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Department News

Spotting Scope - September 2016

Wagner named Head of Forestry and Natural Resources 

Robert Wagner, Henry W. Saunders Distinguished Professor in Forestry and Director of the Center for Research on Sustainable Forests (CRSF) Dr. Robert Wagner and Cooperative Forestry Research (CFRU) at the University of Maine, has been appointed professor and head of Purdue’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, effective October 1. He succeeds Rob Swihart, who is returning to his faculty role after serving as department head since 2004. Dr. Wagner received his bachelor's degree in forest management from Utah State University, his master’s in forest ecology/ silviculture from the University of Washington, and his PhD in silviculture/vegetation management from Oregon State University. He served as a program leader and senior scientist at the Ontario Forest Research Institute in Ontario Canada before joining the faculty in the School of Forest Resources at the University of Maine. At Maine he served as Director of the Cooperative Forestry Research Unit, Associate Director of the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute, and Director of the School of Forest Resources prior to his appointment as Distinguished Professor and Director of the Centers. “I could not be more excited about the future of the Forestry and Natural Resources department under Dr. Wagner's leadership” said Dean Jay Akridge. "I also want to say thank you and express my deepest appreciation to Dr. Rob Swihart for twelve great years of service as Head of Forestry and Natural Resources. He has been a tremendous leader for the department."


  • Fei, S., H. Zhang, B. Hardiman, B. Pijanowski. $996,171.00. NSF Marcosystems Biology
  • Hook,Tomas, $50,284, Univ of WI-Milwaukee, “The new Lake Michigan food web: establishing links between nearshore food sources and pelagic piscivores”​
  • Jacobs,Douglass; McKenna,James, $2,000, Bruce Wakeland, voluntary support
  • Jacobs,Douglass; McKenna,James, $2,000, Bryan Wipperman, voluntary support
  • Jacobs,Douglass,McKenna, James, $4,000, Lincoln Hills RC&D, voluntary support
  • Swihart,Robert, $7,500, Indiana Arborists Assn., voluntary support
  • Dunning,John,B, $29,103, PRF Research, FY 16/17 “Post fledging association of mature forest birds with early successional habitat in South-Central Indiana for P. Ruhl”
  • Hook,Tomas; Stein, Sarah, $55,150, Univ of IL, “Knauss Fellowship Application-Sarah Stein”
  • Jacobs,Douglass; Mielke, Manfred, $125,000, USDA Forest Service, “Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center”
  • Cassens,Daniel, $750, Smith Brothers, voluntary support
  • Zischke,Mitchell; Salazar,Kara; Beugly, Jay, $4,529, IN Department of Natural Resources, “Public workshops on recreational fishing in Southern Lake Michigan”
  • Dunning,John,B, $26,900, USDA Forest Service, “Bird Breeding Survey on the Hoosier National Forest”
  • Jacobs,Douglass; McKenna,James, $2,500, Banks Hardwood, voluntary support​
  • Pijut,Paula, $2,500, Northland Corp., voluntary support
  • Swihart,Robert; Saunders, Michael; Jenkins, Michael; Dunning, John B; Freeman,Charlotte, Holland, Jeffrey, $613,024, IN Department of Natural Resources, “Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment Phase III”
  • Salazar,Kara; Pijanowski,Bryan, $69,995, IN Department of Natural Resources, “Tipping points and indicators: engaging Great Lakes communities to develop tipping point action plans”
  • Saunders,Michael, $168,773, USDA Forest Service, “End-of-Rotation Prescribed Fire: Tree- and Stand-Level Effects on Qualify and Lumber Value Recovery”
  • Flaherty,Elizabeth, $10,000, USDA Forest Service, “Northern flying squirrel population-level responses to forest management and red spruce restoration in the Alleghany Mountains”
  • Jacobs,Douglass, $20,000, USDA Forest Service, “Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center”
  • Jacobs,Douglass, $5,000, USDA Forest Service, “Optimizing nursery photoperiod to promote root growth of forest tree seedlings after planting”
  • Salazar,Kara, $2,500, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “Indiana Master Watershed Stewards-Curriculum Development, Coastal Storm Programs”
  • Hoverman,Jason, $99,667, Univ of CA-SB, “EID disease in complex communities: multi-host multi-pathogen interactions drive infection dynamics”
  • Saunders, Michael, $101,398, Dept of Navy, “Application of ecological forestry principle to regenerate oak-dominated hardwood ecosystems”
  • Jenkins,Michael, $6,345, National Park Service, “Fourteen years of change following estern hemlock loss I the southern Appalachian forests”​


