Maryland Day will be Saturday, April 27th from 10a-4p at the University of Maryland. There are many fun and educational activities planned all over the College Park campus (see link for more info), but be sure to stop by and see us at the Insect Petting Zoo! The Burghardt Lab will be there along with “The Bug Guy” Dr. Mike Raupp and other stellar entomologists.
I am very excited to be joining the faculty of the University of Maryland as an assistant professor in the Entomology Department this Fall!
I am celebrating with turtle pictures because I am quite excited about having a reptile for a mascot for the first time. You might say "but karin, those are surely not diamondback terrapins!". And you would be right. But I have a new goal of getting a good picture of one of those in the future.
Stay tuned for what is sure to be an interesting transition from the Smithsonian back to an academic institution. Due to the proximity of UMD to SERC I am also thrilled to continue collaborating with SERC scientists and working within the Smithsonian's BiodiversiTREE experiments. There are still many interesting questions to be answered about insects inhabitants as a new forest grows.
On an unseasonably (well maybe seasonably for CT but not for VA) cold friday afternoon in April I defended my dissertation work in front of the eeb department, forestry folks, and family and friends that had trekked out to support me. My advisor hosted a lovely potluck at his place afterward and the rest of the weekend was spent cooking, eating, and playing lawn games with some folks that have become very dear to me over 6 years. Definitely glad to never have to do it again- but glad that I did it!
I also decided on my next step which will be working as a Smithson postdoctoral fellow with Dr. John Parker at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC). (more on that later!)
Image credits- Amanda Subalusky; Chris Dutton
I published a few papers a couple years back with Douglas Tallamy on the abundance and alpha diversity (species at one point in space) of insect herbivores on native vs. nonnative plants (see Research for more details). One thing that always bothered me was that I hadn't yet quantified the variation in in these insect communities either among host plants or across space (beta diversity) so it was difficult to get an idea of whether alpha diversity differences are compounded or mitigated by beta diversity effect.
The take-homes for me were that alpha diversity differences are the primary driver of differences within the herbivore communities on these plants. However, immature insects on non-native plants that aren't closely related to any native plants host a community of insects with lower host specificity among tree species than do natives. In addition these communities are more redundant across space, suggesting that widespread introductions on non-natives may lead to homogenized communities. Thus, measuring alpha diversity alone on non-native plants likely underestimates the negative impact of phylogenetically distinct non-natives on immature herbivore communities (see figure below plus figures in the paper).
Secondly, when we separate feeding guilds we see increased generalization across sites within communities (such as non-native congeners of native plants) that don't reveal differences at the whole community level. For example adult mesophyll and phloem feeders show strong negative effects on species redundancy on both on nonnative plants that do and do not share native relatives, but no difference was found at the whole community level.
Read the whole paper:
Burghardt, K. T., Tallamy, D. W. 2015. Not all non-natives are equally unequal: Reductions in herbivore β-diversity depend on plant phylogenetic similarity to native community. Ecology Letters. PDF or accessed at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ele.12492/abstract
Welcome to my website and first post! I'll be sharing recent work and thoughts as well some photos of critters and plants that I find around my new environs in Alexandria.
I just had my first dissertation chapter published in a book edited by Drs. Hanley and and La Pierre. The chapter I wrote with Os presents a comparative look at the current state of research into how nutrient availability alters plant allocation to defense across marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems. We also present a framework elaborating how and when defensive plant traits should play a key role in moderating trophic control in ecosystems. Writing the chapter lead me to learn more about aquatic systems not typically in my wheelhouse.
The second paper is collaboration with my advisor, Os Schmitz, and two other doctoral students in the lab, Colin Donihue and Rob Buchkowski. Here, we attempt to tackle how the "functional traits" of species which can vary with ecological context can mediate the role species play in ecosystems. Using case studies , we the present a framework for disentangling these context dependent effects by generalizing the relationships between a species, its food, and its consumers into a 'trophic module'.
Check them out below or in publications!
Burghardt, K.T. & Schmitz, O.J. "Influence of Plant Defenses and Nutrients on Trophic Control of Ecosystems". Chapter 8 in Trophic Ecology: Bottom-Up and Top-Down Interactions across Aquatic and Terrestrial Systems. (ed. by T. Hanley and K.J. La Pierre). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA. (2015).
Schmitz, O.J, R. W. Buchkowski, K.T. Burghardt, & C. M. Donihue, "Functional traits and trait mediated interactions: connecting community level interactions with ecosystem functioning." Advances in Ecological Research 52:319-343 (2015).