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Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution

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Mission Statement

The Ecology and Evolution Graduate Program at Rutgers University aims to foster a diverse environment rich in critical thinking and open communication.  We are committed to mentoring the next generation of scientists to solve 21st century problems and be stewards to our planet.

About the Program

Ecology and Evolution at Rutgers has a long and distinguished history. The E&E graduate program includes approximately 80 faculty and 50 graduate students. The program faculty is comprised of roughly 25 professors who are members the undergraduate Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, the remaining members of the graduate program hail from other departments and campuses. The graduate program is interdisciplinary in nature and offers graduate education and training in microbial, plant, animal, and human ecology under the direction of outstanding faculty located at three campuses (New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden); two marine stations (in Tuckerton and Bivalve); the Pinelands Field Station in New Lisbon; and the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York.

Members of the faculty actively pursue research in conservation biology, ecosystem ecology, evolutionary biology, marine biology, microbial ecology, population and community ecology, population genetics, and restoration ecology.

Students may study toward either M.S. or Ph.D. degrees. An M.S. is not required to enter the Ph.D. program. The graduate program falls under the auspices the School of Graduate Studies from which the final degrees are conferred.

The application deadline for fall 2021 has passed. The program does not have a spring admissions. Note that fall 2022 deadline for application submission to be considered for an internal fellowship is December 15, 2021. Learn more about the application process.

News and Announcements

Botany 2021 Virtual

The Botanical Society of America and a group of other botanical and mycological socieites are hosting Botany 2021 from Monday, July 19 to Friday, July 23. Visit the website HERE for more information about the conference.

Attendees from our department/program:

Emily Hughes (EE Undergraduate Program)
Plant award recipients. Attending and participating

Megan King (EE Graduate Program)
Plant award recipients. Attending and participating

Ryan Schmidt (EE Undergraduate Program)
Presenting on the topic: “Ballast Species and Herbarium Records: The Impact of Historical Shipping Trade on the Recent-Past and Contemporary Flora of Northeastern United States.”
Session Date: Wednesday, July 21

Lena Struwe (Faculty)
Special Symposium: “Not your average Specimen!”
Talk Title: “Specimen Stories: Student exploration of places, plants, and people using herbaria.”

The 2021 ESA Annual Meeting

The Ecological Society of America's (ESA) Annual Meeting under the theme "Vital Connections in Ecology" will take place virtually from Monday, August 2 to Friday, August 6. Visit the ESA website for more information. Register HERE!

Attendees from our department/program:

Paulina Arancibia (EE Graduate Program)
Presenting on the topic: "The effects of spatial network topology on metacommunity dynamics"

Evan Drake (EE Graduate Program)
Session: COS 55: Urban Ecosystems 2
Presenting on the topic: “Relative importance of golf courses for bats influenced by landscape context in Northeastern US”

Alexa Fredston (EE Post Doctoral Associate)
Abstract ID#: 90506
Abstract Title: "Process-based forecasting of near-term range shifts in marine species"
Session Information
COS 29: Climate Change: Ranges And Phenology
Live Discussion Date: Monday August 2, 2021
Live Discussion Time: 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM Pacific Time

Julie Lockwood (Faculty)
Special Session 7: Effective Use of Models to Improve Field Management of Biological Invasions: Progress and Future Needs
Presenting on the topic: "Data taming in invasion science: bridging the gap between models and implementation"

Malin Pinsky (Faculty)
Presenting on the topic: "Persistence of a reef fish metapopulation via network connectivity: theory and data"
Session: COS 21: Vital Connections in Ecology: Maintaining Ecological Resilience 2
Live Discussion Date: "Monday, August 2, 2021"
Live Discussion Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Pacific Time

Erin R. Vogel (Faculty), Griëtte van der Heide, Daniel J. Naumenio, and Sri Suci Utami Atmoko
Presenting on the topic: Phenological periodicity in a tropical peat-swamp rainforest on Borneo, Indonesia
Live Discussion (contributed talk) Date: Wednesday, August 4, 2021 
Live Discussion Time: 8:30 AM - 9:30 AM Pacific Time

Entomology Society of America

The 2021 Entomology Conference under the theme "adapt. advance. transform" will take place in-person and virtually from October 31 - November 3 (Denver, CO)
Visit the website HERE for more information.