  • ​Klocko, A.L., Brunner, A.M., Huang, J., Meilan, R., Lu, H., Ma, C., Morel, A., Zhao, D., Ault, K.1, Dow, M., Howe, G., Shevchenko, O., and Strauss, S.H. 2016. Genetic containment of forest trees by RNAi suppression of LEAFY. Nature Biotechnology (in press)
  • ​​Erickson, R.A., C. B. Rees, A. A. Coulter, C. M. Merkes, K. F. Touzinsky, L. Walleser, R. R. Goforth and J. J. Amberg.  In Press.  Detecting the movement and spawning activity of bigheaded carps with environmental DNA.  Molecular Ecology Resources.  DOI: 10.11111755-0998.12533
  • Ault, K., Venkatesh Viswanatha, V., Jayawickrama, J., Ma, C., Eaton, J., Rick Meilan, R., Hohenschuh, W., Murthy, G., and Strauss, S. (2016) Improved growth and weed control of glyphosate-tolerant poplars. New Forests (in press)
  • Klocko, A.L., Brunner, A.M., Huang, J., Meilan, R., Lu, H., Ma, C., Morel, A., Zhao, D., Ault, K., Dow, M., Howe, G., Shevchenko, O., and Strauss, S.H. 2016. Genetic containment of forest trees by RNAi suppression of LEAFY.  Nature Biotechnology (accepted)
  • Pirro, V., S. C. Guffey, M. S. Sepulveda, C. T. Mahapatra, C. R. Ferreira, A. K. Jarmusch, and R. G. Cooks.  Lipid dynamics in zebrafish embryonic development observed by DESI-MS imaging and nanoelectrospray-MS.  Molecular Biosystems, 016, 12, 2069.
  • Berl, J.L., H.A. Johnstone, J.W. Wu, E.A. Flaherty, and R.K. Swihart. Preference for weed seed and waste grain by native mice in row-crop agriculture. Weed Science, in press.
  • Negreros-Castillo, P, I. Martínez-Salazar, K.F. Kellner, C.W. Mize, R.K. Swihart, and M.A. Navarro-Martínez. Survival of Swietenia macrophylla King seed when directly sown into slash and burn agriculture fields in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Bois et Forêts des Tropiques, in press.
  • Sundaram, M., N.I. Lichti, M.A. Steele, H.J. Dalgleish, and R.K. Swihart. Frequency-dependent hoarding by Sciurus carolinensis occurs with seeds of similar perceived value. Journal of Mammalogy, in press.
  • Smyser, T.J., G.E Stauffer, S.A. Johnson, C.M. Hudson, O.E. Rhodes, Jr., and R.K. Swihart. 2016. Annual survival of Allegheny woodrats in a nonequilibrium metapopulation. Journal of Mammalogy, doi:10.1093/jmammal/gyw136.
  • Kierepka, E.M., S.A. Anderson, R.K. Swihart, and O.E. Rhodes, Jr.  2016. Evaluating the influence of life history characteristics on genetic structure: A comparison of small mammals inhabiting complex agricultural landscapes. Ecology and Evolution, doi:10.1002/ece3.2269.
  • Kellner, K.F., and R.K. Swihart. 2016. Timber harvest and drought interact to impact oak seedling growth and survival in the Central Hardwood Forest. Ecosphere, in press.
  • Kellner, K.F., N.I. Lichti, and R.K. Swihart. 2016. Midstory removal reduces effectiveness of oak (Quercus) acorn dispersal by small mammals in the Central Hardwood Forest region. Forest Ecology and Management 375:182-190.
  • Fan, Meng, Ping Wu Ping, Zhilan Feng, and Robert K. Swihart.  2016.  Dynamics of predator-prey metapopulations with Allee effects. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, in press.
  • Swihart, R.K., M. Sundaram, T.O. Höök, J.A. DeWoodyand K.F. Kellner. 2016. Benchmarks of scholarly performance for faculty in fisheries and wildlife. PLOS ONE 11(5): e0155097. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0155097.
  • *Nunez-Mir, G.C.  J. M.  DesprezB. V.  Iannone IIIT. Clarkand *S. Fei. Is forestry research addressing socioecological challenges? Journal of Forestry (Accepted)
  • *Nunez-Mir, G. C.B. V., Iannone III, B. C. Pijanowski, N. Kongand *S. Fei.. Automated content analysis: a response to the big literature challenge. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. (published on line)
