04/09/2012 - Dr. Gagnon Awarded NSF Grant
Dr. Paul Gagnon
Dr. Gagnon has been awarded $200,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to examine the ecological processes that influence plant dominance and species diversity in longleaf pine savannas. This endangered, fire-dependent ecosystem was once the most common ecosystem of the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains but has been reduced by an estimated 97% from its historical range. Pine savannas contain some of the highest rates of species richness and plant endemism in North America. Dr. Gagnon will be collaborating with Dr. Kyle Harms at Louisiana State University and Dr. Jonathan Myers at Washington University in St. Louis, who also received collaborative grants.
Dr. Gagnon will use a series of experiments to explore interrelated effects of fire and pine fuels on bunchgrass dominance and species richness; he is now seeking one or more graduate students to contribute to the study.
02/20/2012 - Dr. Flinn and Students Attend the Kentucky State Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Meeting
Michael Flinn, along with graduate students Adam Martin and Jared Militello and undergraduate students Bradley Richardson (2013) and Chaise Gilbert (2013) attended the Kentucky State Chapter of the American Fisheries Society meeting at Lake Cumberland State Park held on Feb. 8 2012. Adam Martin was awarded "Best Student Paper" for an oral presentation entitled "Recruitment of Crappie Populations in Kentucky Lake - Martin* and Flinn" , and Jared received runner up for Best student paper" for an oral presentation entitled" Movement, Habitat Use, and Diet Selectivity of Re-introduced Juvenile Alligator Gar, Atractosteus spatula, in Clarks River, KY - Militello* and Flinn". They were awarded $100 and $50 respectively.
12/14/2011 - Dr. Flinn Funded for Alaskan Stream Experiments
Dr. Michael Flinn
Dr. Michael Flinn, Assistant Professor of Biology is leading a critical part of a new collaborative project to conduct research on water quality and to understand aquatic ecosystems across North America.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded eight universities (Kansas State University, Murray State University, University of Kansas, University of Vermont, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, University of Georgia, University of New Hampshire and Southern Illinois University) $3.3 million to conduct experiments and complete the Stream Consumers and Lotic Ecosystem Rates (SCALER).
Dr. Flinn's research will explore the consequences of removing top predators on community structure and ecosystem function in streams. Dr. Flinn's experiments, which will be conducted 350 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska, will last up to four weeks, and include continuous sampling and manipulation of arctic streams.
12/13/2011 - Outstanding Academy Service
Dr. David White
Dr. David White, Professor of Biological Sciences, Director of Hancock Biological Station, and Commonwealth Endowed Chair of Ecosystem Studies, recently received the Outstanding Academy Service Award for his tireless professional efforts and exceptional research contributions to the Kentucky Academy of Sciences. The award was bestowed on Dr. White during the recent KAS meeting in Murray.
For the last six years Dr. White has been a member of the Kentucky Academy of Sciences Governing Board as well as the Editor of the Journal of the KAS. Said one of his colleagues in a nomination letter of support, "David White has been a tremendous asset to our organization. …he has spent many hours working as Editor to make the JKAS a publication that KAS members can read with pride". Dr. White has also worked with BioOne, a non-profit collaboration of biological and environmental scientific research, so that the JKAS may have a professional and easily accessible online presence.
9/22/2011 - Dr. Loganathan edits book on global pollution trends
Dr. Bommanna Loganathan
Dr. Bommanna Loganathan, a Professor within the Department of Chemistry and WSI, jointly edited a book, Global Contamination Trends of Persistent Organic Chemicals, just released by Taylor and Francis Group- CRC Press.
Compiled by an international group of experts, this volume covers the history, present status, and projected future trends of environmental contamination by highly toxic synthetic organic chemicals used in industry, agriculture, and consumer products all over the world. The book provides information that will help students, researchers, legislators, and state and federal agencies, to understand the environmental and biological behavior of these chemicals and to facilitate and development of strategies and practices aimed at protecting the global environment for future generations.
Loganathan, as senior editor and contributing author of this book, appreciates the MSU Committee on Institutional Studies and Research (CISR) for awarding him the 2010-2011 Presidential Fellowship for support in preparing this book for publication.
