The new Frontiers Master’s students got their feet wet engaged in various research projects this summer in northern Michigan at the U-M Biological Station.

The new students, their former institution, and summer research projects follow:

Clarisse Betancourt, University of Puerto Rico, compared the flow of nitrogen from soils to hyphae of fungi to roots and foliage of oak trees in early and accelerated succession (FASET) forest plots based on samples collected from past field seasons following an introduction of  nitrogen enriched fertilizer in 2010.

Omar Bonilla, Metropolitan University, Puerto Rico, brought his enthusiasm for ornithology to the UMBS and found that sapsuckers are able to identify areas of trees that have accumulated sap within them.

Buck Castillo, University of Michigan, compared fungi-root associations of three hardwood tree species (northern red oak, white pine and red maple) within an early successional forest and the accelerated succession forest in the FASET plot. 

Naim Edwards, Morehouse College, just finished working with the Peace Corps in Ecuador. This summer, he investigated patterns of variation in the composition of ant communities in areas with different levels of wood debris.

Lizette Ramirez, University of Michigan, investigated patterns of variation in morphology and coloration of pitcher plants to determine their responses to variation in sunlight and nutrient availability.

"I spent the summer at the UMBS getting better acquainted with the new Frontiers students and holding a weekly reading group with them to help get them familiar with the expectations and characteristics of EEB as well as the Frontiers program," said Professor Tom Duda, director of the program. "The summer culminated with a special symposium where students presented on the findings from their summer research projects. As I'm sure the other faculty and students of UMBS who attended can attest, the presentations were fantastic; the students certainly demonstrated their enthusiasm for research and what they were able to accomplish over the summer was impressive!"

UMBS faculty who worked with the students include: Professor Knute Nadelhoffer and Luke Nave, assistant research scientist, U-M; Dr. Brian Scholtens, the College of Charleston; Dr. Jordan Price, St. Mary's College, Maryland; and Dr. David Karowe, Western Michigan University.Over the summer, the Frontiers students took a natural history course at UMBS, with the exception of Ramirez who took field mammology. This is the fifth Frontiers master's cohort, the program began in 2008.

Captions: Clarisse Betancourt working on a research project during their summer class. Buck Castillo in the field. Naim Edwards and Lizette Ramirez.