Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources
David LaPuma Named Director of Cape May Bird Observatory
A combination of geography, wind patterns, and diverse habitat types makes Cape May, NJ an epicenter for migratory birds – and for birdwatchers. Department alum David LaPuma (PhD 2010) will be leading a team of fellow bird enthusiasts in research, education, and fundraising to understand and protect these birds as the new Director of New Jersey Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory. LaPuma earned his PhD with Julie Lockwood studying the endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow and has worked extensively using radar to monitor bird migration patterns. His excellent birding and interpretive skills complement his research experience to make him a perfect fit for this position. Congratulations, David!
Pinsky Awarded Powe Research Award for Philippines Study
In May 2013, Malin Pinsky traveled to Leyte, Philippines to collect clownfish DNA as part of a project on population dynamics in coral reef fish. In November, Typhoon Haiyan happened. But what happened to the clownfish? Pinsky saw a rare opportunity for a before-after study. Because his lab had collected the fishes’ DNA, they could match offspring to parents within the fish population. Did the surviving offspring settle in reefs close to their parents? Or did the typhoon not only affect the survival of fish, but also their dispersal among reefs? “[This part of our work in the Philippines] was totally unplanned,” says Pinsky, who says the extent to which reefs have been disturbed by natural events and human activities adds to his sense of urgency. “We probably won’t have this opportunity again.” This opportunity was also recognized by Oak Ridge Associated Universities, who just presented Pinsky (the first of any Rutgers faculty!) with the prestigious Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award to support this work. Congratulations, Malin!
Our interdisciplinary department specializes in ecology, evolution, and natural resource conservation. We study the evolutionary origins and maintenance of biodiversity, conserving and restoring native ecosystems, and issues of global change such as managing natural resources within urban ecosystems.