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Cofrin Center for Biodiversity

2014 Cofrin Student Symposium

March 4th, 1 - 5:00 pm

Christie Theatre UWGB Student Union

 

Please join us for the 25th Cofrin Student Symposium. Students who received Cofrin Grants to complete independent research in association with one or more Biodiversity Center managed UWGB natural areas will be presenting their results. This is an excellent opportunity to find out more about the program, especially if you are thinking of applying for a grant this year.

Tentative Schedule

Time Speaker Title
1:00 Dr. Robert Howe Welcome and Introduction
1:10 Dr. Robert Howe Presentation of Sager Scholarship to Holly Plamann
1:20 Tom Prestby

Spatiotemporal Analysis of Migratory Shorebirds in the Coastal Zone of lower Green Bay, Lake Michigan

1:40 Amanda Nothem Developing a Hands-On Science Curriculum for Middle and High School Science Students
2:00 Brianna Kupsky Monitoring Bats at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Natural Areas
2:20 Jessica Kempke Seasonal migration of bats along the Lake Michigan / Green Bay coastline and paired inland localities
2:40 Tim Flood Monitoring and Assessment of the Cat Island Chain Restoration Project in Lower Green Bay, Brown
3:00 Haley Sharpe

Are Woodpeckers a Vector Species of Wood-Decaying Fungi in North Eastern Wisconsin?

3:20 Christa Meyer Ecology and behavior of red fox (Vulpus vulpus) on the UW-Green Bay campus.
3:40 Sravani Karnam Modeling Trophic Dynamics in Pond habitats on the Cofrin Arboretum
4:00 Amanda Johnson

The Ecology of Woodchuck (Marmota monax) Burrows on the UW-Green Bay Campus

4:20 Linda Vang

Ant-Mediated Seed Dispersal of Three Spring Wildflowers in the UW-Green Bay Cofrin Arboretum

4:40 Dr. Robert Howe Closing Comments

Abstracts

Timothy Flood (Advisor: Dr. Patrick Robinson)

"Monitoring and Assessment of the Cat Island Chain Restoration Project in Lower Green Bay, Brown"

The recreation of the historic Cat Island Chain is intended to provide important ecological benefits to lower Green Bay. Barrier islands occurring in lacustrine ecosystems can facilitate submersed and emergent aquatic vegetation, reduce wave stress, and improve water quality. To better understand the ecological effects provided by the Cat Island Chain recreation, water quality variables and aquatic vegetation were examined along the protected and exposed areas of the reconstructed barrier islands. The objectives of the study were to evaluate any changes in water quality and aquatic vegetation due to the habitat restoration project. Data related to vegetation richness, wave velocity, and water clarity were collected. Hardstem bulrush test plots and seedbank germination trays were also monitored in the bay and under greenhouse conditions to examine if vegetation growth is inhibited by primarily biotic or abiotic factors. The research provides insights into the potential near-term and long-term ecological benefits of this large habitat restoration project.

Amanda Johnson (Advisor: Dr. Robert Howe)

“The Ecology of Woodchuck (Marmota monax) Burrows on the UW-Green Bay Campus”

I expect to find most burrows with signs of activity and a variety of species using them. I also expect differences in species and activity based on location, time, temperature, soil content

Sravani Karnam (Advisors: Dr. Atife Caglar, Dr. Amy Wolf)

"Modeling Trophic Dynamics in Pond habitats on the Cofrin Arboretum"

The primary objective of this study is to understand the trophic organization in the ponds by evaluating the density and composition of phytoplankton and zooplankton at different times of the year. I will use the results to create models of trophic interactions that predict the nutrient conditions and roles of higher level predators in these systems. Modeling these results will help analyze which factors (abiotic and biotic) drive the feeding relations and which trophic levels are the most vulnerable to disturbance. A comparison of phytoplankton and zooplankton assemblages among ponds will help identify factors that are important in driving the trophic dynamics of these communities.

Jessica Kempke (Advisor: Dr. Amy Wolf)

"Seasonal migration of bats along the Lake Michigan / Green Bay coastline and paired inland localities  "

The Wisconsin/Lake Michigan coast is a significant flyway for migrating bird species, and the same coastal habitats are potentially important for migrating bats. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the distribution and phenology of migrant bat species in the vicinity of Lake Michigan and Green Bay in northeastern Wisconsin.  Paired ultrasound detectors (Wildlife Acoustics’ SM2 acoustic/ultrasonic detector) were placed at twenty four locations at public natural areas and nearby private lands.  The digital recording devices monitored bat calls continuously during the study period. Results were subsequently compared with reference recordings to identify the species and levels of activities of bats at each locality.

