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Department News

Spotting Scope - Janua​ry 2016

Happy New Year, and welcome to our newly arriving students, faculty, and staff! ​In particular, please join me in welcoming Dr. Brady Hardiman, forest ecologist, as he joins the faculty in FNR to work on issues related to urban ecology. Brady holds a minority appointment in Environmental and Ecological Engineering. His office and lab are located on the ground floor of Pfendler Hall. Please stop by and say hello!​

Rob Swihart, Professor & Department Head

  • John Sutherland and Rick Meilan have received $25,000 from Fred Fehsenfeld to prepare a white paper to inform the Governor and General Assembly about the potential of tree plantations to fix sufficient carbon dioxide to meet greenhouse-gas emission targets set by the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
  • FuturaGene has awarded Rick Meilan $71,320 in voluntary support.
  • DeWoody, J. Andrew; $12,000; US Geological Survey; “Genetic Structure of Golden Eagles in Western San Diego County”
  • Flaherty, Elizabeth; $10,000, USDA Forest Service; “Northern flying squirrel population-level responses to forest management and red spruce restoration in the Allegheny Mountains”
  • Woeste, Keith; $3,357, USDA Forest Service; “Genomic analysis of Northern Long-eared Bat”
  • Goforth, Reuben; $32,351; Mississippi Intro Coop Resour Assoc; “Implementation of the Ohio River Basin Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework”     
  • DeWoody, J. Andrew​; $6,267, New Mexico State University; “Golden Eagle Genotyping”       
  • DeWoody, J. Andrew​; $,7000, Battelle Memorial Institute; “Gray whale genome sequency and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) panel development”      
  • Williams, Rod; $422,073, IN Department of Natural Resources; “Assessing hellbender habitat for potential reintroductions”         
  • Swihart, Robert K, $3,750, IN Arborists Assn., voluntary support  
  • Michler, Charles, $5,000, Pike Lumber, voluntary support-Thousand Cankers    
  • Prokopy, Linda, $172,883, Nature Conservancy-Indianapolis IN, “Formative evaluation of Saginaw Bay watershed project”
  • Flaherty, Elizabeth​Williams, Rod, $3,500, IN Department of Natural Resources, “Evaluating human values and attitudes regarding mesocarnivoures and their management in Indiana”
  • Flaherty, Elizabeth​; $1,400, Polar Bears International, “Application of 2D photographs to estimate size and condition of free-ranging polar bears near Churchill, Manitoba”  
  • Pijut, Paula, $28,003.80, US Endowment Forestry Communities/USDA Forest Service, “Development of transgenic black ash expressing a bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) protein for management of the emerald ash borer, and genome editing for reproductive sterility”
  • Pijut, Paula, $2,500, Pike Lumber Co., voluntary support.  

