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Cofrin Center for Biodiversity

2017 Cofrin Student Symposium

7 March 2017, Reception starts at 1:30. Symposium from 2:00 - 4:00 pm

Christie Theatre UWGB Student Union

 

Schedule

Abstracts

Please join us celebrating the accomplishments of our student researchers at the 27th 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 learn more about the program and student research at UW--Green Bay, especially if you are thinking of applying for a grant this year.

Tentative Schedule

Time Speaker Title
1:30 Opening Reception Meet with speakers, Refreshments will be served
2:00 Bob Howe Introduction and History of the Cofrin Grant program
2:10 James Wise Physiological and Psychological Effects of a "Green Exercise" Training Program on Untrained Undergraduate Students
2:30 Willson Gaul

Odonata (dragonfly and damselfly) monitoring in the Lower Green Bay and Fox River Area of Concern, including University of Wisconsin – Green Bay natural areas

2:50 Bob Howe Announcement of the Sager Scholarship Award
3:00 Jeremiah Shrovnal Bat Diversity and Abundance in the coastal zone of lower Green Bay, Lake Michigan
3:20 Katie McDonald

Macrofungi Diversity Study of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Natural Areas: A preliminary investigation and record into the fungal community of Northeast Wisconsin

3:40 Vanessa Brotske Pollination, seed dispersal, and germination of the federally threatened dwarf lake iris (Iris lacustris)
4:00 Bob Howe

Closing Remarks

Abstracts

Vanessa Brotske (major: Environmental Science & Policy, advisor: Amy Wolf)

Pollination, seed dispersal, and germination of the federally threatened dwarf lake iris (Iris lacustris)

Dwarf lake iris (Iris lacustris) is a rare, endemic plant with populations restricted to the northern shores of Lakes Michigan and Huron. Much is known about I. lacustris when it comes to population size, genomics, and habitat, yet little is known about species interactions and factors affecting seed germination and seedling survival. This study aims to identify visiting pollinators, identify species involved in dispersal and predation of seeds, and to determine the effect of soil scarification on seed germination and seedling establishment. Standardized pollinator observations were conducted in Brown and Door counties at four sites during May 2016 with plots being observed for a total of ten minutes. Throughout the ten-minute observation period any visitation to a flower was recorded and the species visiting was described. During early July 2016 seed dispersal observations were conducted at the same four sites. I. lacustris seeds were collected and placed on wooden planks in an area containing adult plants. The number of seeds were counted at the beginning, one hour after, and 24 hours after each experimental depot was placed. Video cameras were used to record any movement of seeds by potential dispersers. A sample of each species observed removing seeds from the experimental depots was also collected for identification to the species level. Soil disturbance was also investigated to determine potential influence on seed germination and seedling establishment. Thirty plots with three treatments (fall scarification, spring scarification, and a control) were established at three sites. Fall scarification occurred in October 2016 with spring scarification set to occur in March 2017. Each plot will be visited throughout the spring and summer to track seed germination and seedling establishment. Results from this study will contribute new knowledge to the current understanding of I. lacustris and will hopefully raise questions for additional avenues of research and future conservation efforts.

 

Willson Gaul (major: Environmental Science & Policy, advisor: Amy Wolf)

Odonata (dragonfly and damselfly) monitoring in the Lower Green Bay and Fox River Area of Concern, including University of Wisconsin – Green Bay natural areas

Currently, use of Odonata as indicators of ecosystem health within the lower Green Bay and Fox River Area of Concern (LGBFR AOC) is limited by a lack of quantitative data about Odonata species presence and abundance. Monitoring insect densities is feasible through the use of Pollard transects (Dragonfly Monitoring Network 2005). The presence of exuviae (the cast-off shells left behind by emerging adult dragonflies) may be a better indication of suitable breeding habitat than the presence of adult dragonflies, since adults can fly more than a kilometer from where they emerge, though adult Odonata have been shown to be good predictors of localized wetland disturbance (Foster & Soluk 2004, Kutcher & Bried 2014).  Monitoring both adults and exuviae provides information about specific breeding site conditions as well as the condition of surrounding upland areas (Kutcher& Bried 2014). 

