Seminar Series

"Self-Medication in Animals: Principles and Applications"

Dr. Mark Hunter, University of Michigan

January 19, 2022

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Dr. Mark Hunter is the Earl E. Werner Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1984 and his doctorate in 1988, both from the University of Oxford in England. After serving as a NATO International Fellow and an NSERC International Fellow, he joined the faculty of the University of Georgia in 1995. While at UGA, he served as Professor in the Institute of Ecology and as founding Director of the Center for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Processes. He joined the University of Michigan in January 2006. His research includes plant-animal interactions, ecosystem ecology, biodiversity, and population dynamics. Dr. Hunter’s research links population processes with ecosystem processes in terrestrial environments and explored the mitigation of global environmental change. Professor Hunter has published over 140 research articles and written or edited six books. He is the recipient of both a CAREER Award and an OPUS award from the National Science Foundation, and in 2014 was elected a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America. From 2007 to 2012, he served as the first Director of the award-winning Frontiers Master’s Program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, which fosters graduate student diversity at the University of Michigan. Media coverage of his research includes The BBC, CNN, CBC, The Times, The Business Standard, The LA Times, Science Podcast, Nature World News, The National Geographic, and National Public Radio/Public Radio International.

"From the Artic to the Appalachians: Community Ecology with Ectotherms"

"Using mechanistic studies to predict how amphibians will respond to shifting climate and subsequent adaptations"

"Exploring How Genomic Diversity and Evolutionary Histories Influence Microbial Distribution in Coastal Environments"

 Dr. Michael Henson. aquatic microbial ecologist (postdoc) at Simon's Foundation Fellow at UChicago

 November 3, 2021

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"The 2020 Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico"

  Dr. Richard (Dick) Snyder of the Eastern Shore Laboratory, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary

 October 27, 2021

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"Comparative genomic and transcriptomic analyses of three different adaptive radiations of fishes in North America"

Joe Heras, California State University, San Bernardino

September 15, 2021

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"The Sticky Problem of the Forever Chmicals - New Challenges in Environmental Exposome"

2021- 22 Seminar Series

The 2021-22 Seminar Series :  Zoom link for all zoom seminars is:

"Methane-producing archaea in peat-forming wetlands and Arctic palsa"

Dr. Suzanna Brauer, Appalachian State University

September 1, 2021

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"Bad Traits or Bad Luck? Using simulations and experiments to understand extinction"

Dr. Kevin Smith, Davidson College

April 14, 2021

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"Investigating nutrient co-limitation in northern hardwood forests"

 Dr. Shinjiani Goswami, Lees McRaw College

 March 31, 2021

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"The Detrimental Effects of Malnutrition and Plasmodium Chabaudi Infection on Gut Integrity and Immunity"


 Mr. Noah Murr,  Appalachian State University, Master's Candidate

March 24, 2021

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"Visualizing Viral Replication of Oncogenic Human Herpesviruses."

  Dr. Lindsey Costantini, NC Central University

 March 17, 2021

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"Strategies for Reconciling Taxonomic Problems in the Vascular Flora of the Southeastern United States"

 Dr. Derick Poindexter, UNC Chapel Hill and Appalachian State University Alum

March 3, 2021

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"Evolutionary Dynamics of Influenza Virus Across Spatiotemporal Scales"

 Dr. Katherine Xue, postdoctoral fellow, Sanford University

Dr. Katherine Xue's website

February 24, 2021 

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North Carolina Native Plant Society Presentations

The Biology Department seminar for Feb 17 featured 4 research students who are recipients of the Shinn Grant from the North Carolina Native Plant Society. Each student presented a 10-15 talk. The students, their affiliations (mentors) and titles are listed below. 

Vanessa Gremler, Appalachian State University (Dr. Rose)
Title of project: Analysis of AChE Inhibitors in Huperzia lucidula endophytes.

Laura Hamon, NC State University (Dr. Irwin)
Title of project: Pollination ecology of Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula).

Jessica Roach, UNC Wilmington (Dr. Penneys)
Title of project: Lysimachia asperulifolia; a Population Genetics Study  of rough-leaved yellow loosestrife throughout its Natural Range.

Ben Brewer, Appalachian State University (Dr. Estep)
Title of project: Demographic monitoring and investigation of hybridization in Lilium grayi.

February 17, 2021

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"Getting Wild on the Blue Ridge Parkway"

Bob Cherry, Biologist, retired from the Blue Ridge Parkway, National Park Service

February 10, 2021

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"The Influence of Symbiotic Microbes on the Ecology of Aphids and Firebugs"

Dr. Adam Martinez, Senior Scientist Invaio, Durham, NC

February 3, 2021

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"From Sweet Potato to LSD - an overview of Convolvulaceae"

Dr. Ana Rita Simoes, Kew Gardens, London

January 27, 2021

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"Fishing for Answers: How does the gut sense food and generate motility signals?"

Dr. Mary Kinkel, Appalachian State University

Dr. Kinkel's lab investigates vertebrate developmental biology. Their primary focus is on the patterning of the endodermal germ layer and development of the pancreas.