9/1/2011 - New BIO/WSI Faculty Member
Dr. Paul Gagnon
WSI is pleased to announce the arrival of Dr. Paul Gagnon, a BIO/WSI joint faculty member, who joined Murray State this fall. Dr. Gagnon earned his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University with postdoctoral experience at LSU and the University of Florida. Much of his research focuses on the effects of both natural and human disturbances on wetland and terrestrial plants. Paul served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, West Africa, and did his master's thesis from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in a coastal mangrove reserve in Ecuador. This and other experience with international development work make Paul well suited for MSU's growing Sustainability Program.
6/7/2011 - Dr. Loganathan is recognized as a Top Cited Author in Water Chemistry Research in 2007-2011
Dr. Bommanna Loganathan
Dr. Bommanna Loganathan recently received top-cited author award from Elsevier Inc., Amsterdam, The Netherlands for a research article published in Water Research, a Journal of the International Water Association (IWA). Water Research is considered #1 Journal in Water Resources with an Impact Factor of 4.355. His research article on 'Perfluoroalkyl sulfonates and perfluorocarboxylates in two wastewater treatment facilities in Kentucky and Georgia' is one of the top 25 most cited in 2007-2011. Full article can be found at Water Research 2007, Volume 41, pages 4611-4620. Dr. Loganathan conducted this study in collaboration with Dr. K. Kannan, Professor, SUNY, Albany and New York State Department of Health and Dr. Kenneth Sajwan, Professor at Savannah State University. Dr. Loganathan states that perfluoroalkylsulfonates and perfluorocarboxylates are emerging new pollutants in the environment and are distributed globally. Environmental behavior, fate and effects of these compounds on wildlife and humans are under investigation.
Dr. Loganathan, Professor of Environmental/ Analytical Chemistry, holds joint appointment with the Department of Chemistry and Watershed Studies Institute, Murray State University. He has published over 100 research articles and several of them have his students as authors/coauthors. To date, his publications were cited over 1400 times in scientific journals and periodicals all over the world. Dr. Loganathan was a recipient of 2007 MSU Alumni Association's Distinguished Researcher Award, 2010 MSU's Service Learning Mentor of the Year, 2010 Sandra Flynn Professor of the Year, and the 2010-2011 MSU's Presidential Research Fellowship Awards.
5/10/2011 - WSI Graduate Research Awards Announced
The Watershed Studies Institute is please to announce its 2011 Graduate Research Awards: Santiago Martin received a WSI Tuition Support Award for his proposal, "Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) habitat improvement: production of roost trees and foraging areas". Tricia Ladd received a WSI Summer Research Fellowship for her proposal, "Parasite prevalence in three salamander species"; and Robert Knopp received a WSI Summer Research Fellowship and a WSI Research Grant for his proposal "The effects of prescribed fire on amphibian and reptile diversity". All three are M.S. students in the Department of Biological Sciences; Santiago is mentored by Dr. Derting, Tricia by Dr. Duobinis-Gray, and Robert by Dr. Whiteman. Please congratulate each of these students on their success!
5/10/2011 - Watershed Science Graduate Students Awarded Innovation Research Scholarships
Three incoming Watershed Science graduate students, Ann Gilmore, Stacey Ng, and Scot Peterson, have been awarded Innovation Research Scholarships for the 2011-12 academic year. Ann is working with Dr. Claire Fuller, while Stacey and Scot will be working with Dr. Whiteman. These scholarships provide full tuition support for each graduate student. Additionally, the three other awardees in this summer's competition were aquatic-oriented Biology graduate students, each under the direction of Dr. Michael Flinn: Jeffrey Kampman, Jared Militello, and Nissa Rudh (Dr. Rett Weber, co-advisor). Please congratulate each of these students on their success!
5/10/2011 - Dr. George Kipphut Receives Neil Weber Award
Dr. George Kipphut
Dr. George Kipphut, Professor and Chair in the Department of Geosciences and WSI Steering Committee member, has been selected to receive the 2011-2012 Neil Weber Award for Excellence in the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology. Each year the award recognizes a faculty member for outstanding service and contributions to the university through academic research, program development, classroom instruction, and student support. The Weber Award was established in 2008 through an endowment provided by Dr. Jesse D. Jones, an MSU alumnus, as a special tribute to former Dean Neil Weber upon his retirement from MSU. Please congratulate Dr. Kipphut for this much deserved recognition.
