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College of the Sciences

Biology News 2008-2009 Academic Year

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Summer 2009

Image of Biology members at the International C. elegans Meetings.

Biology members at the International C. elegans Meetings.
Left to right: Steve Chrisman, Eric Foss, Dr. Martin Chalfie, and Dr. Lucinda Carnell

In June 2009, Biology faculty member Lucinda Carnell, graduate student Eric Foss and undergraduate Steve Chrisman presented their research at the International C. elegans Meetings in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Carnell's poster presentation was titled, "Killing two birds with one stone: Getting your undergraduate class to map your mutants", Eric's poster presentation was titled, "Effects of serotonin on locomotory behavior in the roundworm, C. elegans", and Steve's poster presentation was titled, "Analysis of electrotaxis behavior in C. elegans". While at the conference, Dr. Carnell and her students had the opportunity to meet with her former advisor, Dr. Martin Chalfie, co-recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Evolution 2009 (annual meeting of three national scientific societies) was held June 12-16, 2009 in Moscow, Idaho. Lixing Sun, Rhiannon Peery, and Tim Chumley presented research posters at the conference. Linda Raubeson and Wenbin Mei also attended and were poster co-authors.

Botany and Mycology 2009 (annual meeting of five national scientific societies) was held July 25-29, 2009 in Snowbird, Utah. This conference was attended byLinda Raubeson, Jim Johnson, Susan Brady, Helen Lau, and Kori Ault.

Spring 2009

Dave Darda attended the American Association of Antatomists' annual meeting in New Orleans, LA, April 18-22. He attended workshops and presentations concerning anatomy curriculum and education, and presented a poster titled, "Observations by a middle-aged university anatomy teacher and a suggestion for curricular change".

Congratulations to the many students who participated in SOURCE 2009. Biology students receiving awards for Outstanding Oral Presentations were:Allison Johnson (Mentor: Paul James) for "Terrestrial and Marine Food Subsidy to Salmonid Diet: A Stable Isotope Study on the Yakima River"; April Barreca(Mentor: Jason Irwin) for "Frogs in Spring All Winter: Overwintering of Cascades Frogs in Washington state"; and Eric Foss (Mentor: Lucinda Carnell) for "Effects of Serotonin on Locomotory Behavior in the Roundworm, C. elegans." Biology students receiving awards for Outstanding Poster Presentationswere: Stefanie Buxel-Florenzen (Mentor: Lixing Sun) for "Sexual Dimorphism of Recombination Rates as a Consequence of Sexual Conflict"; Joanna Galindo, Gracie Galindo (Mentors: Jason Irwin, Lucinda Carnell) for "The Effects of Temperature on Metabolic Rate, Venon Sythesis, and Potency inPeucetia viridans (Araneae: Oxyopidae)"; and Brandon Sudduth (Mentor: Lucinda Carnell) for "Ser-7, A Serotonin Receptor, is Involved in Withdrawal Effects from Long-Term Exposure to Serotonin in the Roundworm, C. elegans."

Image of awards presentation at SOURCE 2009.

SOURCE 2009 Awards (pictured left to right): Jason Irwin (accepting for Joanna Galindo), Allison Johnson, April Barreca, and Eric Foss.

Biology graduate student Kori Ault has received a $3,000.00 tuition scholarship for 2009-2010 from the Washington State Society, Daughters of the American Revolution's Weber-Riemcke-Schreiner Scholarship fund. This scholarship is available to any graduate student at a state school in Washington and is awarded based on merit and need. Kori is also the recipient of a CWU summer research grant.

Jamie Lamperth, Biology graduate student working with faculty mentor Paul James, was the recipient of the Dick Thomas Memorial Student Competition Award. Jamie's thesis research is investigating bull trout habitat use at various scales in the Yakima River basin, including habitat factors that influence spawning site selection. Jamie was one of five students, selected from applicants throughout Washington State, competing for the award at the 2009 GIS Conference in Bellevue on May 6th. Three judges scored the oral presentations based on several geospatial and technology criterion. Jamie's presentation, "Are bull trout present in Cowiche Creek, WA? A spatial model predicting suitable habitat", placed third in the competition. In addition to a monetary award, each student was invited to the Washington State Chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (WAURISA). Jamie was nominated for this competition by Dr. Nancy Hultquist for his superior work on a Geography 404 (Intermediate GIS) project last winter.

Biology undergraduate Erich Wessel has been accepted to Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, Missouri. He will begin the program in fall, 2009.