  • Coulter, A.A., D. Keller, E.J. Bailey, and R.R. Goforth. in press.  Predictors of Bigheaded Carp Drifting Egg Density and Spawning in an Invaded, Free-flowing River.  Journal of Great Lakes Research.
  • Dalgleish, H.J., N.I. Lichti, N. Schmedding, and R.K. Swihart. 2015. Exposure to herbivores increases seedling growth and survival of American chestnut (Castanea dentata) through decreased interspecific competition in canopy gaps. Restoration Ecology 23:655-661.
  • *†Fei, S.​ and *F. Yu. Quality of presence data determines species distribution model performance: a novel index to evaluate data quality. Landscape Ecology. (In press)
  • *†Fei, S., Q. Guo, and K. Potter. Macrosystems ecology: Novel methods and new understanding of multi-scale patterns and processes. Landscape Ecology. (In press)
  • *†Guo, Q, *†Fei, S.​JS Dukes, CM, Oswalt, BV Iannone​, KM Potter. 2015. A unified approach for quantifying invasibility and degree of invasion. Ecology 96: 2613–2621.
  • *Hamil, K. D., *BV Iannone​, W. K. Huang, Fei, S.​, H. Zhang. Cross-scale contradictions in ecological relationships. Landscape Ecology. (In press)
  • *BV Iannone​, C. M. Oswalt, A. M. Liebhold, Q. Guo, K. M. Potter, G. C. Nunez-Mir, S. N. Oswalt, B. C. Pijanowski, and *†Fei, S.​. 2015. Region-specific patterns and drivers of macroscale forest plant invasions. Diversity and Distributions. 21:11981-1192
  • *BV Iannone​, K. M. Potter, C. M. Oswalt, Q. Guo, and *†Fei, S.​. Biological invasion hotspots: a trait-based perspective reveals new sub-continental patterns. Ecography. (In press)
  • BV Iannone​, K. M. Potter, H. Zhang, C. M. Oswalt, and *†Fei, S.​. Key invasion relationships are contingent on scale and sub-regional ecological context: a North American forest case study. Landscape Ecology. (In press)
  • *Lee, B.D. and Fei, S.​. 2015. 2001 to 2011 Interior Forest Changes of a Kentucky Portion of the Central Appalachian Ecoregion. Journal of Conservation Planning 11:28-42.
  • Lichti, N.I., M.A. Steele, and R.K. Swihart.  2016. Seed fate and decision-making processes in scatterhoarding rodents. Biological Reviews, in press.
  • Nielsen, A.M. and *†Fei, S.​. 2015. Assessing the flexibility of the Analytic Hierarchy Process for prioritization of invasive plant management. Neobiota 27:25-36
  • *G. C. Nunez-MirBV Iannone​, K. Curtis, and †Fei, S.​. Evolution of restoration ecology in forestry: a big literature review. New Forests (In press)
  • *†Oswalt, CM, *†Fei, S.​, Q Guo, BV Iannone​, SN Oswalt, B. C. Pijanowski, KM Potter. 2015. A subcontinental view of forest plant invasions. NeoBiota 24:49-54.
  • Smyser, T.J., R. Blythe, S.A. Johnson, N.I. Lichti, and R.K. Swihart.  2016. Allegheny woodrat hard mast preference and response to food supplementation. Journal of Wildlife Management, in press.
  • R.K. SwihartM. SundaramT.O. Höök, and J.A. DeWoody. 2016. Factors affecting scholarly performance by wildlife and fisheries faculty. Journal of Wildlife Management, in press.​​

Faculty Honors and Awards

  • Congratulations to the Useful to Usable Team on being selected to receive the NIFA Partnership Award for Mission Integration!  The Team was recognized at the annual NIFA Day of Appreciation scheduled for Thursday, October 22, 2015 in Washington DC.  Congratulations to Dr. Prokopy (who serves as Project Director), Dev Niyogi, Otto Doering, Ben Gramig, Carol Song, Melissa Widhalm (all from Purdue), as well as to their colleagues at other institutions who serve on the Team.
  • Congratulations to Jeff Dukes who was chosen to be an AAAS Public Engagement Fellow of the 2016-1027 cohort of the Leshner Leadership Institute for Public Engagement with Science.
  • Congratulations to Paul Brown on being chosen by the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center (NCRAC) Board of Director to serve on the Technical Committee/Research Subcommittee.  Dr. Brown will serve a four-year term.
  • Congratulations to Rick Meilan for receiving a Seed for Success Award at the annual Excellence in Research Awards dinner on November 9. 
  • Congratulations to Rob Swihart​ for receiving the William L. Hoover Exemplary Faculty Service Award.

    This award was established to recognize faculty contributions to the “greater good” of the university, profession, and citizenry in furtherance of the department’s mission during the previous calendar year. Selection criteria include committee service, leadership, volunteerism, and initiatives that foster an ethic of citizenship, promote improved performance of the academic community, seek the betterment of society, and are consistent with Purdue’s land-grant mission. Nominations are solicited from all department members.​​​

At the December Agriculture faculty meeting, 4 college-level awards were presented. FNR faculty received 3 of the 4 awards. Congratulations to the ​recipients for these well-deserved accolades, and thanks to the nominators and departmental Awards Committee for their work to deliver outstanding nomination packets to the college!

  • Congratulations to Linda Prokopy on being selected as the College of Agriculture 2015-16 Outstanding Graduate Mentor/Teacher. 
  • Congratulations to Rod Williams on being awarded the College of Agriculture 2015-16 Richard L. Kohls Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award.
  • Congratulations to Liz Flaherty on being awarded the College of Agriculture 2015-16 Richard L. Kohls Early Career Award.​

Faculty Updates

FNR had three retirement parties in one week!
Dr. W. L. Mills’ reception was held in Leopold’s Landing on Monday, December 14th; Dr. Ron Overton’s party was held on Wednesday, December 16th; and Dr. Phil Pope’s reception was held on Friday, December 18th in the East Faculty Lounge of the PMU.  FNR wishes all of our retirees the best on their well-earned retirements.  May all of your wishes come true in retirement!

