Hot Student Papers

Visualizing a Disease Outbreak Using ESRI Story Maps

25 Feb 2019 - 11:37am
a man sneezing

Please join us in congratulating Sophie Breitbart (PhD student, Wagner/Johnson Labs) on her first publication!

The article, "Visualizing a Disease Outbreak Using ESRI Story Maps", outlines a disease ecology laboratory exercise in which undergraduates transform tabular epidemiological data into a series of dynamic maps to narrate a disease outbreak spatially and verbally.

Soil microbes alter plant fitness under competition and drought

21 Feb 2019 - 9:51am
plant seedlings with an inset picture of Marc Johnson and Conner Fitzpatrick

New research from former UTM Biology undergrads and grad show that soil microbes alter fitness of plants experiencing competition and drought!

Plants exist across varying biotic and abiotic environments, including variation in the composition of soil microbial communities. The ecological effects of soil microbes on plant communities are well known, whereas less is known about their importance for plant evolutionary processes. Here, Zainab Mustafa, Joani Viliunas, and Connor R. Fitzpatrick show that soil microbes can have large effects on plant fitness and natural selection across varying levels of competition and drought, which depend on both plant genotype and ecological context.

Food web rewiring in a changing world

8 Feb 2019 - 1:54pm
aerial view of forested land and water

Climate change is leaving a complex human fingerprint around the globe, in part because climate change effects are uneven in space, with some habitats, ecosystems, and even hemispheres changing more than others. In our Perspective recently accepted in Nature Ecology & Evolution, we show that these uneven climate change effects are predictably reorganizing food webs around the globe. Previous research has shown that as species are redistributing towards the poles, they are adding new connections in food webs. We highlight a second way that food webs are ‘rewiring’: changes in the flows of energy and carbon through existing food web connections.