Objectives
  • Select and mark permanent Odonata monitoring transects at six sites within the LGBFR AOC.
  • Sample adult Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) and exuviae in the LGBFR AOC, including sites within University of Wisconsin - Green Bay natural areas.  Record species present and relative densities. 
  • Determine the usefulness of Odonata as indicators of wetland and ecosystem health within the LGBFR AOC.
  • Contribute observations to the Wisconsin Odonata Survey.

 

Katie McDonald Vanessa Brotske (major: Environmental Science & Policy, advisor: Lisa Grubisha)

Macrofungi Diversity Study of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Natural Areas: A preliminary investigation and record into the fungal community of Northeast Wisconsin

Knowing the fungal community is crucial to understanding a system and making conservation decisions. The phytocommunity actively relies on the fungal community and often the fungi can indicate the health of the system. Because of the ecological importance of fungi and the symbioses they form to sustain life, further exploration of these relationships can only benefit our understanding of ecosystem dynamics and the potential that fungi may possess.   Understanding the impacts and extent that fungi influence their surroundings is imperative to forming conservation plans and for the countless species they impact.

Objectives

  1. Develop the first record of macrofungi for two of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity sites (Peninsula Center & Kingfisher Farm).
  2. Collect, identify, and record physical characteristics of sporocarps found in six sampling plots.
  3. Examine the seasonal composition of sporocarps.
  4. Create a website in coordination with the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity with photographs of specimen characteristics including: microscopic spore sample, gill alignment, and collection location.
  5. Work with Dr. James Horn to preserve specimens for the Cofrin Arboretum’s herbarium for future research.

 

Jeremiah Shrovnal (major: Environmental Science, advisor: Bob Howe)

Bat Diversity and Abundance in the coastal zone of lower Green Bay, Lake Michigan

Most of Wisconsin’s bats have already been added to the state’s threatened species list (Big Brown Bat, Little Brown Bat, and Northern Long-eared Bat) and watch list (Silver-haired Bat, Eastern Red Bat, Hoary Bat, and Indiana Bat) [source]. All of these species except the Indiana bat have been reported from UW-Green Bay natural areas in lower Green Bay. My investigation will assess the relative abundance of these species and the timing of migratory movements through the lower Green Bay coastal zone, fundamental information that will help guide conservation and restoration efforts in this ecosystem.
Current abundance, richness, and composition of bat assemblages based on acoustic samples collected near the AOC coastline and near shore aquatic zone will be measured. Comparison of results from the terrestrial and aquatic zones will provide insights into bat habitat preferences and will provide a baseline for assessing the success of future AOC habitat restoration efforts. Results will be shared with the Wisconsin DNR to augment statewide bat conservation efforts and to document regional bat numbers to serve as a reference for future efforts to contain the spread of WNS.

 

James Wise (major: Human Biology, Advisor: Amanda Nelson)

Physiological and Psychological Effects of a "Green Exercise" Training Program on Untrained Undergraduate Students

"Green exercise" is a relatively new field of study that involves physical activity undertaken in natural environments. Exposure to nature and chronic exercise are both individually associated with numerous physical and mental health benefits, but there are proposed synergistic benefits when they are combined. The purpose of this pilot study is to investigate the physiological and psychological effects of an eight-week "green exercise" training program on untrained undergraduate students. There are two groups of participants (aged 18-25) in the study, one exercising indoors at the Kress Event Center, and the other outdoors on the Cofrin Arboretum. The training protocol for all participants in the study includes 3 days per week of walking/running for 30-60 minutes at 65-85% of maximum heart rate. The physiological parameters monitored in the study include heart rate, pre- and post-exercise blood pressure, heart rate recovery, heart rate variability (HRV), and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE). Through the use of various questionnaires, the psychological variables assessed include self-esteem, mood, and well-being. The knowledge attained from this study could be useful in various fields. Should “green exercise” prove to be more beneficial than indoor training, not only could it be used to motivate individuals to exercise more often due to the relief of stress, anxiety, and depression, but it could also be used as an alternative to therapeutic drugs in the case of mental illness. “Green exercise” may also dampen the perceived exertion of exercise and reduce heart rate recovery, which could improve athletic performance.