of natural and anthropogenic field types on small mammal individual condition, population density and species composition at UNDERC-East. 
chris patrick
Chris Patrick
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning at multiple spatial scales
    • Community ecology
    • Aquatic systems
    • Decomposition
    • Invertebrates
    • Experiments
past projects 2007
Past Projects: 2007

Leaf Pack Field Experiment

Laboratory Experiment

  • Investigating the effect of arthropod shredder species identity on organic matter processing
  • Comparing decomposition and insect colonization rates in two streams with similar physical characteristics and different arthropod shredder communities

End of a day in the field

Picking up leaf packs

past projects 2008
Past Projects: 2008
  • Spatial and temporal changes of nutrients and organisms in lake outflow streams
  • Effect of macroinvertebrate colonization on decomposition rates of Speckled Alder (Alnusincanca) leaves in northern Michigan streams

Plum Creek


Tenderfoot Creek


past projects 2009
Past Projects 2009

1) Do differences among bacteria and fungi of the lakes and streams at UNDERC lead to different leaf decomposition rates?

2) Does leaf species identity and the presence of invertebrate shredders impact the relationship between microbial community identity and leaf decomposition rates?

proposed projects 2010
Proposed Projects 2010

Testing metacommunity theory using zooplankton communities and fish predation

2) Investigating how interspecific interactions between shredding invertebrates changing along a resource gradient.

High Nitrogen



proposed projects 20101
Proposed Projects 2010

3) Investigating behavioral interactions between shredding aquatic invertebrates using macro scale digital video footage

4) Investigating density dependence and intra-specific competition in shredding aquatic invertebrates

maggie mangan
Maggie Mangan
  • UNDERC-East TA
  • Plant community ecology
  • Potential projects:
    • Tree species effects on leaf litter decomposition in northern hardwood forests
    • Functional diversity of microbial communities under native and invasive tree species
    • What is the germination success of wetland species under elevated temperatures?
    • How does botanical composition change between the edges and the interior of wetland ecosystems?
    • What is the risk of introduced aquatic plants and what are some invasive species removal strategies?

Dr. Michael Pfrender

Ecological and Environmental Genomics

Pfrender Lab




Environmental Challenges for Natural Populations

  • Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems are rapidly changing, in part, as a direct result of anthropogenic influences.
  • The rapid pace of environmental perturbation exposes natural populations to a suite of challenges including:
  • Climate Change
  • Decreasing Habitat and Increasing Fragmentation
  • Toxic Compounds in the Environment
  • Species Introductions and Shifting Geographic Ranges



Rates of Adaptation

  • From these data we can estimate the rate of adaptation
  • Do Sierra Nevada Daphnia show high rates of evolutionary change in response to introduced predators?





Fisk et al. 2007




Changes in Pigmentation

  • Daphnia exposed to predation from introduced fish have reduced pigmentation

*** p < 0.001







Genetic Basis of Environmental Response

  • Are the genes and pathways responsible for acclimation the same as those involved in adaptation and diversification?
  • How does the interaction between genes and environment influence individual fitness and population persistence in changing environments?
dr tony joern insect ecology
Dr. Tony JoernInsect Ecology
  • My basic ongoing research activities include both field- and lab-based studies in these primary areas:
    • importance of non-linear dynamic interactions among species as key factors driving grasshopper population processes
    • nutritional ecology: digestion as an ecological problem, and the importance of diet with “imbalanced” nutritional quality as a proximate limit to grasshopper secondary production
  • Baldridge –
  • Brierly –
  • Carson –
  • Cramer –
  • Crowl –
  • Flagel –
  • Joern –
  • Andy Mahon –
  • Heidi Mahon –
  • Mangan –
  • Patrick –
  • Pfrender –
  • Sargent–
  • Check out the Facebook page (University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center group)
  • Get top three choices to Michael Cramer by 3 April !!!