City birds are more aggressive than country birds

A new study published in Behavioral Ecology suggests that increased aggression in urban song sparrows is related to resource availability. The study, by Virginia Tech researchers Sarah Foltz and Ignacio Moore, was featured this week in Science

“City folk have a reputation for being less friendly than their rural counterparts, and the same appears to be true for garden birds. Urban song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) are more aggressive toward their neighbors than are sparrows out ...

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Tony Timpano’s proposal funded by OSM: stream ecosystem responses to surface mining

A project proposal submitted by IGC graduate student, Tony Timpano, to the Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining has been successful! This funding will support one full-time research associate for 12 months and one graduate student for two semesters to continue research on salt pollution (salinization) and selenium in headwater streams affected by coal mining in VA and WVA. Congratulations, Tony!

TITLE:
Stream Ecosystem Response to Mining-Induced Salinization in Appalachia

 

PROJECT GOALS

  • Assess long-term temporal patterns of chemical and biological changes in salinized Appalachian headwater ...
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New study says Earth entering a new extinction phase

From BBC News

The Earth has entered a new period of extinction, a study by three US universities has concluded, and humans could be among the first casualties. The report, led by the universities of Stanford, Princeton and Berkeley, said vertebrates were disappearing at a rate 114 times faster than normal. The findings echo those in a report published by Duke University last year.

One of the new study‘s authors said: “We are now entering the sixth great ...

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Dr. Kendra Sewall awarded grant from the Jeffress Memorial Trust

Kendra Sewall, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and Global Change Center Faculty Affiliate, received a grant from the Jeffress Memorial Trust, which provides $100,000 awards to conduct innovative interdisciplinary pilot studies in fields such as biosciences, chemistry, engineering, and environmental sciences.  She joins a select group of VT researchers to win this award in recent years, which has been limited to four submissions per institution per year.

The project is entitled, “”Using Social Network Models and Manipulations of Glucocorticoids to Understand How The ...

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Tony Timpano is investigating the impacts of coal mining on Appalachian streams

Tony Timpano is an IGC student and a Ph.D. candidate in Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. His field research is centered in the Appalachian “coal country” of southwestern Virginia and southern West Virginia.

Tony is interested in understanding how coal mining affects stream water quality and aquatic life. Ultimately, he hopes that his research findings will help guide policies on monitoring and managing salt pollution in streams.

“I want to improve the science of water quality management to enhance the capability of regulators to ...

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Cathy Jachowski’s hellbender research is featured on VT Vimeo

Cathy Jachowski is a Ph.D. candidate in Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation and a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change interdisciplinary graduate education program at Virginia Tech.

“Growing up in Kentucky, I learned the value of maintaining clean and healthy rivers, lakes and streams for both people and wildlife. As humans, we have all contributed to changes in land use patterns, climate and various types of pollution. These changes can affect the ...

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Lisa Belden’s research on Bd reveals new information about amphibian disease resistance

From VT News

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 26, 2015 – A team of scientists including Virginia Tech researchers is one step closer to understanding how bacteria on a frog’s skin affects its likelihood of contracting disease.

A frog-killing fungus known as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd, has already led to the decline of more than 200 amphibian species including the now extinct-in-the-wild Panamanian golden frog.

In a recent study, the research team attempted to apply beneficial bacteria found on the skin of ...

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Facing my fears, headlamp-on in Panama

By Lindsay Key, Fralin Life Science Institute Communications Officer

This is Lindsay Key’s second blog report from Panama. She is traveling over spring break with Angie Estrada and Daniel Medina, who are conducting field research near Gamboa.

One thing is for sure: field research is messy. Not just in the sense that nature is full of mud and water and bugs, but in terms of logistics. You have to learn to expect the unexpected.

On Wednesday, we leave Gamboa bright and ...

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Postcards from the field: traveling with VT graduate student researchers in Soberania National Park

We’re going on a frog hunt!

by Lindsay Key, Fralin Life Science Institute Communications Officer

Hello from the extremely bumpy backseat of a white pick-up truck that is barreling down a washed-out pothole-ridden trail known as Pipeline Road (left, below) in Gamboa, Panama. This is a famous road— known for its wildlife viewing capabilities and accessed by thousands of scientists around the world who come to study and work at the nearby Smithsonian facility in the tiny research town of Gamboa.

It ...

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