4/18/2011 - 2011 WSI Research Symposium
The Watershed Studies Institute (WSI) is please to announce the WSI Research Symposium, to be held Thursday, April 21st, at 12:30 in the Barkely Room of the Curris Center, as part of Scholar's Week. Eleven graduate students, a WSI postdoctoral associate, and one undergraduate student will be presenting brief seminars on their research. A PDF program document listing the presenters and their titles can be found here. Refreshments will be served. For further information, contact Dr. Howard Whiteman, WSI Director (email@example.com).
3/1/2011 - Graduate Student Wins Best Student Paper Award at Kentucky Wildlife Meetings
Amy Krzton-Presson, a Wildlife and Conservation Biology graduate ('07) and current graduate student in Watershed Science, was chosen as the winner of the Best Student Paper award at the annual meeting of the Kentucky chapter of The Wildlife Society, which took place on February 24-25 at Lake Cumberland State Park. Amy's presentation, entitled "Effects of Common Reed Management on Reptile and Amphibian Populations in Clear Creek Wildlife Management Area" detailed her M.S. thesis research, which is funded by a State Wildlife Grant from the Kentucky Division of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
01/08/2011 - WSI Newsletter is now available
The Watershed Studies Institute has released it's first edition newsletter - Confluence. The newsletter can be downloaded here.
11/11/2010 - WSI Watershed Science Brochure is now available
The Watershed Studies Institute has released a brochure outlining the watershed science graduate studies program. The brochure can be downloaded here.
The Watershed Studies Institute in conjunction with Murray State University's College of Science, Engineering and Technology has recently introduced a new minor for students interested in pursuing new avenues of study. Beginning this fall, students will have the opportunity to work toward developing a minor in Sustainability Studies.
As business communities continue to shift to more environmentally conscious practices, the demand for those with the knowledge to facilitate growth in these fields is undergoing a dramatic increase. The depletion of natural resources and changes in human health and the global economy due to climate change are opening up new opportunities in sustainability management, consulting, education and development. Students hoping to begin a career in these areas, advance current employment or preserve the environment stand to benefit from pursuing this new curriculum.
The 21-hour program offers courses for a variety of backgrounds, including the arts and humanities, to cater to students with various strengths. With an interdisciplinary series of courses -- three core classes, two restricted electives and several unrestricted electives -- the Sustainability Studies minor can provide students with integrated knowledge and skills for global citizenship, as well as produce various practical experiences and strategies to fulfill the demand in the job market and new fields of research.
Caleb Roberts, senior biology and creative writing major at Murray State University, was recently selected as one of three recipients of a 2010-11 Research Scholar Fellowship for his proposal “Effects of Elk (Cervus elaphus) Browse on Woody Plant Communities.”
Recipients were chosen by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activity and will receive a $2,000 stipend, $500 supply budget and $500 faculty stipend.
Roberts will study under the direction of Watershed Studies Institute Director, Dr. Howard Whiteman.
HBS instructor to teach at World Heritage Site Dr. Todd Levine, a postdoctoral researcher at the Hancock Biological Station and Watershed Studies Institute, has been selected as a 2010 Earth Expeditions instructor and will be studying desert and marine ecosystems on the Baja peninsula.
From July 13 to 21, Levine will lead studies at the UNESCO World Heritage site, Bahia de los Angeles on the Sea of Cortez. In this biosphere reserve, the group of 20 U.S. and international educators will work to apply the fundamentals of field methods - such as capture/recapture, pitfall traps and line transects - to ecological questions and conservation practice.
Earth Expeditions' Field Expedition program, created by Project Dragonfly at Miami University and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, recognizes outstanding U.S. and international educators and engages them in firsthand educational and scientific research at conservation hotspots around the world.
Since the program began in 2004, over 900 educators have been selected from 48 states and several international countries. Many describe the experience as "truly life- changing."
