University of Vermont

RSENR Community Notes May 2013


On behalf of the Rubenstein Community, we would like to congratulate the following faculty on their recent promotions:

Adrian Ivakhiv and Austin Troy to Full Professor; Kimberly Wallin to Research Associate Professor; and Matt Kolan to Senior Lecturer.

We would also like to announce the successful re-appointments of Jed Murdoch, Jen Pontius, and Terri Donovan.

Tree canopy’s density indicates wealth of D.C. neighborhoods

There’s a surprisingly telling barometer of income disparity in the Washington region that rarely arises in conversations about the haves and have-nots….trees.  Data on D.C.’s tree canopy was compiled by the University of Vermont’s Spatial Analysis Laboratory (directed by Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne) and analyzed by The Washington Post.  Read the story here:


Student Lounge Photo Contest

With 112 votes submitted, there was a lot of enthusiasm around the first ever Aiken Student Lounge Photo Contest.  Because of a tie for fifth place, SIX photos will be enlarged on canvas and hung in the lounge. 

 Congratulations to . . . .

1. George Faison and his underwater photo with a giant grouper, taken at Kampachi Farms in Hawaii where he interned last summer

2. Clare Erhart and her stunning shot of two humpback whales from her Australian summer course

3. Michael Lawlor and his mountaintop picture from his study abroad experience in Patagonia

4. Katie Walker and her sunset shot of fellow RSENR bird-watching folk at Goose Island State Park while on Allan Strong's Texas Wildlife Field Trip

5. Robyn Bath and her Amazon tree shot that reminded her that "the only constant is change", a lesson she has carried with her since NR 001

6. Beth Gagnon and her action shot on the Kennebec River from her internship with Riverdrivers Whitewater Rafting Company in Maine


Land Stewardship (LANDS) Interns Ready to Work for Community Partners this Summer.

The 2013 LANDS conservation crew, through a partnership program with the Student Conservation Association (SCA), is ready to serve local community partners this summer by conducting natural resource inventories, GIS/GPS mapping projects, land conservation monitoring and assessment, managements plans, and more.  These upper class college students, selected from well over 50 applicants, will be providing consulting services to conservation non-profits, towns, and state and federal agencies for the 7th year, and this year will be helping to manage the UVM Natural Areas.  UVM Majors in FOR, ENSC, ENVS, and NR, Sylvia Kinosian, Rachel Markey, Kristian Moore, Samantha Smith, Michael Storace, Martine Wong will be joined by students from SUNY ESF, Central Michigan University, and Brazil (through the Institute for International Education and the Brazil Science without Borders Program). They will be operating out of their "consulting office" in Aiken 308G, so stop by to say hi if you are wondering what they are up to!


Ivahiv, Adrian J. Ecologies of the Moving Image: Cinema, Affect, Nature. May 2013. Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Ontario, Canada, 435 pp.

Renfrew, R. B., editor. 2013. The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds of Vermont. University Press of New England, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. Including contributions from: Associate Dean Allan Strong, Lecturer Ernie Buford, and Alumni Rosalind Renfrew and Scott SchwenkRead more...



Murdoch, J., H. Davie, M. Galbadrah, T. Donovan, and R. P. Reading.  2013.  Do Siberian marmots influence toad-headed agama occupancy?  Examining the influence of marmot colonies and three steppe habitats in Mongolia.  Journal of Arid Environments 92:76-80.

Lochet, A., J. E. Marsden, B. J. Fryer and S. A. Ludsin. 2013. Instability of statolith elemental signatures revealed in newly-metamorphosed sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus).  Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 00:00-00 (in press).

Howe, E. A., A. Lochet, C. P. Hand, J. E. Marsden, S. A. Ludsin, and B. J. Fryer.  2013.  Tributary contributions to the parasitic and spawning adult population of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in Lake Champlain using elemental signatures. J. Great Lakes Res. 00:00-00 (in press).

Richardson A.D.; Carbone, M.S.; Keenan, T.; Czimczik, C.I.; Hollinger, D.Y; Murakami, P.F.; Schaberg, P.G.; Xu, X. 2013. Seasonal dynamics and age of the stemwood nonstructural carbohydrates in temperate forest trees. New Phytologist 197:850-861.

Pardo, L.H.; Semaoune, P.; Schaberg, P.G.; Eagar, C.; Sebilo, M. 2013. Patterns in δ15N in roots, stems, and leaves of sugar maple and beech seedlings, saplings, and mature trees. Biogeochemistry 112:275-291.