January 2016 Retirees

​Rick Meilan delivered a presentation entitled, “Using GMO Trees to Produce Biofuel” to Morgan County’s annual Extension Board meeting on November 17.

Faculty in the News​

Dr. Jeff Dukes' lab is involved in the following research project:
Study incorporates ecological processes into Earch system models to aid climate change predictions
Virginia Tech
by Lynn Davis​
November 11, 2015​

Dr. Andrew DeWoody was asked to share his expertise for Fox News Science story:
GMO salmon could be headed to supermarket near you​
Fox News Science
by Michael Casey

November 19, 2015​

Special Thanks - Research

Dr. Paula M. Pijut, Research Plant Physiologist with the HTIRC, would like to acknowledge and thank several contributors to her Ash (Fraxinus spp.) - Emerald Ash Borer research program.  Special thanks to members of the National Hardwood Lumber Association Board of Directors for their voluntary support ($20,500): Pike Lumber Company IncorporatedCole Hardwood Incorporated,Atlanta Hardwood CorporationNorthland CorporationJ.T. Shannon Lumber CompanyRossi GroupTurn Bull Lumber Company, and Mayfield Lumber Company.   Dr. Pijut would also like to acknowledge and thank the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities​ for their support of this project through a research grant ($28,000).

New Group: FNR Postdoctoral Scholar Association (PSA)

The FNR Postdoctoral Scholar Association (PSA) held its first meeting on 9 December 2015.  Nearly a dozen scholars met informally over food and drinks to discuss common issues that face postdocs in our department (e.g., job searches, work/life balance, etc.).  There was considerable enthusiasm for the PSA and there will likely be monthly meetings in the future; the PSA will occasionally invite/select (!) departmental faculty to attend and share their wisdom and personal experiences.  If you did not receive the invitation to the inaugural PSA meeting, or you could not attend, keep an eye out for notices regarding future meetings (flyers may be posted in PFEN and FORS).  Anna Brueniche-Olsen will organize the January meeting, so watch for an email from her to the FNR Postdoc email distribution list.  Andrew DeWoody serves as faculty advisor to the PSA; if faculty are willing to attend a PSA meeting and help mentor our postdocs, please let him know.

Graduate Honors and Awards​

  • ​In early January the FNR Awards Committee presented its selections for service by staff, graduate students and faculty. Julie Pluimer (co-chair of the Awards Committee, with Reuben Goforth) provided the following text:
    I am so very pleased to announce the recipients of department awards for the 2015 calendar year. Nominations were solicited by the FNR Awards Committee back in October, and voted upon by the Awards Committee. Our sincerest congratulations go out to each of the recipients. Thank you for a job well done in 2015!
    Mr. Randy Creaser
    Exemplary Graduate Student Service Award
    This award was established to recognize a graduate student for outstanding service to the department, university, and profession during the previous calendar year. Selection criteria include mentoring of students, volunteerism, service to the public and department, and activities that represent the department’s core mission of sustainable resource management. Nominations are sought from all department members, and selection for the award will be made by the Graduate Committee.
  • Congratulations to MaryAm Ghadiri​ on being selected as a finalist for the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Emerging Leaders in Science and Society (ELISS) program.  MaryAm will join graduate students from several top graduate programs “for specific training in leadership, professional networking and interdisciplinary collaboration.” 
  • Congratulations to MaryAm Ghadiri on the exhibit “Iran Beyond the Border” which MaryAm curated in the East Gallery of Pao Hall.  The exhibit ran October 14-23.  Gorgeous photos!

