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News from the Field

February 2014

E3B Faculty and students are prominently featured in this Columbia College Today article, linked HERE,

Matthew Fagan, E3B Ph.D. student who defended his dissertation in January, was named a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow. Beginning April 2014, he will be based at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. Congratulations, Matt!

Megan Cattau, E3B Ph.D. student, recently received a grant from the United Sates-Indonesia Society (USINDO) to support research for the fire probability modeling chapter of her thesis. In this chapter, she will evaluate the causes of large-scale, detrimental peatland fires in Indonesia. Megan is working in Indonesia this year, on her Fulbright.

New E3B Graduate students attended an annual beginning of the year retreat at Black Rock Forest this Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 2013) Please click for some photos! HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE

Bene Bachelot, E3B Ph.D. student, just won second prize in an international competition for young modelers Please see link HERE
Modelling Complex Ecological Dynamics, MCED Award 2013 for Innovative Contributions to Ecological Modelling. The jury consisting of the book editors, representatives of the Young Modellers, and the President of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland had a hard time evaluating all applications according to novelty of the approach, contribution to ecology and ecological theory, and bridging the gap between science and application.
2nd Prize: Benedicte Bachelot, Columbia University, NY, USA
The role of natural enemies in the maintenance of tropical tree species diversity

Brand new E3B Masters student, Allison Roth, has a publication in Animal Behaviour. Please see the paper Experimental confirmation that avian plumage traits function as multiple status signals in winter contests linked here

Pinki Mondal, E3B Post-doctoral research scientist, recently received a grant (along with Ruth DeFries, E3B Chair, and Dr. Harini Nagendra) from the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum to organize an Indo-US bilateral workshop on Adaptation of rural communities to climate change: Bridging the gap between academia and community workers and identifying research needs. The conference will be held in India in 2014. You can get other details here

Matt Fagan and Ruth DeFries are lead authors on a paper in Environmental Research Letters Land cover dynamics following a deforestation ban in northern Costa Rica The work assessed whether deforestation for conversion to pasture and cropland decreased in the lowlands of northern Costa Rica following the 1996 ban on forest clearing, despite a tripling of area under pineapple cultivation in the last decade. Results suggest that deforestation bans may protect mature forests better than older forest regrowth and may restrict clearing for large-scale crops more effectively than clearing for pasture. See the paper here

E3B Ph.D. Candidate Francine Kershaw has published a paper in Diversity and Distributions entitled "Informing conservation units: barriers to dispersal for the yellow anaconda". The paper, written in collaboration with E3B alum Martin Mendez, uses an ecological niche model to identify ecologically meaningful barriers to dispersal for the harvested yellow anaconda in northern Argentina and explores the utility of multi-source species occurrence data sets in niche modeling. The article is available here

Vivian Valencia, E3B Ph.D. student, was awarded a GSAS International Travel Fellowship and was invited to participate in a summer course "Food as a Global Development Challenge" at the University of Bergen, in Norway.


Meha Jain, E3B Ph.D. student, Pinki Mondal, E3B Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Ruth S. DeFries, E3B Chair and Professor, Christopher Small, and Gillian L. Galford, former E3B Post-doctoral fellow have an article to be published in Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 134, July 2013 Mapping cropping intensity of smallholder farms: A comparison of methods using multiple sensors please click here


Megan Cattau, E3B Ph.D. student, is co-author on a paper on lions in Mozambique... Jacobson, A. P., Cattau, M. E., Riggio, J. S., Petracca, L.S., and Fedak, D. A. 2013. Distribution and abundance of lions in northwest Tete Province, Mozambique. Tropical Conservation Science Vol. 6(1):87-107. Click here and here to read more


Meha Jain, E3B Ph.D. student, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant. Her thesis is entitled, The Impacts of Farmer Adaptation to Climate Variability on Groundwater Salinity and Soil Health in Gujarat, India


Bob Muscarella, E3B Ph.D. student, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant. His thesis is entitled, Do plants think globally and act locally? Combining environmental niche models with intraspecific functional trait variation in a phylogenetic context.

Andrew Collins, E3B M.A. student, has been working on writing up some profiles of E3B students. To learn more about our students, click HERE


Our Alumni Students in the News:

Kevin Olival, E3B alum, and E3B Affiliate at EcoHealth Alliance is co-author on a new paper in Emerging Infectious Diseases. click here This meta-analysis addresses the question of whether or not it's best to target zoonotic disease surveillance and viral discovery in sick vs. health wildlife. The answer is both, but surveillance of overtly "healthy" animals is critical for zoonotic pathogen discovery, especially for bats and rodents. Also, a couple of months ago, he published in the same journal evidence for Ebola virus in bats from Bangladesh. Please click here This work was also highlighted by the NY Times.

Mary Blair, E3B alum, just (late August, 2013) received an NSF Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) Fellowship to study the biology and socioeconomics of the wildlife trade in Vietnam, focusing on slow lorises. Please click HERE for information. Mary also received an award from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund for slow loris conservation work.

Julia Pilowsky's (CC '12) senior thesis work on vocal communication in African starlings (mentored by E3B's Dustin Rubenstein) was featured and published in the April 2013 edition of Animal Behaviour. For a link to the paper click HERE and for the feature piece (2nd article discussed) click HERE

Alicia Srinavas who received her M.A from the department in 2010 has recently published a short communication based on research conducted during her time as an E3B Masters student. The work deals with the distribution of certain bird species in the Peruvian Amazon. Click HERE to read the communication.