  • Doyle J.M., Katzner T.E., Roemer G.W., Cain III J.W., Milsap B., McIntire C., Sonsthagen S., Fernandez N., Wheeler M., Bulut Z., Bloom P. & DeWoody J.A. (2016) Novel single nucleotide polymorphisms reveal genetic structure and viability selection in the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), a vagile raptor with a holarctic distribution.  Conservation Genetics DOI: 10.1007/s10592-016-0863-0.
  • Katzner T.E., Nelson D., Braham M., Doyle J.M., Fernandez N., Duerr A.E., Bloom P., Miller T. & DeWoody J.A. (2016).  Renewable energy impacts on wildlife and the origins of golden eagles killed at the Altamont Pass wind energy facility.  Conservation Biology, in press.
  • Wijayawardena B.K, Minchella D.J. & DeWoody J.A. (2016) The influence of trematode parasite burden on gene expression in a mammalian host.  BMC Genomics 17:600 DOI: 10.1186/s12864-016-2950-5.
  • Bulut Z., Bragin E., DeWoody J.A., Braham M., Katzner T.E., & Doyle J.M. (2016) Raptor space use and philopatry as assessed using non-invasive genetic methods:  eagles on the Asian steppe.  Journal of Raptor Research, in press.
  • Abdel Moniem H.M., Schemerhorn B.J., DeWoody J.A. & Holland J.D. (2016) Landscape genetics of a pollinator longhorn beetle [Typocerus v. velutinus (Olivier)] on a continuous habitat surface.  Molecular Ecology, in press.
  • Flaherty, E. A., C. A. Eckrich, and M. Ben-David. 2016. The mystery of the missing martens. National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science.
  • Gleichsner, A. M., and E. A. Flaherty. 2016. Mini cases on choosing appropriate statistical tests for ecological data. National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science.
  • Quakenbush, H., L.E. D’Acunto, E.A. Flaherty, and P.A. Zollner. 2016. Testing the efficacy of an acoustic lure on bat mist-netting success in North American central hardwood forests. Journal of Mammalogy. Early online access.​
  •  Pirro, V; Guffey, Samuel C; Sepúlveda, MS; Mahapatra, CT; Ferreira, CR; Jarmusch, AK; Cooks, RG. (2016) Lipid Dynamics in Zebrafish Embryonic Development Observed by DESI-MS Imaging and nanoelectrospray-MS. Molecular BioSystems 12(7), 2069-2079. DOI: 10.1039/C6MB00168H –Featured on journal cover.​
  •  Feiner, Zachary S; Coulter, David P; Guffey, Samuel C; Höök, Tomas O. (2016) Does overwinter temperature affect maternal body composition and egg traits in yellow perch? Journal of Fish Biology 88, 1524-1543. DOI: 10.1111/jfb.12929
  • Shuai L, Amiri, MT, Questell-Santiago, YM, Héroguel F, Li Y, Hoon Kim H, Meilan R, Chapple C, Ralph, J, Luterbacher JS (2016) Formaldehyde-based stabilization facilitates lignin monomer production during biomass depolymerization. Science (accepted).
  •  Shuai L, Amiri, MT, Questell-Santiago, YM, Héroguel F, Li Y, Hoon Kim H, Meilan R, Chapple C, Ralph, J, Luterbacher JS (2016) Formaldehyde-based stabilization facilitates lignin monomer production during biomass depolymerization. Science (accepted).
  • Rahmani, M.-S., Pijut, P.M., and Shabanian, N. (2016) Protoplast isolation and genetically true-to-type plant regeneration from leaf- and callus-derived protoplasts of Albizia julibrissinPlant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture-Journal of Plant Biotechnology DOI 10.1007/s11240-016-1072-8.
  • Klocko, A.L., Brunner, A.M., Huang, J., Meilan, R., Lu, H., Ma, C., Morel, A., Zhao, D., Ault, K., Dow, M., Howe, G., Shevchenko, O., and Strauss, S.H. 2016. Genetic containment of forest trees by RNAi suppression of LEAFY.  Nature Biotechnology 34:918–922​