Green, M.B.; Bailey, A.S.; Bailey, S.W.; Battles, J.J.; Campbell, J.L.; Driscoll, C.T., Fahey, T.J.; Lepine, L.C.; Likens, G.E.; Ollinger, S.V.; Schaberg, P.G. 2013. Decreased water flowing from a forest amended with calcium silicate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110:5999-6003.

Prospects for land-use sustainability on the agricultural frontier of the Brazilian Amazon 
G. L. Galford, B. Soares-Filho & C. E. P. Cerri published in: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B
Ecology, economy, and management of an agroindustrial frontier landscape in the southeast Amazon ( Link to article:

Abstract: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Amazon are contingent upon improved land-use management, driven by the public policies, economic incentives, and social responsibility. Continued low rates of deforestation must be met through increased agricultural production, including ranching intensification, crop diversification, double cropping and rotation, and integrated soil fertility management. However, intensified agricultural production may also increase greenhouse gas emissions, which should be monitored to consider the trade-offs between production and emissions. Incentives to landowners are critical to ensure that negative environmental impacts are reduced through best management practices for increasing agricultural production. Communication between stakeholders will be essential to meet the principles of low-carbon rural development.



The RSENR Park Studies Laboratory has presented at the 2013 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites; the 25th Annual Northeastern Recreation Research (NERR) Symposium; and the UVM Transportation Research Center (TRC) Expo. Here is the full list of presentation topics.



Evelyn Boardman, a senior in ENSC Water Resources received an undergraduate travel award from the Society for Freshwater Science’s Graduate Resource Committee and Endowment Committee for attending the Society for Freshwater Science annual meeting in Jacksonville, Florida this May 2013.  She is presenting her thesis/summer REU research on invertebrates in intermittent streams of the Talladega National Forest in Childersburg, Alabama.

Postdoc Courtney Giles (left) and Elizabeth Rutila (right) present their research poster entitledBeth Rutila, a senior in RSENR, won the best student poster award at the recent EPSCoR Research on Adaptation to Climate Change Student Symposium held in Burlington. The title of the poster was "Seasonal changes in the phosphorus composition of Missisquoi Bay sediments". Courtney Giles, a post-doc with the RACC project, has been her mentor and Jason Stockwell has been her faculty sponsor.

Postdoc Courtney Giles (left) and Elizabeth Rutila (right) present their research poster entitled "Seasonal Changes in the Phosphorus Composition of Missisquoi Bay Sediments".



 RSENR Alum, Austin Humphries (WFB '06) (as a student of Dr. David Hirth), won the "People's Choice Award" at the Beneath the Waves Film Festival in Savannah, Georgia in March. His short documentary, entitled "Mikono ya Wavuvi (In Fishermen's Hands)" is about marine conservation in Kenya and the struggle between fishermen saving the ocean or saving their livelihood. Austin is currently working on his PhD through Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, and living in Mombasa, Kenya, doing field work. His research involves studying the ecology of how humans alter coastal ecosystems and what this means for biodiversity and ecological processes, using oyster reefs in estuaries and tropical coral reefs as study sites. You can see Austin's award-winning short documentary on his website, or on vimeo.



Biomass to Biofuels Course Student service learning project on Cost Analysis of Oilseed Crop Production for Biodiesel. The writeup by the student:

My name is Chuck Custeau. I am a Loan Officer for Yankee Farm Credit in St. Albans, VT. Yankee Farm Credit is very interested in the biomass fuel industry in Vermont. Yankee works with many area farmers and landowners and recognize this as a way to increase farm profits. I took the Biomass to Bio Fuels course in 2012. For my project I did an analysis to see if a dairy farmer could realize an economic benefit from dedicating 20% of their acreage to growing an oil seed for bio fuel conversion. In my analysis the dairy had an adequate land base, using acres that would have rotated in to corn or hay and raised an oil seed crop for one year. The analysis compared sunflowers, canola, and soybeans. The value of the by-product meal was analyzed as well for its value as a substitute for purchased grain. The results of the analysis were favorable to biofuel production. James MacLeish who is taking the course in 2013 is continuing the project developing a variable price framework comparing fuel cost and meal values so that farmers can use current prices to make a planting decision.