Biology Adjunct Professor Gabi Jackson and co-authors R. Zingmark and A. Lewitus have had their paper titled "Modeling Epiphytic Community Production" accepted for publication in the Journal of Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Lixing Sun (Biology), Wenbin Mei (Biology graduate student), Dongbo Xia (Biology graduate student), Razvan Andonie, and Yvonne Chueh have submitted a paper to the Proceedings of Royal Society London for publication titled, "The long-term evolutionary consequence of the Trivers-Willard Effect: No simple effect in finite populations".

Josh Kirk, (BS - Biology, 2008), has been accepted to the SUNY School of Dental Medicine (Buffalo) and will start next term.

Paul James, Dan Beck, James Lamperth, April Barreca and Michelle Lester participated in Shrub Steppe Day 2009 in May. At the WATERS station, April, Brittany Best (Chemistry), Clay Larkins (Geology), Caitlin Orem (Geology) and Amanda Ketsdever (Natural Resources) used field scopes to look at plankton and showed kids how to make paper watershed models. Participants also created streams in the sand using Dr. Karl Lillquist's (Geology) stream tables. James Lamperth assisted Paul James in talking about and finding macro-invertebrates and fish at Umtanum Creek. Members of the Biology Club, with advisor Gabe Stryker, participated in the event with a bake sale. All donations made at the bake sale will be used for club activities.

Image of Biology Club members at Shrub Steppe 2009.Image of WATERS station at Shrub Steppe 2009.

Biology Club members (left) and the WATERS station at Shrub Steppe 2009 (right).

Blaise Dondji, Biology, and his German collaborators, Marcus Maurer, Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Université Charité, Berlin and Esther von Stebut, Department of Dermatology, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, are co-authors of a review entitled "What determines the success or failure of intracellular cutaneous parasites? Lessons learned from leishmaniasis" published in Medical Microbiology and Immunology (pdf), April 25, 2009.

Image of Pre-Vet Club at WSU.

Biology Pre-Vet Club members attended Discover Veterinary Medicine at WSU on April 3rd. This was an all day event for students intending to enter the DVM program. According to Pre-Vet Club President Heidi Anderson, the group met with the adcom committee, professors, and current students. They also attended workshops and sat in on a class in progress. On April 4th they helped the Canine Club at WSU with their annual Canine Canter 5K run and then attended an Open House at the Vet teaching hospital. Image of Pre-Vet Club at WSU.

Image of Pre-Vet Club at Swannack Ranch Day.

Members of the Pre-Vet Club at Swannack Ranch Day.

Biology Pre-Vet Club members attended Swannack Ranch Day in Lamont, Washington, on April 19th. The club was invited to spend the day learning about commercial animal farm management and large scale animal production with Dr. Jill Swannack. Club members participated in delivering lambs, bottle feeding bummers and learned about flock management and care. One of their professional advisors, Dr. Dawn Evert, accompanied them.

Biology faculty member Paul James and Biology graduate students Allison Johnson and Jamie Lamperth attended the Annual Meeting of the Washington-British Columbia Chapter of the American Fisheries Society held in Shelton, Washington in mid-April.

Biology graduate students Michelle Lester and April Barreca and Biology undergraduate Aaron Gilbertson represented CWU by volunteering at the 10th annual Arborfest celebration at the Yakima Arboretum on April 11, 2009. The main theme for the Arborfest celebration was "A walk in the woods" and for the biology station it was "Things that slither and hop through the woods". Participants in the event learned about species identification, natural history, benefits of pest control and conservation of habitat to protect amphibians and reptiles. Michelle, April and Aaron took four species of frogs (tree frogs, bullfrog, leopard frog and Columbia spotted frog) in addition to some native species including a gopher snake, garter snake, Pacific rattlesnake and short-horned lizards to share with the participants. They also had fun sharing ball pythons, a boa constrictor and an African thigh-spurred tortoise.

Image of Michelle, Aaron and April participating at Arborfest, 2009Image of youngsters looking at tortoise, Arborfest, 2009

Michelle, Aaron and April participating at Arborfest, 2009 (left) and youngsters looking at tortoise (right).

Biology/Geography Research Associate and Lecturer Clay Arango recently had a co-authored paper highlighted in Science Daily. The paper "The effects of season and agriculture on nitrous oxide production in headwater streams" drew upon research conducted during his PhD program at Notre Dame, where he investigated how land use influences stream nitrogen transformations. Dr. Jake Beaulieu, the lead author, and Dr. Arango found that agricultural drains in a row crop dominated landscape were often sources of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas, and that nitrous oxide production was related to nitrate concentrations, which varied seasonally based on hydrology.