  • Congratulations to Basil Iannone, former postdoc from the Fei lab (2013-2016) who has started his new position as assistant professor at the University of Florida.
  • Wagner GrandsonCongratulations to Rod Williams on being selected as a Fellow of the Purdue University Teaching Academy!
  • Congratulations to (first-time) Grandpa Bob Wagner and the entire Wagner family on the birth of Easton Wagner Kimball on Tuesday, September 13.  Mom (eldest Wagner daughter) and Easton doing very well.  Grandpa reports “VERY HAPPY FAMILY!”
  • Congratulations to our Spring grads: Leah (Zoe) Almeida, M.S.; Allison R. Hrycik, M.S.; Yanzhu Ji, Ph.D.; Melissa Johnson, M.S.; and Stephanie Trapp, M.S.!
  • Congratulations to Rob Quackenbush on successfully defending his thesis on May 25!
  • Congratulations to Kate Pochini on successfully defending her masters thesis on June 27!
  • Congratulations to Christine Keller on successfully defending her dissertation on July 20!​
  • Congratulations to Holly Mutascio on successfully defending her masters thesis on August 4!
  • Congratulations to Zoe Almeida on successfully defending her thesis on April 4!
  • Congratulations Mekala Sundaram on successfully defending her dissertation on September 16th.
  • Congratulations to Gang Shao for the successful defense of his dissertation on September 19th!
  • Sam Guffey Congratulations to Sam Guffey, aquatic ecology lab manager, who became the APSAC Chair on May 11!  Great picture, Sam!
  • Congratulations to Don Carlson, forester, on receiving an Administrative and Professional Staff Advisory Committee (APSAC) professional development grant!
  • Kara Salazar, sustainable communities extension specialist, passed the LEEP AP Neighborhood Development credential from the Green Building Certification Institute in August. Congratulations, Kara!
  • Congratulations to Kara Salazar who has been accepted into the 2017 National Extension Leadership Development program!