Biomass to Biofuels Course Student develops a business plan to produce local wood pellets in Vermont.  The story by the student, Tom Tailer, Executive Director of Vermont Sustainable Heating Initiative (VSHI):

I had the profound pleasure of taking the Biomass to Biofuels course in 2011. As part of the course, I developed a business plan to produce local wood pellets in Vermont. At the same time VSHI was working on a related feasibility study with the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and Biomass Energy Resource Center (BERC). Part of my work for the course was a survey of what Vermonters wanted as a biomass Utility. Most wanted it locally owned, locally run, and to work with the state on low income heating and environmental issues. Biomass derived energy has great potential for both economic and environmental benefit to Vermont. It also has great potential for harm if not thought out with care. Can we affordably heat our homes and businesses with biofuels? Yes. The Vermont Sustainable Heating Initiative has placed 22 pellet stoves in low income homes to both save money for our neighbors in need and the state program. VSHI has developed a Comprehensive Biomass Energy plan for Vermont. We need to use our biomass resources wisely to both provide for our needs today and also protect the interest of those who will live here after us. If done well we will save $200,000,000 a year while keeping $200,000,000 in the local economy. If done well it will be sustainable and provide jobs and ecosystem stewardship all across Vermont. VSHI?s work on the Vermont Comprehensive Biomass Plan evolved directly out of the Biomass to Biofuels course.

Contact the course Lead Instructor Anju Dahiya ( ) for details about the Biomass to Biofuels course and other service learning projects in progress. The course website is:


Lecturer Liz Calabrese's Restorative Environmental Design Studio course has been working on a plan for the Moran Plant for Burlington's Request for Concepts.  As the city reviews other proposals, they hope to raise awareness and generate as much excitement around the project as possible. A team of students submitted their designs to the Mayor's office.

Attached are the concept graphics, and their work can also be followed on Facebook and twitter:


Twitter: @MoranEcological

Project Synopsis:

We envision a mixed-use, resource efficient and energy self-sufficient Moran building, housing a collaboration of for- and non-profit businesses. We have three central goals:

Rebuild a model for energy innovation, recognizing the working history of the site while reducing waste and generating clean power. Proven systems for anaerobic digestion and combined heat and power (CHP) will process organic waste – food scraps & spent brewing grains – to produce renewable energy on-site. This system will exceed the energy requirements of the building, offering heating and cooling at reduced rates to resident businesses and distributing excess power to the Burlington electric grid.

Produce and serve local food and beverages year-round while providing urban agriculture education and training. The Farmhouse Group will develop and operate casual farm-to-table eateries and a banquet kitchen with an emphasis on showcasing quality Vermont products at affordable prices. The banquet kitchen and Farmhouse Group Catering will service event needs for the building. An on-site greenhouse will produce year-round organic vegetables and fish, meeting market demand, while providing education in cutting edge urban agriculture. Designed to eliminate waste and fuel renewable energy for the site, Zero Gravity Craft Brewery will act as a keystone organization, creating synergistic business opportunities through value added products from the waste stream, while producing world-class beer. Fruit and grain crops from the Intervale and area farms will serve as raw materials for the beer, and spent grains will be used to produce gourmet mushrooms, fish feed and feedstock for renewable energy.

Foster community recreation and education by partnering with existing Burlington organizations to increase access and connection to the lake and waterfront. Offer education programs and recreation resources which are both valued by and valuable to the surrounding community, making the Moran Plant more then a destination, but a relevant fixture of the community.  PDF


FOR 228 Ecosystems Ecology Course Blogs

Research Assistant Professor, Gillian Galford’s FOR 228 Ecosystems Ecology course would like to share their blogs from the spring semester. Topics range from undergraduate perspectives on Envisioning Environment to the Millennium Ecosystems Assessment, soils and their impacts on poverty and politics, to reflection on ecological concepts in the context of their own lives and experiences. For their reflections on climate, students wrote about places they've lived, traveled, will travel to or daydream about and how each place's climate is uniquely developed.

You can view the whole collection on the Storify page ( or from the provided links to the specific blogs below.

List of Authors and Blogs. Some are anonymous.

Nate Baker, Senior


Ruth Shafer, Junior ENSC and Art


Aviva Gottesman, Senior


Eduardo Rodriguez, RSENR PhD student


Raechel Surprenant, Senior


Josh Petter, Senior ENVS




Stephanie Bilodeau, Senior


Amy Falcao, Senior


Sarah Ford, RSENR Masters Student


Desiree Mack, Junior