Biology undergraduate Chris Gaulke has been accepted to the University of California at Davis in their microbiology graduate group. He will start the PhD program in the fall of 2009.

Biology undergraduate Elizabeth Nikolaeva has been accepted to Dental School at the University of Washington. She will begin her four year program with 53 classmates in September 2009.

Biology professors Dan Beck and Kris Ernest spent three months at the Chamela Biological Station in the tropical dry forests of coastal western Mexico as part of their sabbatical year. Dr. Beck conducted field work on lizard-habitat relationships in tropical dry forests, continued collaborations with Dr. Andres Garcia of UNAM/Colima, and served as a guest instructor in the Vertebrate Biology field course for Ph.D. students at the National University of Mexico (UNAM). Dr. Ernest collaborated with Dr. Gerardo Ceballos of UNAM/Mexico City to begin analyzing responses of tropical dry forest small mammals to climatic events such as El Ninó.

Kelsey Ellis (BS '05) has been accepted into the MA/PhD program in Physical Anthropology at UT/Austin. She will start there in the fall.

Winter 2009

Image of Kori Ault presenting poster at SNVB.Image of Michelle Lester presenting poster at SNVB.

Kori Ault (left) and Michelle Lester (right) presenting posters at SNVB.

Biology graduate students Aja Woodrow, Michelle Lester, April Barreca, Wenbin Mei, Susan Brady, and Kori Ault attended the Northwest Partners for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) meetings in Portland on Feb 17 and the Society for Northwest Vertebrate Biology (SNVB) meetings at Skamania Lodge on Feb 18-20. Kori presented a poster titled "Diversity of Water Molds Infecting Amphibian Embryos" and Aja presented his poster titled "Effects of savage logging and succession post-stand replacement fire." Susan presented her poster titled "Yakima WATERS Project: Connecting Students to Science Through Local Watershed," and Wenbin's poster was titled "The cost of reproduction in tail loss lizards: a case study in northern grass lizard (Takydromus septentrionalis)." April presented her research on "Overwintering of Cascade Frogs in Washington" in a session, and Michelle won the award for Best Student Poster for her poster titled "Monitoring Assesment of Amphibians in the Snoqualmie Pass Corridor." April was also a session moderator for the wetlands and streams segment. CWU was recognized as the school with the most students in attendance.

Image of Christopher Gaulke at poster presentation in Boston.Image of Joanna and Gracie Galindo at poster presentation in Boston.

Christopher Gaulke and Joanna and Gracie Galindo at their poster presentations in Boston.

Jason Irwin, accompanied by graduate student Shawn Corrigan and undergraduate students Joanna Galindo, Gracie Galindo, and Christopher Gaulke, attended the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology's annual meeting in Boston, MA. Joanna and Gracie presented their McNair scholars research in a poster titled "The Effects of Temperature on Metabolic Rate, Venom Synthesis and Potency in Peucetia viridans (Araneae: Oxyopidae)". Christopher gave a poster titled "High infection rates of the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in biological supply and wild-caught frogs in central Washington State, USA", which summarized his research as a McNair scholar. Graduate student Shawn Corrigan gave a talk titled "Supercool social wasps: lower lethal limits to cold tolerance", which highlighted his research investigating supercooling in wasps.

Biology senior Aaron Gilbertsen has been offered a position in the Class of 2013 at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Classes will begin in August 2009. Biology senior Marcie Mullen has been offered a position in the Class of 2013 at Oregon State Unversity College of Veterinary Medicine and will begin in September 2009.

Several members of the Department of Biological Sciences attended a special meeting at the Washington Department of Transportation's I-90 Snoqualmie Pass Project Office (Yakima) in December, 2008. Several presentations were given by CWU personnel to the WSDOT staff to provide updates on the ongoing wildlife/fish monitoring projects as well as to discuss research plans for 2009 season. In attendance were Dave Darda, Kris Ernest, and Paul James along with graduate student Michelle Lester and Research Associate Robert Long.

Biology graduate student Patrick Emblidge will be presenting two papers at the Desert Tortoise Council Symposium in Mesquite, NV at the end of February. The title of his papers are "A predictive habitat suitability model as a conservation tool for the Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum cinctum) in Washington County, Utah" and "Seasonal Gila monster activity patterns in Southwest Utah: an application of Temperature Based Activity Estimation (TBAE)". Image of Patrick Emblidge with Gila monster.

