University of Vermont

  • environmental leaders

    "I learned a lot while I was in Alaska—everything from identifying tundra vegetation to what to do if a bear attacks." — Genna Waldvogel

    Genna WaldvogelEnvironmental sciences major, intern at Alaska field station, conductor of research project on seasons and streams. More about Genna >>

  • environmental leaders

    "I felt a strong sense of community in RSENR." — Kelsey Head

    Kelsey Head Environmental studies major, student educator with the UVM Watershed Alliance, creator of environmental curriculum for young people, intern, volunteer coordinator. More about Kelsey >>

  • environmental leaders

    "I directly contributed to the outcome of the project." — Joshua Carrera

    Joshua Carrera Natural resources major, social activist, co-creator of online course, participant in travel study to Costa Rica, Brazil, Ecuador and beyond, delegate. More about Joshua >>

  • environmental leaders

    " I was looking to learn and broaden my experience in the wildlife biology and education fields." — Flavio Sutti, Ph.D. student

    Flavio SuttiPh.D. candidate in natural resources, Consultant biologist in Italy, master in wildlife biology, researching landscape context as a framework for agricultural systems. More about Flavio >>

  • environmental leaders

    "I care deeply about forests, and I have come to care passionately about working with horses in the woods." — Ethan Tapper

    Ethan TapperForestry major, horse logging intern studying forest management and impact of horses working in the woods. More about Ethan >>

The Rubenstein School offers exciting, hands-on environmental programs that integrate natural sciences and social perspectives. Our small, close-knit community challenges students to discover knowledge, skills, and values to become innovative, environmentally-responsible leaders. More about our School...

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Thursday April 17, 2014
Assessing Source-Sink Dynamics of the Chagas Disease Vector, Triatoma dimidiata, in high-risk communities in Guatemala

By Lucia C. Orantes

Seminar: 9:00 am, Aiken 103
Defense: 10:00 am, Aiken 103

Kimberly Wallin, Associate Research Professor, RSENR, Advisor
Sara Helms Cahan, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Advisor
Donna Rizzo, Professor, School of Engineering, Committee Chair
Leslie Morrissey, Associate Professor, RSENR, Committee Member

This research aims to understand the small-scale distribution and migration of Triatoma dimidiata, a vector of Chagas disease, within two towns from Jutiapa, Guatemala. Triatoma dimidiata is the main vector of the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi in Central America, where the number of communities at risk of infection is steadily increasing. Currently, most control efforts focus on eliminating the vector from households through the use of insecticides; however, T. dimidiata is capable of living in both domestic and sylvatic environments. This variation in habitat quality may allow populations to behave as a source-sink system, where outdoor habitats are reservoirs, and indoor habitats are colonization sinks. Consistent with this hypothesis, T. dimidiata is likely to re-infest sprayed houses within the same year of treatment.

I will integrate the use of high-throughput genetic data and geospatial tools to test whether source-sink dynamics can explain spatial and temporal patterns of infestation within the towns of El Chaperno and El Carrizal in Guatemala. To understand the spatial movement patterns of the vector, I will quantify genetic connectivity of individuals within each town and detect any clustering patterns that can indicate domestic reservoirs. To assess the relative importance of external migration versus local colonization, I will look at the population genetics of re-infesting populations after seasonal migration and pesticide fumigation. This work will increase the understanding of source-sink dynamics of T. dimidiata, assess the impact of migrants in domiciliary environments, and quantify the effectiveness of fumigation in vector populations.
Fire, Gaps, and Deer: The Roles of Multiple Interacting Disturbances in Eastern Hardwood Forests.
Presented by Alex Royo, Research Ecologist, Northern Research Station, USDA Forest Service.
Friday April 18, 2014
Join students, faculty, and friends of UVM's Field Naturalist and Ecological Planning programs for Friday adventures. Walks depart from main lobby of Jeffords Hall. To receive email updates, reserve a spot, or get more info, contact Levi at Locations and times subject to change.
Aiken 112
Gund Conference Room
Johnson House
617 Main Street
Forest regeneration and biodiversity following wind disturbance and salvage harvest in northern forests

By Sarah Pears

Seminar: 3:00 pm, Aiken 311
Defense: 4:00 pm, Aiken 311


Kimberly Wallin, Associate Research Professor, RSENR, Advisor
Donna Rizzo, Professor, School of Engineering, Committee Chair
Carol Adair, Assistant Professor, RSENR
Jon Erickson, Professor, RSENR

Stand-replacing disturbances due to severe weather have historically been rare in the Northern Forest; however, the frequency of extreme storms in the region is projected to increase. A windstorm in 2010 severely damaged trees in Chittenden County, Vermont. Forest managers salvage harvested storm-impacted stands, removing trees blown over or otherwise injured. This proposed research will quantify cumulative impacts of windstorm and salvage harvest on ecosystem services in the Northern Forest. Across a range of disturbance intensities I will quantify regeneration and factors that influence tree recruitment including coarse woody debris abundance, remnant canopy trees, and interactions between Rubus and native tree species. I will also quantify disturbance impacts to species richness and diversity of herbaceous plants and ground-dwelling invertebrates along a gradient of disturbance intensity. This biodiversity data will serve as a test of the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis, which predicts that highest biodiversity results from moderate intensity or frequency ecosystem disruptions. I expect to find forest recovery rates highest at sites subjected to wind disturbance and moderately intense salvage harvest. Rubus species likely have allelopathic and shading impacts on native hardwood species, thus limiting their recruitment in post-disturbance vegetation. I expect biodiversity to be highest in sites where salvage harvest was moderate. I will share results and conclusions via peer-reviewed publications, professional and academic conference presentations, press releases, and public workshops for Vermont forestland managers.
Tuesday April 22, 2014

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