  • Shaneka LawsonCongratulations to Linda Prokopy, professor of natural resources social science, who was chosen to receive the Corinne Alexander Spirit of the Land Grant Award!
  • Congratulations to Shaneka Lawson, USDA Forest Service-Research Plant Physiologist and Adjunct Assistant Professor, who recently received a Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) from U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at the USDA’s Abraham Lincoln Honor Awards Ceremony!  This represents the second year in a row that Shaneka has won the PVSA award and is her first gold.  Shaneka was recognized for her numerous volunteer efforts within the community in support of environmental sustainability that ranged from planting trees on both Earth and Arbor Day to giving a series of lectures to minority schoolchildren about food security and its relation to climate change and the planting of trees.  The award ceremony was held September 13th at Jefferson Auditorium in Washington DC. 


  • Congratulations to Erin Kenison​, graduate research assistant with Dr. Rod Williams, on winning Best Student Paper for her research on “Enhancing headstarting techniques for Eastern Hellbenders” at the World Congress of Herpetology in Tonglu, China. This conference is the premiere conference for herpetologists and is held only every four years.


  • Seth Peters (BS Wildlife 2015) was recently promoted from Acting Manager of Kankakee Fish and Wildlife Area to the Wildlife Staff Specialist at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Central Office.
  • Jared Green (BS Fisheries and Aquatic Science 2016) recently accepted a full time position as an Aquatic Biologist for Jones Fish Hatcheries, Inc.

Gingko Gathering

On September 1, the FNR family gathered for its annual Gingko Gathering.  Over 175 people attended this event for new and current faculty, staff, and students (both undergrad and grad).  Over 100 door prizes were given out to students.  FNR student organizations were present to provide info about their callouts.  Crabby Mike’s BBQ provided the food.  The weather was perfect and everyone appeared to have a great time.​


​Safe Zone training​

The Safe Zone curriculum has been extensively updated and they are now ready to launch the Safe Zone 2.0 curriculum.  If you completed Safe Zone training prior to January 2016, you are encouraged to register for the new training.

Trans inclusion training​

The 90-minute training is dfesigned to provide information about trans identities and help attendees develop skills to create inclusive and compliant spaces to support trans students, staff and faculty.


​​ACRES hires new land management specialist​

ACRES Land Trust has hired Evan Hill (2015 Wildlife B.S. grad from FNR) to fill a new position as land management specialist. Hill is a Purdue wildlife graduate and previously spent two summers as an ACRES land management intern in a program funded by the Olive B. Cole Foundation. He also served at Colorado's Division of Wildlife as a short-term habitat technician.

Read more.


University course prepares students for annual TWS Conference​

Aside from their regular classes, students at Purdue University are taking a course this fall to help prepare them for The Wildlife Society’s 23rd Annual Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. The course — introduced in time for the 2014 Annual Conference in Pittsburgh — trains students in how to make the most of the TWS conference experience.

No Ocean? No Problem! Indoor Shrimp Farming Takes Off In Landlocked Midwest

A lot of places have claimed to be the so-called “Shrimp capital of the world,” including Brunswick, Georgia, Morgan City, Louisiana, and, most recently, Mazatlán, Mexico. More than 2000 miles north of Mazatlán, though, shrimp farmers in Indiana are working to add the Hoosier State to that list. The state is home to a growing number of what are known as “inland shrimp farms.”

Read more.


What’s on the menu for Allegheny woodrats?​

Allegheny woodrats (Neotoma magister) faced this firsthand when American chestnuts were extirpated and forests transitioned to become oak-dominated about 100 years ago. These oaks sometimes fail to produce the mast that the species consumes, which may be a contributing to their range-wide decline.

Upcoming Dates

  • FNR department meeting, Monday, October 24, 3:30 p.m., PFEN 120
  • FNR department meeting, Monday, November 14, 3:30 p.m., PFEN 120
  • Thanksgiving vacation, Wednesday-Saturday, November 23-26 (for students)
  • Thanksgiving holiday, Thursday & Friday, November 24 & 25 (for staff)
  • FNR department meeting, Monday, December 5, 3:30 p.m., PFEN 120
  • Classes end, Saturday, December 10
  • Final exams, Monday-Saturday, December 12-17
  • Semester ends, Saturday, December 17
  • Commencement, Sunday, December 18
  • Grades due, Tuesday, December 20
  • Christmas holiday, Friday and Monday, December 23 & 26
  • The Board of Trustees has approved a winter recess for December 27, 28 and 29, 2016 for employees.
  • President’s Designated Holiday, Friday, December 30
  • New Year’s Holiday, Monday, January 2, 2017
  • FNR New Year's Party, January 6, 2017​