Image of Patrick Emblidge with Gila


Biology graduate Katie Lantau has accepted a job as a Medical Technologist at Kadlec Medical Center in Richland. Katie completed her one year internship at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane and passed her board exams, the required national test for all practicing medical technologists.

Fall 2008

Blaise Dondji, Biology, was invited by the Departments of Microbiology and Dermatology, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany to their Seminar Series on "Invasion and Persistence of Infection" held on November 11, 2008 in Mainz, Germany. He gave a seminar entitled "Immunological studies of hookworm and Leishmania infections: from the bench to the field and back".

At the invitation of the Volkswagen Foundation, Hannover, Germany, Blaise Dondji, Biology, participated at the workshop on 'Scientific Cooperation with Developing Countries - The Swiss Guidelines and their Implementation". The workshop was hosted by the Center for Development Research, University of Bonn, from November 13 - 14, 2008 in Bonn, Germany.

Biology undergraduate Radha Vashist received $500.00 from the Undergraduate Research Program for her study titled, "Leaf decomposition in under- and aboveground reaches of urban streams in Ellensburg, Washington" and Geography undergraduate Tanya Lamb received $500.00 from the Undergraduate Research Program for her study titled, "Seasonal effects on nutrient limitation to autotrophic and heterotrophic biofilms in a salmon-bearing stream". Both students are mentored by Clay Arango.

Washington Water Resource Center has awarded Clay Arango, Biology, and co-PI Carey Gazis, Geology, a grant of $27,000 (Federal money) for a study titled, "The influence of large wood addition on nitrogen transformations at the surface water/groundwater interface".

Mary Bottcher, Instructional and Classroom Support Technician 3, was awarded Employee of the Month for November, 2008. President Gaudino presented the award to Mary in January 2009 at a surprise party with her co-workers. Congratulations!

Kari Taylor, Biology, recently received a promotion as her position was upgraded to a Secretary Supervisor. Congratulations!

In November of 2008, Biology's Instructional and Classroom Support Techs Jody Scheffelmaier, Jonathan Betz, and Mary Bottcher, along with Jeff Wilcox (Bio/Chem/Geo), Cynthia Kuhken (Chem), and Mari Sorey (Chem), attended a 24-hour Laboratory Safety Course presented by the Lab Safety Institute of Natick, Massachusetts. Jack Breazeale, a former chemistry professor from Charleston, SC, taught the course on the CWU campus in the Science Building. Having this course taught on site gave the group considerable one-on-one feed-back in addition to providing an on-site critique of their labs and current safety practices. The course will enable them to improve their current Safety Programs to meet new guidelines and regulations along with determining "Needs Assessment". One result of the class is that Biology students are now able to view a presentation on "Lab Safety" (thanks to Jonathan's expertise on PowerPoint) before starting their first lab. Mary, Jonathan and Jody have increased their safety awareness and learned how to address specific safety issues.

Former graduate student Paul Houghtaling is currently working with researchers from UC Santa Cruz on the Bay Area Puma Project. An article about his work on this project has been published in the San Francisco Bay Chronicle.

Robert Weaver, who studied under Dave Darda and received his Masters of Science in 2006, has published a portion of his Master's research, "Distribution, abundance, and habitat associations of the night snake (Hypsiglena torquata) in Washington State". 2008. Northwestern Naturalist. 89(3):164-170. Robert is currently in a doctoral program at Washington State University.

Graduate student April Barreca was awarded an honorable mention at the Joint Meeting for Ichthyologists and Herpetologists this summer in Montreal for presenting her data titled "Overwintering of Rana cascadae" (Cascades frogs).

Several graduate students from Biology continue to participate in the NSF sponsored Yakima WATERS program. WATERS graduate student April Barreca, Biology, took her high school students from White Swan High School on three exciting field trips this fall: one to explore the Shrub Steppe near Satus Creek with the help of Katrina Strathmann, who works at Yakama Resources and Range, a second, in conjunction with a chemistry class, to test water quality from Toppenish Creek to the Yakima River, and a third to the Prosser Fish Hatchery, where students got to see staff members strip eggs and milt from spawning salmon and also hold a beating salmon heart in their hands. She has also been able to schedule bringing live animals into her classroom for her "Beast of the Week" presentation thanks to Jonathan Betz, Biology Stockroom.

Dan Selski's undergraduate research student, Brandi Landis, who is currently working on a BA in Biology, has been accepted into the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences School of Osteopathic Medicine in Yakima. She will be starting in September, 2009.


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