Science Newsletter

April 2 , 2007
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stippel@muskingum.edu
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Science Quotes
of the Week




A Mathemati-cian is a device for turning coffee into theorems


- Paul Erdos











Experimental confirmation of a prediction is merely a measurement. An experiment disproving a prediction is a discovery.


- Enrico Fermi













There comes a time in every project when you've got to shoot the engineer
and start production.


- Unknown









In this issue:

  • MUSKINGUM BIOLOGY FACULTY AND STUDENT PRESENT PAPERS AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE WILSON ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY
  • CMS UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH PROGRAM (CHURP)

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MUSKINGUM BIOLOGY FACULTY AND STUDENT PRESENT PAPERS AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE WILSON ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Adam Cirone, Dr. Jim Dooley, and Dr. Danny Ingold attended the annual meeting of the Wilson Ornithological Society last week (22-24 March) in Boston, MA.  Dr. Dooley, Dr. Nicole Cavender (who did not attend) and Dr. Ingold presented a paper (see abstract below). Student, Adam Cirone also presented a paper (see below).  Part of the meeting was held at the Harvard Museum of Natural History at Harvard University.


ABSTRACTS:

NEST-SITE FIDELITY IN GRASSLAND BIRDS: 6 YEARS OF DATA FROM THE WILDS, A RECLAIMED STRIPMINE.  Danny J. Ingold* and James L. Dooley, Biology Dept., Muskingum College, New Concord, OH 43762, and Nicole Cavender, Restoration Ecologist, the Wilds, Cumberland, OH 43732.              
                        
From early May through mid-July 2001-2006 we observed returning color-banded sparrows and Bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) that were banded during the summers of 2000-2005.  Thirty-three percent of Savannah Sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis; 38/117) returned to nest in the same 90 x 180 meter rectangular plot, or area between plots, during one or more years following their banding.  Twenty three percent of Grasshopper Sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum; 62/268) returned during one or more subsequent years, while 22% of Bobolinks (9/41) and 12% of Henslow’s sparrows (A. henslowii; 12/100) returned.  When only birds banded as adults were considered, the return rate for each species increased, most notably in savannah sparrows (33% to 42%).  We did not detect a difference in the frequency with which individual Grasshopper and Savannah sparrows returned to plots that had been mowed in April of each year, versus unmowed plots (F = 4.76 and 2.09 respectively, DF = 1, P > 0.05).   Although sample sizes were small, it appears that no biologically important difference exists in the return rates of Bobolinks (22% mowed vs. 22% unmowed), while there does appear to be a biologically important difference in the return rates of Henslow’s Sparrows (0% vs. 13%).  Sixty-two percent of returning savannah sparrows, 38% of returning bobolinks, 38% of returning Henslow’s sparrows, and 33% of returning grasshopper sparrows were recaptured or sighted during multiple years following their banding.  These data suggest that this reclaimed surface mine in south-eastern Ohio, remains attractive to these species for nesting.



THE IMPACT OF VEGETATION STRUCTURE AND COMPOSITION ON GRASSLAND BIRD SPECIES DENSITY ON A RECLAIMED STRIP-MINE IN SOUTHEASTERN OHIO.  Adam E. Cirone* and Danny J.  Ingold, Biology Dept., Muskingum College, New Concord, OH 43762.

From mid-May through July 2006, we quantified the number of males of seven bird species along 250 m transects on the Wilds, a reclaimed strip-mine.  Transects were established in each of three habitat types: exotic cool-season grasses, cool-season grasses encroached upon by woody vegetation, and North American warm-season grasses.  Using one-way ANOVAs, we detected no significant difference (P > 0.05) in the density of Henslow’s sparrows (Ammodramus henslowii), savannah sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis), bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) or red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) among these three habitat types.  We did detect a significant difference in grasshopper sparrow (A. savannarum) density in all grassland plots lacking woody vegetation versus those with woody encroachment (F = 8.89, DF = 2, P < 0.05).  We also found a significantly greater density of common yellowthroats (Geothlypis trichas) in plots with woody vegetation versus those lacking woody encroachment (F = 78.55, DF = 2, P < 0.001).  A Pearson correlation revealed a significant positive relationship between the mean density of Grasshopper sparrows and mean litter depth on cool-season grass plots (r = 0.952, P = 0.013).  In addition, we detected a significant positive correlation between the mean densities of both Henslow’s Sparrows and Bobolinks and the distance to nearest woody vegetation (r = 0.91, P = 0.026 for both species).  These data suggest that grassland plots lacking woody encroachment (whether dominated by exotic or native grass species) were beneficial to nesting grassland birds, while plots with woody encroachment were less attractive.

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CMS UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH PROGRAM
(CHURP)

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Chicago Medical School offers a program for undergraduate students to participate in biomedical research during their summer break and to experience the excitement of a modern medical school. The purpose of the program is to provide undergraduate students the opportunity to discover what biochemical research involves and to begin acquiring a questioning attitude toward experimental biology and medicine. The experience will also help students better formulate their own school and career goals.

CHURP students become part of an intimate, active research group including faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows. The participants learn modern biomedical techniques, read current research papers, and contribute to ongoing experiments. They also have the opportunity to attend and/or participate in seminars and journal clubs concerning other current research topics. Individual research projects are tailored to meet the interests and abilities of the student and also the ongoing program in the Principal Investigator's laboratory. Some of these projects might continue throughout the academic year on a part-time basis, depending upon the proximity of the undergraduate college to CMS.

Research is performed in the modern research facilities of CMS with nationally and internationally known faculty who are funded by federal or other grants. Opportunities exist in protein structure, enzymology, X-ray crystallography, mass spectrometry, recominant DNA methodology and cloning, mutagenesis, molecular genetics, molecular computer modelling, and spectroscopy. Systems under investigation include mitochondrial energy conversion, neurotrophic proteins, membrane transport proteins, neuroendocrine processing, enzyme regulation and mechanism, RNA functions, cancer and neuroregeneration.

North Chicago lies in the North Shore suburban area where the summers provide pleasant living and the excitement of urban Chicago is easily reached. Individuals may arrange for housing in adjacent suburban communities.

CHURP participants will receive a $2500 stipend for a 10-week period. We encourage applications from qualified students who wish to obtain research experience in the laboratory before making their graduate education decisions. Students completing their sophomore or junior year may apply by submitting an application by May 4, 2007 that includes a short personal statement of their career goals.

FOR INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Julie Wagner, CHURP Coordinator
Department of Biochemistry & Molec. Biology
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science
3333 Green Bay Road
North Chicago, IL 60064
Website: http://66.99.255.20/cms/biochem/index/cfm
E-Mail: julie.wagner@roalindfranklin.edu

 


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