Tag Archives: eastern united states

‘Life as Research Scientist’: Grant Connette, Population Biologist

Grant Connette received a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from Davidson College in 2008.  In the Fall of 2009 he began a Ph.D. program in Biology at the University of Missouri.  His general research interests include various aspects of the population ecology, movement behavior, and landscape-scale distributions of animals.  Much of his current research focuses on the behavior, population dynamics, and landscape ecology of terrestrial salamanders in forest landscapes managed for timber production.

Recently we asked Mr. Connette about his research, why it is important and so on. Here is what we learned from him:

Q. Let us start with your research topic. What is your research area? Will you please tell us a bit more on this? What did you find?

Grant Connette: I study the dynamics of salamander populations in forests of the eastern United States.  Much of my current research focuses on how salamander populations respond to timber harvest (i.e. logging).  In a recent study, Dr. Raymond Semlitsch and I found that salamanders are less common in “young” forest (even areas harvested 80-100 years ago) than in more mature forest.  We also found that salamander species which differ in their ability to disperse, or move across the landscape, recovered from timber harvest at different rates.  Species that naturally tend to move more may have recovered faster because there is emigration from surrounding areas that helps rebuild populations after a disturbance like timber harvest. (more…)

Read More

Researchers Find Genetic Diversity Key to Survival of Honey Bee Colonies

When it comes to honey bees, more mates is better. A new study from North Carolina State University, the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that genetic diversity is key to survival in honey bee colonies – a colony is less likely to survive if its queen has had a limited number of mates.

“We wanted to determine whether a colony’s genetic diversity has an impact on its survival, and what that impact may be,” says Dr. David Tarpy, an associate professor of entomology at North Carolina State University and lead author of a paper describing the study. “We knew genetic diversity affected survival under controlled conditions, but wanted to see if it held true in the real world. And, if so, how much diversity is needed to significantly improve a colony’s odds of surviving.” (more…)

Read More

Researchers ID Queens, Mysterious Disease Syndrome as Key Factors in Bee Colony Deaths

A new long-term study of honey bee health has found that a little-understood disease study authors are calling “idiopathic brood disease syndrome” (IBDS), which kills off bee larvae, is the largest risk factor for predicting the death of a bee colony.

“Historically, we’ve seen symptoms similar to IBDS associated with viruses spread by large-scale infestations of parasitic mites,” says Dr. David Tarpy, an associate professor of entomology at North Carolina State University and co-author of a paper describing the study. “But now we’re seeing these symptoms – a high percentage of larvae deaths – in colonies that have relatively few of these mites. That suggests that IBDS is present even in colonies with low mite loads, which is not what we expected.” The study was conducted by researchers from NC State, the University of Maryland, Pennsylvania State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). (more…)

Read More

First Harmful Algal Bloom Species Genome Sequenced

*Brown Tide Culprit Uniquely Suited to Thrive in Environmentally Impacted Estuaries*

The microscopic phytoplankton Aureococcus anophagefferens, which causes devastating brown tides, may be tiny but it’s a fierce competitor.

In the first genome sequencing of a harmful algal bloom species, researchers found that Aureococcus’ unique gene complement allows it to outcompete other marine phytoplankton and thrive in human-modified ecosystems, which could help explain the global increases in harmful algal blooms (HABs). (more…)

Read More