The Watershed Studies Institute would like to extend warm congratulations to Dr. Bommanna Loganathan, Department of Chemistry and WSI, winner of the 2010
Sandra Flynn Professor of the Year Award, the 2010 MSU Outstanding Service Learning Mentor of the Year Award, and a MSU Presidential Research Fellowship. The Sandra Flynn Professor of the Year Award is given by Murray State International Student group in acknowledgment of their dedication to making Murray State welcoming to the international community.
The Outstanding Service Learning Mentor Award is given annually by the MSU Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement for going above and beyond in the effort of contributing to the integration of community or public service into the curriculum. Finally, the Presidential Research Fellowship is awarded by Murray's Committee on Institutional Studies and Research in recognition of Dr. Loganathan's research accomplishments. Dr. Loganathan will use the fellowship to complete an edited book on Environmental Chemistry.
The Watershed Studies Institute would like to congratulate former Water Studies graduate Julia E. Earl, who was recently awarded an Environmental Protection Agency STAR fellowship and first place in the Missouri Life Sciences Week poster competition in the Genetics, Environment and Evolution category.
Earl graduated from Murray State in 2007, and is a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri's Division of Biological Science.
The STAR fellowship program supports master's and doctoral candidates in environmental studies. Doctoral candidates receive a monthly stipend, tuition and a research allowance for up to three years.
4/22/2010 - Watershed Studies Institute Research Symposium
The Watershed Studies Institute, in conjunction with Murray State University's Scholars Week will present the WSI Research Symposium, April 22 at 3:30 in the Barkley Room of the Curris Center. A list of scheduled presentations may be downloaded here.
Symposium presentations are open to all Murray State students and faculty. A complete list of Symposium presentations and Scholars Week activities can be found at http://campus.murraystate.edu/services/URSA/Scholars_Week_2010.html.
3/23/2010 - Watershed Studies Institute Announces Spring Grant Recipients
The Watershed Studies Institute (WSI) at Murray State University is pleased to announce the recipients of the Watershed Graduate Research Support Grants for the Spring 2010 semester.
Three graduate students were selected based on proposals that aim to expand our understanding of watershed ecosystems. Recipients of these grants will use them for research supplies or tuition and will present their research at the WSI Research Symposium during Murray State's Scholar's Week in 2011.
The awardees, their graduate program, mentors, and the awards they received are listed below. Please congratulate these students for their accomplishment.
Coy St. Clair, Biological Sciences (Dr. Fuller) - Watershed Research Grant and Tuition Grant
Brett Davis, Watershed Science (Dr. Timmons) – Watershed Tuition Grant
Shangwu Peng, Chemistry (Dr. Loganathan) - Watershed Tuition Grant
2/15/2010 - WSI member named State Geographer
Dr. George Kipphut
Dr. George Kipphut, chair of the Department of Geosciences at Murray State University and member of the Watershed Studies Institute, has been named State Geographer by Kentucky Governor Steve Bashear. Kipphut will serve the customary one-year term in this honorary position promoting the study of geography in schools, advising state agencies on geographic matters, and performing other assorted duties.
Kipphut is the first Murray State faculty member to be appointed to the position since the 1980s, as the title is usually held by professors at larger schools such as Western Kentucky University or the University of Louisville.
Kipphut is replacing Dr. Karl B. Raitz, chair of the University of Kentucky's Department of Geography, whose term expired in January. Kipphut will serve until January 1, 2011.
01/28/2010 - The Watershed Studies Institute at Murray State University is pleased to announce several new opportunities for those interested in earning a Master of Science in Watershed Science (formerly Water Science).
Several new interdisciplinary tracks have been created within the Watershed Science program at MSU, each designed to give students greater flexibility in choosing classes in their fields of interest.
This will allow masters students the ability to specialize in one of four areas: Aquatic Ecology, Environmental Chemistry, Hydrological Spatial Analysis, and Watershed Conservation.
The Watershed Studies Institute also offers a non-thesis track in Watershed Science, designed in part to help K-12 teachers earn their master's degree while continuing to work full time.
These changes to the Watershed Science degree take effect immediately and will be detailed in the next MSU Graduate Bulletin. For more information on the program, see
01/28/2010 - Watershed Studies Institute Announces Grant Recipients
The Watershed Studies Institute (WSI) at Murray State University is pleased to announce the recipients of the Watershed Graduate Research Support Grants for 2010.