Graduate Program News

  • ​Congratulations to Vanessa Wuerthner on successfully defending her thesis on November 23!
  • Congratulations to Jesse Miles on successfully defending his thesis on November 24!
  • Congratulations to Shuai Chen for his successful Ph.D. defense on October 1!
  • Congratulations to Teresa Clark for successfully defending her thesis!  
  • Congratulations to Ken Kellner on successfully defending his dissertation on November 19!
  • Congratulations to Charlotte Freeman on successfully defending her MS thesis on December 2! Charlotte is now serving as interim Project Coordinator for the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment.
  • Congratulations to Allison Hrycik on successfully defending her MS thesis on December 18!
  • Congratulations to Nick LaBonte on being awarded a grant from the American Chestnut Foundation to support his PhD research.
  • The Wildlife Professional contains a news item report on Janna Willoughby’s research, which was published recently in Biological Conservation with other members of the DeWoody lab group. Congratulations, Janna!
  • Congratulations to Nick and Cecelia LaBonte on the birth of their son, Mathias John LaBonte on October 14th at 3 a.m. in Toledo.  Baby LaBonte weighed 7 lbs 4 oz.  All is going well. Big sister Theodora checks out the new brother below….
  • Congratulations to Jackie Doyle and Steve Kimble on the birth of their daughter, Josephina Lee Kimble!  Josephina was born 6 lbs 11 ounces and 19 inches long.  Jackie reports the entire family is doing well. Josephina (below) certainly seems to agree!
 Mathias John LaBonte              Josephia Lee Kimble

​​​​​​​​​​​​Undergraduate News

Scott Benzing, FNR undergraduate, was engaged at Paris Climate Change Summit. For more information view article from Purdue Unviersity News, Purdue professors at Paris Climate Summit to study climate change and indigenous people​, December 3, 2015.​​​

Student Organization News

Lindsey Purcell provided the following summary of accomplishments and activities by the Purdue Student Society of Arboriculture:

The Purdue Student Society of Arboriculture attended the Tree Care Industry Association Student Career Days event in Pittsburgh in November 2015.  The TCIA program is a long-standing event which invites urban forestry and arboricultural related schools from around the country to participate not only in the student activities but the conference as well. The TCI EXPO Student Career Days (SCD) event drew 182 college and high school arboriculture students from over 20 schools from all over the country. Students participated in tree climbing competitions, attended educational seminars, networked with potential employers, and explored career opportunities at a job and internship fair.This opportunity allows career-seeking students to interact with industry professionals and learn more about current research and trends in tree care.

The PSSA club went this year to defend the winning title of top school from last year’s event in Hartford, CT.  In 2014, Casey Johnson earned top honor for Purdue in the student competition.  This year, Purdue was represented by 6 students all competing in the skills and knowledge competition.  The final results came in with Gatlin Hinesley finishing 2nd overall and Casey Johnson claiming 3rd overall in the Men’s Division.  Additionally, this was the first year we had a competitor in the Women’s Division and Erin Hipskind finished 3rd overall.  Purdue’s team was featured in a NPR story on the competition. Congratulations to our PSSA representatives Peter Vaughn, Gatlin Hinesly, Casey Johnson, Lindsey Purcell, Erin Hipskind, Kris Brown, Sabrina Schuler and Taylor Wampler.   We are already looking forward to next year in Baltimore.

PSSA competition

Finally, I would like to extend a note of thanks for support to the students to attend this event.  Scott Jamieson, VP at Bartlett Tree Experts and Purdue Alumnus, has been an outstanding advocate for the urban forestry program for many years and continues to contribute financial assistance and professional guidance for the program.  Also, a huge thank you to Dr. Swihart for his continued departmental support and the Indiana Arborist Association for their assistance as well.

Department News

  • Congratulations to Kara Salazar on being appointed by Governor Pence to the Indiana Land Resources Council!  She will serve a four-year term.
  • The December 2015 issue of The Wildlife Professional contains an article by Brian MacGowan. Well done, Brian!

Staff Honors and Awards

In early January the FNR Awards Committee presented its selections for service by staff, graduate students and faculty. Julie Pluimer (co-chair of the Awards Committee, with Reuben Goforth) provided the following text:

I am so very pleased to announce the recipients of department awards for the 2015 calendar year. Nominations were solicited by the FNR Awards Committee back in October, and voted upon by the Awards Committee. Our sincerest congratulations go out to each of the recipients. Thank you for a job well done in 2015!

  • Ms. Tami Conn
    FNR Outstanding Clerical/Service Staff Member
    This award was established to recognize members of the department’s clerical/service staff who have distinguished themselves through outstanding performance during the previous calendar year. Selection criteria include work performance, job knowledge, initiative and resourcefulness, working relationships, and departmental participation. Nominations are solicited from all department members. 