Emma Waltman (EE Graduate Program)
Presenting under the topic: "Effects of insectary plants on T. japonicus dispersal and biological control of the invasive brown marmorated stink bug"

Trapping live red foxes at the Jersey Shore!

Chris Crosby, a Ph.D. student in the Maslo lab, along with Kathleen Kerwin, the Maslo lab Project Manager, and Ryan Schilling, an undergraduate within the DEENR major are currently live trapping red foxes along the New Jersey Shore. Dr. Maslo and Chris Crosby were featured in the Atlantic City Press. Read the article here: Rutgers Trapping Foxes Along Shore

E&E alumni and faculty research highlighted in JSTOR.

"Scientists Nicholas B. Pollock, Natalie Howe, Ivelisse Irizarry, Nicholas Lorusso, Ariel Kruger, Kurtis Himmler, and Lena Struwe suggest that longer-term “personal BioBlitzes” can be beneficial in combating “species blindness” and the lack of awareness of biodiversity, even in heavily urban areas."

In JSTOR Daily -

Congratulatory Highlights

Erin Chille
Erin's first lead-author paper, the results from the first chapter of her master's thesis at URI, was published yesterday in BMC Genomics. You can check it out HERE.

Max McCarthy (and his advisor Dr. Rachael Winfree)
Max was recently featured in the New York Times for his research on a rare bee called Andrean Parnassiae. The article titled, "To learn Bees' Secrets, Count Them One by One," was published on October 16, 2021. Please visit HERE to check out the article. Congratulations Max and Dr. Winfree!

Steward Pickett
Steward is a member of our graduate program and senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences for his contributions to urban ecology and plant succession. Steward Pickett is also the recipient of the Ecological Society of America's 2021 Eminent Ecologist Award, in recognition of his pioneering work on forest succession, urban ecology, and efforts to improve urban stewardship and sustainability. Details on Steward's Eminent Ecologist Award can be found here!

Jaelyn Bos
Was awarded 2021 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship Award, Which is three years of funding for her PhD.

Elizabeth Bouchard
Was recognized for having the best poster at this year's virtual Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) event. Her presentation was titled: Assessing the distribution of horseshoe crab eggs in relation to interitdal oyster aquaculture in Delaware Bay and red knot foraging distribution.

Katrina Catalano
Was featured in the SEBS/NJAES newsroom in January as a lead author for her work on clownfish. You can read more here: SEBSNJAESNewsroom

Zoë Kitchel, Jeewantha Bandara, Jaelyn Bos and René Clark
Published a book review of Ocean Recovery: A Sustainable Future for Global Fisheries?, by Ray and Ulrike Hilborn.

Dylan Simpson
Dylan recently received the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund, a wildlife and conservation research grant.

Julia Van Etten
Published an article on horizontal gene transfer. Julia used her Couch Microscopy project to create the cover! View the article here: Red Algal Extremophiles: Novel Genes and Paradigms

Received a NASA Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) grant. This 3-year grant will support Julia and her research on generating a mechanistic understanding of horizontal gene transfer as a driver of cell adaptation on the early earth.

Lucia Weinman
Was awarded an American Society of Naturalists Student Resesarch Award for her disseration research on pollen collection versus polen transport by native bee species.


E&E Graduate Program Seminars

  1. E&E Graduate Program Seminars every Thursday during the fall and spring semesters at 4:00pm.. This seminar series presents speakers invited from inside and outside Rutgers University to speak on the most current research being conducted in the fields of ecology and evolution. The seminars will be held in-person and virtually in the fall (2021).

Graduate Student Seminars

  1. Graduate student seminars are presented every Friday durng the fall and spring semesters at 4:00pm. These seminars are informal gatherings where graduate students present their current research and other topics of interest to their peers. All seminars will be held virtually during the fall 2021 semester.

Welcome to the incoming class of Fall 2021!

  1. We are welcoming 14 new students this fall with diverse areas of interest.
  2. Information on each student coming soon!
  3. Erin Chille
  4. Theodore Diehl
  5. Samantha Gigliotti
  6. Joanna Gunther
  7. Jaime Haggard
  8. Koustav Halder
  9. Lindsey Hauff
  10. Hogyeum "Evan" Joo
  11. Megan King
  12. Alexander Kisurin
  13. Jose Ramirez-Garofalo
  14. Samuel Ratcliff
  15. Emma Waltman