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The ecology class on Whiteface Mountain.
Ecology Class Conquers Whiteface
The Ecology class made its annual trip up Whiteface Mountain on Sunday, Sept. 27. Despite low cloud cover, the group was able to study changes in forest composition and size at different elevations, the dwarfed trees (krummholtz) near the mountain top, and the vegetation of the alpine zone. The class is taught jointly by Associate Professor of Biology Bill Pfitsch and Ernest Williams, the Christian A. Johnson Professor of Biology. More ...
Monarch cluster (photo by Ernest Williams)
Williams' Collaborative Research Noted in BBC Wildlife Discoveries
A story about monarch butterfly research that Christian A. Johnson Professor of Biology Ernest Williams conducted with collaborators was published in BBC Wildlife Discoveries for October, 2009. The BBC story describes the results the researchers published in Insect Conservation and Diversity (2009) 2, 163-175. The research paper was titled “Oyamel fir forest trunks provide thermal advantages for overwintering monarch butterflies in Mexico.” More ...
Ashleigh Smythe, on board the Robert C. Seamans, with a rare, short-tailed albatross in the background.
Smythe Joins SEA Semester Cruise
Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology Ashleigh Smythe spent five days in July on board the Robert C. Seamans, the Sea Education Association’s 134-foot research sailing schooner. The ship sailed out of San Francisco Bay, north to Drakes Bay, around the Farallon Islands, and finally docked in Monterey, Calif. More ...
Ernest Williams
Williams Co-Authors Article in Insect Conservation and Diversity
Ernest Williams, the Christian A. Johnson Excellence in Teaching Professor of Biology, recently published a journal article, co-authored with collaborators from Sweet Briar College and Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. The article, "Oyamel fir forest trunks provide thermal advantages for overwintering monarch butterflies in Mexico," appeared in Insect Conservation and Diversity 2:163-175. More ...
Ernest Williams
Williams Lectures at Ecological Society of America
Ernest Williams, the Christian A. Johnson Excellence in Teaching Professor of Biology, recently attended the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Albuquerque, N.M, where he gave a talk titled "Habitat change and population loss and gain in a montane butterfly." This talk summarized research he has conducted over the past 25 years on Gillett's Checkerspot butterfly in the Rocky Mountains; the distribution of this species has changed as the meadows they inhabit have been altered by climate change, forest fire, and vegetative succession.

Also, Williams had an article published in American Butterflies (vol. 17, pages 4-13; summer 2009 issue) titled "Lifestyles of the scaled and beautiful: Pearl and Northern Crescents." For a number of years, Williams and students have conducted research on Pearl Crescent butterflies and their host plants, with parallel studies being run from a chemical viewpoint by Silas D. Childs Professor of Chemistry Robin Kinnel and his students. More ...
Gary Bedrosian '11 (back) and Jen Santoro '11
Jen Santoro '11 and Gary Bedrosian '11 Study Butterfly Behavior
Jen Santoro ’11 enjoyed catching frogs and spending time outside when she was younger, and has an affinity for nature still. Her love for plant life and for creatures flitting from tree to tree translated into a desire to be an environmental studies major, with a focus in biology. Her research partner, Gary Bedrosian ’11, also claims to have loved biology ever since he was very small. Together they're working on a project at the Rome Sand Plains with Associate Professor of Biology William Pfitsch. This summer, their goal is to study the relationship between wild blue lupine plants and the Frosted Elfin butterfly, and how different soil types in the area could lead them to more conclusions on the topic. More ...
Kira DesJardins '10
Kira DesJardins ’10 Takes Green Lakes Research to Next Level
As a sequel to the biological sampling from earlier in the summer, Kira DesJardins ’10 is taking the next step in identifying the species that inhabit the depths of Green Lakes. Other students have extracted the DNA of organisms in the water samples and prepared them for genetic analysis. DesJardins has created a “clone library” out of the fungal DNA with Professor of Biology Jinnie Garrett. More ...
Elizabeth Pendery '10
Rare Ecosystem of Green Lake is Subject of Research
Meromictic lakes are stratified like layers of cake. They are interesting biological case studies because their surface and bottom waters never mix, and their sediments often date back thousands of years. One example of a meromictic lake is Green Lake located in a New York State Park just east of Syracuse. It was the first lake in North America to be classified as such, and scientists began recording data on it as early as 1839. Sean Linehan ’10 and Elizabeth Pendery ’10 are studying the biological diversity of Green Lake this summer with Associate Professor of Biology Michael McCormick. More ...
The mouth region of a new species of nematode from Capron Shoals, FL.  Many sharp, inward-facing teeth can be seen.  These are likely used to scrape algae from sediment particles in feeding.
Smythe Conducts Research at Smithsonian
Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology Ashleigh Smythe spent 10 days in July working at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.  She is currently describing a new species of nematode that she collected from sediment off the coast of Florida. More ...
Ernest Williams examines a turtle egg he discovered in the Utica Marsh
BioBlitz Will Record Species in Utica Marsh
In mid-sentence, Professor of Biology Ernest Williams interrupted his thought to comment on a bird that caught his eye: "Oh, there's a yellow warbler – male, yellowy, with chestnut stripe on the breast," he observed. Seeing Williams in his element is like reading an interactive encyclopedia – Williams talks animatedly about nature and the creatures that inhabit it, such as painted turtles, blue herons and Canada geese. He is conducting what is called a "BioBlitz" this summer with Carly Andrascik '11, an environmental studies major. More ...
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