Brianna Kupsky (Advisor: Dr. Robert Howe)

“Monitoring Bats at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Natural Areas”

The purpose of this study was to examine the presence and diversity of resident and migratory bats at two of the natural areas managed by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay including the Point au Sable Nature Preserve located within Brown County, Wisconsin, as well as Toft Point located within Door County, Wisconsin.  Bats were passively monitored using an Anabat SD1 echolocation detector among points containing a number of different habitats to maximize monitoring time. Sonograms were then identified using Analook software to qualitatively determine species diversity at each natural area using shape and frequency as the criteria.  Additionally, I explored quantitative criteria using previously collected data from the Cofrin Memorial Arboretum that could be used to differentiate between species in an attempt to find a more reliable method of identification for future studies.

Christa Meyer (Advisor: Dr. Bob Howe)

"Ecology and behavior of red fox (Vulpus vulpus) on the UW-Green Bay campus."

The ecology and behavior of red fox was studied at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus between January and September 2013. Six different den sites were discovered and monitored with Primos Hunting Truth CAM35 digital game cameras that recorded pictures and videos of activity at each den site.  Through the cameras interspecies relationships and den use were observed between red foxes, woodchucks, and raccoons.  The development, activities, and behaviors of a family of red fox were also recorded.  The family was active at each of the den sites at different time periods indicating den switching. When a den was less frequented by the red fox it was visited more often by woodchucks and raccoons.  A matting pair of woodchucks took over the red fox den that the six fox kits were first sighted.  Pelage changes were observed in both the red fox kits and adults.  In August, the red foxes were rarely sighted on the cameras and squirrels and chipmunks were observed more often near the den sites indicating that the kits had fully grown and dispersed from their parent’s home range. 

Amanda Nothem (Advisor: Dr. Scott Ashman)

“Developing a Hands-On Science Curriculum for Middle and High School Science Students”

Inquiry based learning in the field can greatly enhance any educational experiences. Local middle school teachers in the Green Bay area have been searching for fieldtrip areas and curriculum that can give their classes this valuable learning tool. Through this project a curriculum is being developed that will allow students to analyze the health of four aquatic areas in the Cofrin Arboretum, and then discuss whether several different species could successfully live and reproduce within those areas. The tests that will be performed to determine the health of the area will be for dissolved oxygen, nitrates, pH, salinity, and aerosols.

Tom Prestby (Advisor: Dr. Robert Howe, Dr. Amy Wolf)

"Spatiotemporal Analysis of Migratory Shorebirds in the Coastal Zone of lower Green Bay, Lake Michigan"

Once a premiere stopover location for migratory shorebirds and waterbirds, lower Green Bay has since deteriorated due to erosion and invasive species over the past several decades. However, several areas remain where waterbirds stop during migration and some species breed, including the new Cat Island Wave Barrier in the southwest corner of lower Green Bay. In 2013, 30 species of shorebirds and 4 species of terns were documented in lower Green Bay, proving that the area continues to be an important location for these species. All of these species were documented at the Cat Island Wave Barrier, suggesting that its development may significantly influence shorebird distribution in lower Green Bay. A summary and highlights of the 2013 field season will be discussed, as well as the plan for the second year of surveying for the 2014 field season.

Haley Sharpe (Advisor: Dr. Amy Wolf)

"Are Woodpeckers a Vector Species of Wood-Decaying Fungi in North Eastern Wisconsin?"

I am hoping the results will show that woodpeckers can be considered a vector species for fungi to gain access to trees. I anticipate wood decaying fungi to be present on most if not all of the woodpecker species that will be sampled in the experiment, but the numbers and types of fungi are expected to vary among and within seasons. I will record weather variables associated with each capture (e.g., total rainfall within the preceding week) to determine if these factors affect the probability of spore dispersal.

Linda Vang (Advisor: Dr. Amy Wolf)

Ant-Mediated Seed Dispersal of Three Spring Wildflowers in the UW-Green Bay Cofrin Arboretum

We examined seed dispersal of three myrmecochorous plants (Sanguinaria canadensis, Asarum canadense, and Trillium grandiflorum) in the Cofrin Arboretum.  We collected seeds in June-August 2013 and set up seed depots to determine the animals involved in seed removal, the difference in seed removal rates between sites, and the effect of plant density on seed removal rates.  Ants were the primary seed dispersers of S. canadensis, A. canadense, and T. grandiflorum, but we also observed harvestmen removing seeds of A. canadense and T. grandiflorum from depots.  There was no difference in seed removal rates between sites of S. canadensis and between sites of A. canadense.  Plant density affected seed removal rates for all three species.  Seeds in low plant density depots were more likely to be removed than seeds in high plant density depots.  This study provides basic information useful to future studies on seed dispersal of S. canadensis, A. canadense, and T. grandiflorum