  • Mr. Don Carlson​
    FNR Outstanding Administrative/Professional Staff Member
    This award was established to recognize members of the department’s administrative/professional staff who have distinguished themselves through outstanding performance during the previous calendar year. Selection criteria include work performance, job knowledge, initiative and resourcefulness, working relationships, and departmental participation. Nominations are solicited from all department members. ​

Purdue University celebrated the service anniversaries of its clerical and service staff employees on December 10.  FNR honorees were:  
On January 21, Purdue will celebrate the service anniversaries of the administrative/professional staff employees.  FNR honorees will be:
Both groups celebrated with a luncheon in their honor.  Congratulations to you and thank you for all you do every day for FNR, the College of Ag, and for the University!  

FNR Halloween party
Congrats to the OSS and the FNR Student Council on another fun-filled Halloween party this past October! Dr. Mills was the lucky recipient of a pie in the face.  Jacob Berl won the pie eating contest.  Karen Higgins won the best pumpkin carving award with “Grumpy Pumpkin.”  The Most Creative Costume was Baleigh Haynes as “the Lion from the Wizard of Oz.”  Best Costume winner was Erin Hipskind as the raccoon from “Guardians of the Galaxy.”  And Tami Conn​ was the winner of the funniest costume entitled “Fulla Bologna” (a package of bologna)! Congrats to all of the winners! 

Dedication of "The Letter"

The Lost Lake alumni group dedicates Fred Montague's pen and ink drawing depicting the offer letter to the first FNR department head. Print is on display by room 120 in Pfendler Hall, 715 W. State Street, Purdue's West Lafayette campus.

Tree Stumps for 1st forestry department head

Purdue Agriculture


by Tom Campbell

November 03, 2015​

Ranking Announcement from College of Agriculture​

Marcos Fernandez, Associate Dean of Agriculture and Director of Academic Programs, shares rankings of best agriculture colleges of 2015 with Purdue COA listed as number one.

30 Best Value Agriculture Colleges of 2015​

by College Values Online Staff

July 2015

Alumni News

  • ​Purdue Research News highlights Aaron Forgey, Purdue FNR 2014 alum, as he is the owner of Legacy Hardwoods, LLC.  The company is selling trees, including black walnut and black cherry, that have been scientifically proven to have a better chance to become veneer wood than saw logs. More . . .
  • Congratulations to Dr. Kenli Kim (formerly Schaaf) on her new position as National Program Leader for Social Science Research with the US Forest Service. Kenli’s office is in Washington, DC.
  • Congratulations to Kim Kelley-Tunis on her promotion to Division Technical Manager with Orkin. More information can be found at:
    Orkin, Inc. Names Kelley-Tunis Division Technical Manager​
  • Congratulations to Jonah Duckles on accepting the position of Executive Director of the Software Carpentry Foundation.  Jonah will begin his new position on Monday, October 5, 2015.  Jonah leaves his position as Director of Informatics and Innovation at the University of Oklahoma.  Jonah holds a BS in Physics and an MS in FNR from Purdue.  Congratulations, Jonah!
  • Congratulations to Keith Wildeman (BS 2002) who was named District 10 Officer of the year.

    More information can be found at:
    Indiana Conservation Officer Keith Wildeman Named Sitrict 10 Officer Of The Year
    December 28, 2015

    Indiana Conservation Officer Keith Wildeman 2015 District 10 Officer of the Year
    December 26, 2015​


Trees that can walk up to 20m per year​


by Karl Gruber

December 16, 2015

Presidential Proclamation​ - National Forest Products Week, 2015

by The President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

​Upcoming dates for your calendar:

  • Tuesday, January 12, FNR department meeting, 12:00 p.m., PFEN 120
  • Monday, January 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day (no classes)
  • Tuesday, February 2, FNR department meeting, 12:00 p.m., PFEN 120
  • Tuesday, March 8, FNR department meeting, 12:00 p.m., PFEN 120
  • Monday through Saturday, March 14-19 Spring Vacation
  • Tuesday, April 5, FNR department meeting, 12:00 p.m., PFEN 120
  • Saturday, April 30, Classes end
  • Tuesday, May 3, FNR department meeting, 12:00 p.m., PFEN 120
  • Saturday, May 7, Semester ends
  • Tuesday, May 10, grades due to Registrar’s Office​