October 21, 2020
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"The Roles of Host Species, Geographic Scale and Environmental Stressors in Shaping the Composition of Coral Microbiomes"

Dr. Alicia Reigel, Appalachian State University

Alicia Reigel began a postdoctoral researcher position in the lab of Dr. Cara Fiore at Appalachian State University in early August 2020 where she joins a research team working on an NSF-funded project to examine the influence of sponge holobiont metabolism on dissolved organic matter and microorganisms of Caribbean coral reefs. Alicia recently earned her doctoral degree from Louisiana State University (LSU) where she researched the impacts of anthropogenic and natural stressors on the composition of coral-associated microbial communities under the advisement of Dr. Michael Hellberg. Prior to her time at LSU, Alicia earned her Master’s degree from Georgia Southern University (GSU) under the advisement of Drs. Daniel F. Gleason and J. Scott Harrison, where she researched the role of artificial structures in the spread of the invasive barnacle, Megabalanus coccopoma.

September 7, 2020

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"Oncolytic Virus Immunotherapy: Recruiting the Immune System to Attack Tumors"

Dr. Maryam Ahmed, Appalachian State University

September 23, 2020

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Monteleone Plastic Ocean Project

Bonnie Monteleone, Co-founder of the Plastic Ocean Project

 Bonnie Monteleone is a researcher who has collected plastic marine samples globally including four of the five main ocean gyres, the Aribbean, and has extended this work to Pyramid Lake, outside of Reno, Nevada.  Monteleone completed her first field study exploration in the North Atlantic Gyre in July 2009 in collaboration with Maureen Conte, PhD., Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science (BIOS).  In the fall of 2009, Monteleone accompanied Algalita Marine Research Foundation's 10-year resampling of the North Pacific Gyre, qualifying the rate of plastic marine debris growth to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, sampling a transect of 3,460 nautical miles (nm).

In 2010, she continued her North Atlantic study resampling the same region in the North Atlantic. In fall of 2010, she joined 5 Gyres Institute in a first ever South Atlantic transect sampling for pelagic marine debris traveling 4,270 nm from Brazil to South Africa. In 2012, Monteleone collected samples from the South Pacific as part of the film project, A Plastic Ocean. To date, she has five years of data sets from the North Atlantic. A total of 217 surface samples were collected from all four oceans. Monteleone collaborates with Charles Moore, founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation (AMRF), Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummings, co-founders of 5 Gyres Institute, Dr. William J. Cooper, University of California Irvine (UCI), and Dr. Maureen Conte, BIOS.  In 2012, Bonnie Monteleone and Paul Lorenzo co-founded the 501c3 Plastic Ocean Project, Inc.

Monteleone also works in the Environmental Studies Department at UNC Wilmington as an Adjunct Instructor teaching a Plastic Marine Debris Field Studies course and manages a lab working with student Directed Independent Studies (DIS) research. Research projects vary from fieldwork collecting beach samples to lab analysis looking at plastic leachates, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) uptakes, and plastic ingestion by marine organisms. She collaborates with Drs. Pamela Seaton, Brooks Avery, Susanne Brander, and Alison Taylor at UNCW.

Bonnie is also an accomplished artist, turning some of the plastic she collects on her voyages into modern artistic masterpieces. This work story boards her research and has become a traveling art exhibit  - What goes around comes around.  She received the Conservation Communicator of the Year 2017, Governor’s Award, Cape Fear YWCA Woman of the Year - Environmental Award 2018, and nominated for the Cape Fear Woman of Achievement award 2018. She is a member of the Sierra Club Marine Team and on the NC Wildlife Federation's Board of Directors. "

September 30, 2020

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"The 2010 Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico"

Dr. Richard (Dick) Snyder of the Eastern Shore Laboratory, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary

October 27, 2021

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"Investigating the Mechanisms Responsible for Sarcopenia and the Recovery of Skeletal Muscle from Damage or Injury"

Dr. Kevin Zwetsloot, Appalachian State University

Dr. Zwetsloot's lab investigates the mechanisms responsible for sarcopenia (the age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength) and the recovery of skeletal muscle from damage or injury, with a specific focus on the roles that inflammation and protein balance play in these processes.

October 14, 2020

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"Is there something in the water?"

Dr. Sean Collins, Lees McRae College, Dean of Natural and Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Collins has worked most recently on various local stream projects with undergraduates. For this graduate work, he worked on stream processes in the Kanawha River basin and a monitoring program for the Monkey River in Belize.

October 28, 2020

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"Beyond Infection: Integrating Competence into Reservoir Host Inference and Prediction"

Dr. Dan Becker, Indiana University, postdoctoral fellow

Dr. Becker is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Indiana University, where he studies the associations between environmental change and infectious disease in wild bats and birds. 

Dr. Becker received his PhD in Ecology from the University of Georgia, followed by postdoctoral work on pathogen spillover at Montana State University. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Indiana University, where he studies the associations between environmental change and infectious disease in wild bats and birds. Dr. Becker’s work combines field studies, mathematical models, immunology, and machine learning to better understand how zoonotic pathogens spread within and between populations and species and how environmental change will alter these infection dynamics. He will start as an Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Oklahoma in Fall 2021

check out his website to learn more:

November 11, 2020

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"Adaptation and The Origin of Species"

Dr. Cody Porter, Lees McRae College

Dr. Porter joined the Wildlife Biology Department at Lees McRae College Aug 2020. His research focuses on testing theoretical models of sympatric speciation with lots of field data on crossbills.

To learn more checkout his website:

November 18, 2020

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