Five graduate students submitted outstanding proposals that aim to expand our understanding of aquatic systems. Recipients of these grants will use them for salary, research supplies, or tuition and will present their research at the WSI Research Symposium during Murray State's Scholar's Week in 2011.
The awardees, their graduate program, mentors, and the awards they received are listed below. Please congratulate these students for their accomplishment. A new round of applications for WSI Graduate Support are currently being accepted, with a deadline of February 15.
Coy St. Clair, Biological Sciences (Dr. Fuller) - Watershed Research Grant Brett Davis, Watershed Science (Dr. Timmons) - Watershed Summer Research Award Joshua Lambert, Mathematics and Statistics (Dr. Mecklin) - Watershed Summer Research Award and Watershed Research Grant Shangwu Peng, Chemistry (Dr. Loganathan) - Watershed Research Grant Joel Wixson, Watershed Science (Dr. Whiteman) - Watershed Tuition Grant
Dr. Bommanna Loganathan
Dylan Benningfield, sophomore Chemistry major at Murray State University and recent recipient of an URSA Research Scholar Fellowship, is working with Dr. Bommanna Loganathan, researcher for the Watershed Studies Institute and Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry. Benningfield, a member of the Murray State Honors Program, received the fellowship for his proposal "Trace Level Analysis and Contamination Profiles of Triclosan in Western Kentucky Waters." Loganathan and Benningfield began collaborating on Triclosan research while Benningfield was still in high school. Their previous research on this subject was recently presented at the Dioxin 2009 symposium in Beijing. Triclosan, a common antibacterial ingredient found in household products like soap, toothpaste, and cosmetics, has resulted in environmental contamination.
Dr. Todd Levine, WSI postdoctoral associate, has recently had his research reported in the popular press. As a graduate student, he and his collaborators discovered an unusual situation: an immature dragonfly crawling through the gills of a freshwater mussel. As they watched they realized that the dragonfly had been eating the gills. Thinking that this was very unusual, they flushed the guts of the dragonfly to determine what else it had been eating. They also examined the mussel population for gill damage. These data supported the conclusion that the dragonfly larvae were, in fact, attacking the mussels. Because no dragonfly had ever been reported to attack mussels, their paper describing the occurrence was published by the American Midland Naturalist this past June (2009). More recently, Natural History Magazine, a popular press magazine affiliated with the American Museum of Natural History, published a short summary of the research in their September 2009 issue
WSI Supports Graduate ResearchThe Watershed Studies Institute is pleased to announce the awardees for its first Graduate Research Awards Competition. Seven excellent proposals were selected for funding, each of which is aimed at furthering our understanding of aquatic systems. The awardees, their graduate program, mentors, title of their proposal, and the awards they received can be found here. Please congratulate these students and their mentors for their accomplishment.
|The Watershed Studies Institute (WSI) is please to announce the first WSI Research Symposium, to be held Wednesday, April 22nd, at 2:30 in the Mississippi Room of the Curris Center, as part of Scholar’s Week. Eight graduate students and two postdoctoral associates will be presenting brief seminars on their research. The names of presenters and their titles can be found here. Refreshments will be served. For further information, contact Dr. Howard Whiteman, WSI Director (firstname.lastname@example.org).|
13th Symposium on The Natural History of Lower Tennessee and Cumberland River Valleys
The 13th Symposium on The Natural History of Lower Tennessee and Cumberland River Valleys will be held on April 3-4 at the Brandon Springs Group Camp at LBL. The symposium is co-sponsored by WSI and Austin Peay's Center for Field Biology. The focus of this year's symposium is "Taking the Long View: The Role of Long-term Monitoring in Understanding Ecosystem Impacts of Global Climate Change". Friday afternoon will include several invited speakers on this topic, including Drs. Gregory Butcher and Daniel Niven (Audubon Society), Dr. David Inouye (University of Maryland and Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory) and our own Drs. David White and Susan Hendricks (Department of Biological Sciences, WSI, and Hancock Biological Station). On Saturday morning there will be numerous contributed talks, including a variety of Murray graduate and undergraduate students. For more information on the presentations, see the symposium website: