Sevilleta REU Participants

2014
Andrew Vesselka

Andrew's 2014 REU project was entitled "Small Mammal Responses to the Reintroduction of Gunnison's Prairie Dog." 

The prairie dog (Cynomys sp.), due to its burrowing and grazing behavior, is widely recognized as an ecosystem engineer throughout the North American grassland. Their modification and regulation of habitat affects vegetation structure and a variety of species throughout their ecosystem. In order to better understand these effects, many studies have been conducted on the responses of small mammals to the presence of prairie dogs. However, most of these have been conducted on the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) and extrapolated to the other four species in the genus. In this study, the effects of the reintroduction of the Gunnison’s prairie dog (Cynomys gunnisoni) on the abundance and diversity small mammal populations were surveyed. Furthermore, the density of prairie dog burrow entrances was analyzed to determine whether or not there was a spatial correlation between burrow location and small mammal presence. During June of 2014 small mammals were trapped on four 16 hectare plots. Two of these plots were Gunnison’s prairie dog reintroduction sites and two were not. Additionally, traps and burrow locations were mapped to determine burrow density surrounding successful traps. The abundance of small mammals was significantly higher for several species as well as for the combined total in plots containing prairie dogs. Over twice the amount of small mammals were caught compared to the same study conducted a year before, a result possibly attributable to an increase in rainfall over the past year. The spatial analysis of burrow location was inconclusive likely because of its small sample size. 

Ariana Ananda

Ariana's 2014 REU project was entitled "Acoustic methods for sampling chiropteran diversity at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge"

In order to assess chiropteran diversity across different habitats at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR, Socorro, New Mexico), ultrasonic echolocation signatures will be collected and analyzed with Anabat™ ultrasonic detector and Analook analysis software. A self-contained detector system will be deployed at sites chosen for habitat and management qualities.  Detectors will be run for 8-10 days at each, after which call files will be downloaded. All calls will be reviewed and verified by experts to confirm species. Nunn Flats, an open Chihuahuan grassland, and Cibola Springs, a natural seep near the base of Los Pinos Mountains, are the two sites we will be monitoring. I am expecting the cohorts of species to be ecomorphologically different as high-fast flying species (such as Tadarida brasiliensis) would likely be detected at Nunn Flats, whereas species more adapted for flying in clutter or short-distances (e.g., Parastrellus, Myotis) would be likely at the natural Cibola Spring.  Species that are open-foragers yet are not especially fast flying may occur at both sites in equal numbers (e.g., Antrozous pallidus).  Conservation applications will be explored based on the success of drinkers attracting a wide diversity of bats.  Data from a study 15 years ago will be used as a comparison for present diversity levels. 

Benjamin Vizzachero

Benji's 2014 REU project was entitled "Surveying and Nest Monitoring of the Gray Vireo (Vireo vicinior) in the Sevilleta NWR".

The Gray Vireo is a small native songbird and species of concern of which little is known. Few past studies have documented their preferred habitat, relative abundance, population size, nesting success, or the impacts of brood parasitism by the Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater). We conducted a census of the breeding Gray Vireo population within two large sample sites in the Los Piños Mountains of the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. Audio playback surveys were performed across a grid of points encompassing these sites. We observed detected Gray Vireos to locate their nests and returned regularly to monitor the success of these nests. This will be the third season of data collection for this project. Study sites were selected to determine if distance from rangeland affects rates of brood parasitism, though it seems differences in landscape are more influential on cowbird abundance. By quantifying the abundance and nesting success of the Gray Vireo, we can determine their population status and potential need for conservation action. Documenting the vegetation around nest sites will create a snapshot of the ideal Gray Vireo nesting habitat, which could be incorporated into future habitat management plans across their range. Overall, we found 19 Gray Vireo nests, of which 7 successfully fledged Gray Vireos, 4 were parasitized by cowbirds, and 8 failed for other reasons.

Cassandra Miller

Cassie's 2014 REU Project was entitled, "Natural and artificial desert spring ecosystems influence on aquatic macroinvertebrate communities in semi-arid New Mexico"In arid and semi-arid environments, springs are oftentimes the only stable source of water. Aquatic macroinvertebrates play a large role in the maintenance of these ecosystems. Thus they have a bottom-up influence on the larger ecosystem. This study surveys and compares the aquatic macroinvertebrate community composition in natural and artificial springs on the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. Natural springs had a higher abundance, and a significantly higher richness in comparison to communities in artificial springs. I propose that future conservation efforts should focus on the maintenance of natural springs environments.

DELETE
Dorothy Stearns

Dottie's 2014 REU project was entitled "Drought Exposure in EDGE Plots and Root Productivity in Blue and Black Grama"

Alterations in temperature, precipitation and more frequent and severe periods of climatic extremes affect plant growth and productivity. These alterations, implemented from the Extreme Drought in Grassland Experiment (EDGE) at the Sevilleta Wildlife LTER, will be used to conduct research of root productivity in Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis) and Black Grama (Bouteloua eriopoda) located in the experimental, destructive sampling plots. This is significant because root systems are very important for carbon storage, soil quality, plant health, and success of seeding plants. Using EDGE, root productivity will be measured under various drought conditions in the Chihuahuan Desert and Shortgrass Prairie ecosystem. These conditions include a reduction of 66% of annual rainfall, no rainfall, ambient rainfall (meaning no experimental change in rainfall), and seasonal changes in rainfall exposure. In the upper 4 inches of the soil surface, we plan to investigate the root quality in terms of size, distribution, and mass of the root system in this project. 240 root biomass samples will be collected from root ingrowth bags and measured for carbon and nitrogen content from the two sites. By addressing the question does root productivity in desert grasses varying depending on drought conditions, we can observe plant sensitivity and resilience to specific drought conditions caused by water stress. The mechanisms underlying these patterns of ecosystem sensitivity, specifically root resilience and productivity, will be explored at both the site and regional scales with a novel integrated experimentmodeling (EM) framework that explicitly couples an ecosystem process model and a multisite climate change experiment using a data assimilation approach.

2013
Allyson Richins

Allyson's 2013 REU project was entitled "Isotope Fractionation in Plants and Local Plant Isoscapes at Sevilleta Wildlife Refuge"

Predation plays a dramatic ecological role at Sevilleta, directly resulting in the cycling of nutrients from producers to primary and secondary consumers, and indirectly resulting in the cycling of nutrients to scavengers, detrivores, and ultimately the soil (Schmitz et al). This project set a foundation for future food web research by examining isotopic fractionation in a diversity of plant species between two distinct microhabitats, grassland and shrubland. Fractionation data was compared between different microhabitats, different years, and different species at a particular location. Results indicated statistical significance in d13C and d15N between different species across each array, and significance for d13C values between different microhabitats for most plants. d13C values for particular species had a much lower range than the values for d15N. An isoscape map was also constructed to better visualize the spread of flora at the different habitats. In the future, the isotopic data collected this summer will be compared to isotopic analysis of insect and small mammal tissues to determine animal diets, and to determine whether these organisms are generalists, or C3 or C4 specialists. 

Brennan Davis

Brennan's 2013 REU project was entitled "Effects of Drought on Diatom Diversity, Distribution and Population Density"

This project was an attempt to identify the reactions of diatom communities to severe drought on the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge.  Diatoms from 1 natural spring and 10 manmade drinker wells were sampled, as were the water sources.  Surrounding vegetation and scat were accounted for as well.  No statistically significant correlations could be made between drought and diatom diversity or density.  The project was significant in that it established a relatively thorough compilation of generic diatom assemblages and water chemistry on the Sevilleta NWR, enabling further research to be conducted on the subject.

Briana Albini

Briana's 2013 REU project was entitled " Changes in Aquatic Invertebrate Community Diversity During Supra-Seasonal Drought Conditions".

Droughts are a disturbance that affects both water systems and the ecology within and surrounding these water systems. In particular, supra-seasonal droughts can have a devastating effect on the ecology of streams due to their random occurrences and extended disturbance time period. Aquatic invertebrates have better adapted to seasonal droughts because they occur periodically, but have not adapted to supra-seasonal droughts due to their random nature. At the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, in New Mexico, I performed a study to test if there was any connection between a supra-seasonal drought and the diversity of invertebrates between the years 2010 and 2013. I collected invertebrates from 11 wet sites using two techniques combined. The first technique was to insert a sponge into the water source and leave it there for 10 days; the second technique was to take sediment from within a 15x15cm quadrate. I also took dry sediment samples from three other dried water sources to see if there were any dormant invertebrates in the sediment. In addition, vegetation and scat surveys were taken from the area surrounding the drinkers. These surveys were used to see if there is any correlation between vegetation, animal usage of water sources, and taxonomic richness. It was found that the vegetation did have a correlation with richness (R2 = 0.3536). Animal usage had no correlation with richness (R2 value = 0.0353). The drinker at San Lorenzo East had the greatest taxonomic richness with 11 taxa.  No taxa were found from dry sediment sources. After performing a paired t-test, there was found to be no significant difference between the taxonomic richness between 2010 and 2013. My findings suggest that there is no difference between 2010 and 2013 taxonomic richness in the drinkers and springs of the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, but there was a lot of turnover.

David Linares

David's 2013 REU Art in Ecology Project was entitled "Sevilleta Wildlife Refuge Through My Eyes".

The work of an artist in any field is based on an inspiration, in something that matters. In my case I am a person who wants to be an architect and help nature with my imagination. In order for me to be able to help nature in it’s all I need to understand it. My inspiration is coming from my love of and desire to help the earth and creating a building that can make history in any shape or form, but I would love if that history comes from being a skyscraper that is totally energy sufficient.

I am the son of a beekeeper who has learned to love bees and nature. My background in being a beekeeper and living all my life around them has thought me that all living things relay on one and other, and humans are not the exception. With the understanding of this concept I get the desire of picturing the beauties of the earth like the little lizards that help regulate the population of many different insects, or the magnificent eagle that hunts many creatures. In my need of knowing more about nature I have been looking for my inspiration around the Sevilleta refuge.

In my trips with the science REUs I have been finding many things that I want to take pictures of and keep a moment of the thing or creature. My favorite step of my job is the Photoshop part. In this step is where I can play with my imagination. In my picture I like to make people see the beauty of the landscape, or something that might not be even close to what is in the picture. When I start working in the computer I start to make up things in my mind and that makes me create many wired things. For example if I take a picture of grass, I change the colors to make it seem like if it was something totally different, or if is an animal that I have a picture of I change the colors to make it seem like a totally different creature maybe something that is totally out of this world.

In the SEV I have been finding may different forms of inspirations that contribute to my interest in understanding nature and maybe a mythical form in which I think that the earth might work. The SEV is not only a wild life refuge, but is also a historic sight, this is something that I have learned in the time I have been here. This is one reason why the place became more interesting to me when I heard part of the history of the place. By knowing part of the history of the place it makes me wonder what kind of people lived here in the times when Rome was considered the place to be at, I would love to know what kind of buildings they just to have if they had any. With these questions that I have I get my inspiration to go out there and take as many pictures as I can and then try to study them to see if I can find different things that might lead to being clues that people left many centuries ago, and now form part of the landscape.


In coming here to the Sevilleta National Wild life Refuge I have filled a need of knowing more about the nature, and been able to create an image that maybe will last in the heart of a person for the rest of their life. 

Devin Belt

Devin and Kameron's 2013 REU presentation was entitled "Water Quality Survey of the Sevilleta Ground and Surface Waters".

The objective of the study was to collect, analyze, and report water quality of a variety of wells, drinkers, springs, and the Rio Grande located inside of Sevilleta Wildlife Refuge. The study was completed in several steps. First, water samples were collected in the field. The samples were then taken into the lab for analysis. Finally data was derived from lab tests. This data was then interpreted and compared to previous data collected in 2008-2009. The study found that 29% of waters in the region had disappeared from 2008. The water sources that remained declined in quality but were still relatively healthy.

Evan Hewitt

Evan's 2013 REU project was entitled "A Survey of Reintroduced Gunnison’s Prairie Dog Impacts on Chihuahuan Desert Grassland".

Harold Specter

Harold's 2013 Art in Ecology project was entitled "Sevilleta Enlightning".

My goal as an REU student at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge is to observe the unique ecological phenomenon that surrounds us, to create artistic interpretations of the flora, fauna, and geological conditions I witness,  to exemplify the inherit beauty and ephemeral qualities of the natural landscape, to create art works that preserve and celebrate these unique occurrences, to observe and record artistic interpretations of the unique and diverse biomes present at the Sevilleta National wildlife refuge (including the Chihuahuan Desert, the Colorado Steps, the Pinon Juniper sites, and the Grasslands), to display said art works in conjunction with the University of New Mexico, and finally to stimulate, create, and facilitate discourse on the topics of art, ecology, and conservation education.  

My passion in life is performing and learning about art, and the many different effects it has on our shared culture and heritage.  Through artistic creations inspired by the unique features  found at the Sevilleta, I hope to connect the greater public to the refuge through my own artistic interpretations of the phenomena located therein, and to create an opportunity for public discourse regarding the importance of conservationism, environmental issues threatening protected lands, and provide a better understand of what occurs on the refuge (both naturally occurring and  through  human intervention.)  I am deeply appreciative of this opportunity, and this experience will allow me to exceed the expectations placed on me as a professional art student.  

Kameron Ortiz

Kameron and Devin's 2013 REU project was entitled "Water Quality Survey of the Sevilleta Ground and Surface Waters".

The objective of the study was to collect, analyze, and report water quality of a variety of wells, drinkers, springs, and the Rio Grande located inside of Sevilleta Wildlife Refuge. The study was completed in several steps. First, water samples were collected in the field. The samples were then taken into the lab for analysis. Finally data was derived from lab tests. This data was then interpreted and compared to previous data collected in 2008-2009. The study found that 29% of waters in the region had disappeared from 2008. The water sources that remained declined in quality but were still relatively healthy.

Merissa Anderson

Merissa's 2013 REU project was entitled "The impact of plant composition  on nematode abundance"

Nematodes are great mechanisms supporting plant communities’ nutrients and their ability to rehabilitate.  However,  species diversity, especially of nematodes, within the soil also contributes to the amount of nutrients being restored into the soil in which they inhabit.  Black grama and nematodes have a mutualistic exchange because plants provide nutrients to the nematodes and also are able to uptake some nutrients released from the nematodes.   To further understand this relationship, we conducted an experiment looking at the influence of proximity to black grama at two sites, a shrubland and a grassland on the Sevilleta NWR.  We found significantly more nematodes closer to the grass than at locations further away. Nitrogen collected near the plant  were also found to be higher, but it was not significant. Total vegetation cover at the sites did not correspond to nematode abundances in relation to grass proximity. 

Nora Dunkirk

Nora's 2013 REU project was entitled "Testing Causes of Ring Formation in Blue Grama Grass".

Plants interact with their soil communities through root interactions with soil and root-inhabiting microorganisms, also known as plant-soil community feedbacks. Plant-soil community feedbacks (PSFs) can shape how a plant grows in its habitat. Negative PSFs, which result when a plant performs worse in association with its own soil community than with the soil communities from other plant species, have been hypothesized to explain why some plants, such as the grass blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), form patches in the shape of rings. The idea is that host-specific pathogens build up in the center of the plant, causing plant dieback and the formation of a ring as the plant grows outward toward pathogen-free soil. The mechanisms for grass ring formation have been minimally studied in the field, and none, to our knowledge, have directly tested for a role of PSFs in ring formation. This study tested the effect of negative PSFs on ring formation by comparing the plant response of blue grama seedlings when grown in soils taken from either inside or outside grass rings in the field to sterile controls.  We found higher rates of germination, survival, and growth for seedlings grown on live soil from inside the ring than from live soil outside the ring, but no difference in plant performance when soils were sterilized, suggesting that a seed would have higher fitness if it landed in the center of a ring than at the outer edge. These results did not support the hypothesis that negative PSFs cause ring formation in blue grama, but suggest instead that pathogen loads may be highest on the outer edges of ring-forming plants. 

Ty Werdel

Ty's 2013 REU project was entitled "Small Mammal Abundance and Diversity in Relation To Prairie Dog Reintroduction Sites".In the last 150 years prairie dog populations have declined by 90-98%. They historically occupied millions of hectares of land, but due to encroachment on habitat by human populations and extermination their range is disappearing. The Gunnison’s prairie dog’s (Cynomys gunnisoni) range is generally considered the southwest or Four Corners region of the United States. This species was selected to be reintroduced within the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in 2010 because they were present in the area historically before their eradication by ranchers. Their reintroduction within the refuge gives researchers the opportunity to study the effects of C. gunnisoni upon the ecosystem. Much of the research done on the relationship between small mammals and prairie dogs has been with the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus).Small mammals, in habitats including prairie dogs, utilize prairie dog burrows for shelter: some cannot dig their own burrows in the hard ground, while others simply exploit them because of their presence (Ceballos, List, and Pacheco, 1998). The burrows also provide escape from predators and denning opportunities. Small mammal species richness, diversity, and abundance have been shown to be higher in areas with prairie dogs when compared to similar habitats without prairie dogs (Ceballos, List, and Pacheco, 1998). Certain species of small mammals are also more apt to live in areas of short grass and bare ground, such as pocket mice (Perognathus) and kangaroo rats (Dipodomys) (Bock and Bock, 2006). Over the range of an ecosystem, small mammal species richness, diversity, and abundance will be higher because of the differing habitats created by prairie dog presence (Fascinating Facts).The research conducted is important to the scientific community because the relationship between small mammals and C. gunnisoni has not been well documented. I evaluated how small mammal species have responded to the presence of C. gunnisoni by measuring small mammal species diversity and relative abundance between control sites and reintroduction sites. This will help to further understand the relationship between C. gunnisoni and the ecosystem which they inhabit.

Vivien Enriquez

Vivien's 2013 REU project was entitled "Rainfall Influence on Lizard Activity Patterns in a Piñon-Juniper Woodland".

Whiptail lizards are a widespread species within the Teiidae family of reptiles. Insectivores, whiptails within the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico occupy habitat that includes grasslands and the Los Piños Mountains. The foraging behaviors of whiptails are instructive when recorded in relation to drought conditions, microhabitats, and rainfall treatments. This project focuses on observing a suite of whiptail lizard behaviors in order to examine how environmental factors, such as constant drought and rainfall pulses, are drivers of specific animal behaviors and preferred habitat utilization. The research took place on the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in the Los Piños Mountains of New Mexico. To analyze and compare behavior in relation to microhabitat activity time budgets were created of two focal whiptail species, Aspidoscelis exsanguis and Aspidoscelis neomexicana from late June through late July of 2013. Although the limited results from this study may not have strong statistical power, on an anecdotal level there appears to be a clear difference of preferred foraging microhabitat among the drought and rainfall treatments where these lizards are located. Through these results we can draw conclusions not only about how drought will affect lizard behavior, but about how drought affects other habitat dynamics, such as soil quality and shade cover and how these factors influence lizard behavior as well.

2012
Austin Dillon

Austin's 2012 REU project was entitled " Comparing microfauna of soil crusts in four arid biomes across an elevational gradient"

Brianna Levison

Brianna's 2012 REU project was entitled "Algal species diversity on the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge at four natural springs vs. the diversity at the artificial drings, and the impact of long-term survival on wildlife" 

Emmanuel Sosa

Manny's 2012 REU project was entitled " The impact of fire history on semiarid grassland plant communities" 

Hanna Marti

Hanna's 2012 REU project was entitled "The effect of shrub encroachment on harvester ant and lizard communities of the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge"

This study compared the harvester ant and lizard communities of two sites on the SNWR, a grassland and a creosote ecotone, in order to predict possible future scenarios for these two animal groups in the face of shrub encroachment on the refuge.  Twenty 40m x 40m plots were surveyed at each site, for a total of forty plots. In each plot the presence of harvester ant nests and individual lizards was noted. Ants were identified to species and lizards were identified by feeding guilds, active foragers or sit-and-wait predators. The number of nests of two commonly found harvester ant species, Pogonomyrmex rugosus and Aphaenogaster cockerelli, were calculated as densities per 100 meters squared. The same calculations were done for the total number of lizards found in each plot as well as the number of active foraging lizards and sit-and-wait lizards. After testing the differences in means for the densities of each group separated by habitat type with Kruskal-Wallis tests, no comparison yielded a statistically significant result at the 0.05 level. However, both the differences of P. rugosus nests and active foraging lizards across habitats displayed marginal significance. We hypothesize several factors contributing to the lack of significant differences between the habitat types.  In the case of the ants, the species that were sampled are long-lived and can persist unaffected by a disturbance such as a change in vegetation type for decades.  However as an extremely motile group the lack of a significant difference between the lizard communities of these two sites suggests that they are not affected by the encroachment of woody shrubs at this stage in transition.

Hannah Berry

Hannah's 2012 Art in Ecology REU project was entitled "Biological illustrations and Lumen prints of the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge based on the studies of other REU students"

This summer I wanted to work on a couple of different projects encompassing my interest in multiple artistic mediums including oil pastel, ink, photography, and collage. To use various media, I came up with two projects: a multimedia color study of the landscape, and biological illustrations representing the biology research projects conducted throughout the summer.

Biological illustration has been of great interest to me since my class in the subject last fall. This summer, it was a goal to expand upon my practice in the area so I chose to work closely with the other REU students to illustrate the main components of each project. It was a challenge illustrating something every day for a month to get everything done but I did learn a lot of new techniques for working with pen and ink and as accurately as possible depicting so many different types of plants and animals. My final works include illustrations of various insects, mammals, and plants, and strive to show some of the diversity of the ecosystem in the desert. 

Jasmine Childress

Jasmine's 2012 REU project was entitled "Estimating population size and nest productivity of the threatened Gray Vireos in Los Pinos Mountains"

Jeanette Chu

Jeanette's 2012 REU project was entitled " The effects of increased rainfall on growth in Bouteloua eriopoda and Larrea tridentata"The encroachment of woody shrubs on the grasslands is known to be a problem both locally on the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR) and worldwide. However, germination of L. tridentata has never been observed under field conditions so methods of encroachment are currently unknown. There are two theories of the effect of grazing on grasslands; that grazing will reduce overall growth and reduce overall grass cover or that grazing will induce compensatory growth and increase overall grass cover. We attempted to reproduce an above average monsoon rainfall, after which copious individuals were seen germinating naturally, to see if above average rainfall was a requirement for germination in the field. Over 250 mm of precipitation was put on to 8 plots; 4 on the ecotone between shrubland and grassland, 4 on the shrubland to mimic an above average monsoon season between June and August. We clipped grasses within quadrats and added B. eriopoda seeds to different quadrats to test if there would be any differences in growth depending on the treatment to see which theory of grazing seemed to be correct. Control plotswere set up to receive only ambient rainfall in the same location as watered plots. Clipped and seeded quadrats were divided equally between watered and control plots. I also examined some of the Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research (LTER)’s data for seedling growth trends dependent on the monsoon rainfall. 

Lizet Mendoza
Maite Martin

Maite's 2012 REU project was entitled " Behavior and time budget comparisons on older and newly reintroduced colonies of Gunnison's Prairie Dogs"

Natalia Roberts

Natalia's 2012 Art in Ecology REU project was entitled " Mimicking the desert's use of water"

Larrea tridentata, commonly known as the Creosote bush, was the driving force behind my preliminary designs this summer for small-scale device to collect rainwater.  There are two shape-categories into which the Creosote is put, depending upon the angle at which its outermost branches grow. If these branches grow at an angle greater than 45 degrees, they have an inverted-cone shape. This is the optimal angle for collecting rainwater through stem flow. If the outermost branches of the creosote grow at an angle lower to the ground than 45 degrees, it has a hemispherical shape. While more rainwater escapes through the branches at this angle, instead of being channeled down them, this hemispherical shape disrupts wind patterns creating turbulence and allowing litter to build up around the bush. 

Natasha Vinas

Natasha's 2012 REU project was entitled " Survey of root-associated fungi of Larrea tridentata and Bouteloua eriopoda across the shrub-grassland transition zone on the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge"

Creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) has long been associated with the desert southwest.  Over the years, creosote bush has been steadily moving north.  Fire suppression, livestock overgrazing, and climate change have all been studied as possible attributions for this phenomenon.  It is well known that symbiosis with fungal communities can support the establishment and survival of their host plant, and this may be particularly true for those plants found under extreme constraints in desert ecosystems.  Up until this point, it is unknown what type of fungal communities exist in association with the creosote bush.  We are interested in the possibility that root fungal endophytes of the creosote bush confer a competitive advantage to the plant, aiding in its encroachment north. Furthermore, we are interested in examining if the fungal communities of Black Grama grass roots (Bouteloua eriopoda) change across the creosote-grassland transition zone of the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge.

To address these questions, in the summer of 2012 our research group conducted a survey of the fungal endophytes from ten plants each of creosote bush and Black Grama grass inside and outside the transition zone (hereafter referred to as Grama In and Grama Out, respectively).

Nizhoni Harvey
Rande Patterson

Rande's 2012 REU project was entitled "Survey on the Tarantuals of the Los Pinos at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge"

The Desert Blonde Tarantula, among one of the most common tarantulas in the United States and Mexico, is also found on the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. Tarantulas which commonly have few predators are singularly parasitized by the Tarantula Wasp, New Mexico’s state insect. The tarantula wasp lays a single egg on a paralyzed tarantula, which emerges as an adult after approximately thirty days of feeding on a tarantula. Little was known about tarantulas on the Sevilleta, however. Thus, the visible prevalence of these tarantula wasps led to the belief that tarantulas must also be abundant here at the Sevilleta. Both the general density of tarantulas, tarantula wasps, and their preferred habitat areas were sought during this study. Using the base of the Los Pinos as our study site, nine 75x75 meter plots were marked out in three different habitat areas, grassland dominated, cholla dominated, and shrubland dominated. Within each, tarantula and tarantula wasp abundance was found. 

2011
Alan Barraza

Alan's 2011 REU Project "Soils and Landforms as Key Abiotic Factors in the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge - Eastern Los Pinos Mountains" 

Alan is starting his Senior Year this Fall  at University of Texas, El Paso.

Deleesa Cole
Emily Boone

Emily Boone's 2011 ART REU Project "Interpretation of the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge Through Land Art & Photographs of the Research Students There"

Heather Causey

Heather's 2011 REU Project was entitled: "Comparing Arthropod Community Diversity Within Natural & Invasive Riparian Habitats". 

Heather starts her Junior year at Colorado State University in the fall of 2011.

Heather Tran

Heather's 2011 REU Project was entitled "Resilience of Larrea Tridenta to Extreme Cold Across a Shrub-Grassland Ecotone"

Heather is a senior at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville and plans to graduate in December 2011.

Jaclyn Andberg

Jacklyn Andberg collaborated with fellow REU student Niles Brinton on their 2011 research project: "A Survey of Population Size and Parasitism of Gray Vireos in the Los Pinos Mountains".  This work involved early morning of searching for birds and then finding mating pairs and locating their nests.

Jacklyn will graduate this December (2011).

Jason Lopez

Jason's 2011 REU Project "Dendroecology of Pinon Trees at the Los Pinos Mountains on the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge".  Jason's project involved collecting tree cores and counting tree rings to find the oldest tree in the Los Pinos Mts."

Jason will be a sophomore this year (2011).

Kimberly Elsenbroek
Laura N

Main focus: Paleobotany and Paleoecology
Applying to grad schools right now, but I am planning on going to Vanderbilt University fall 2012 (if I get in) to study Paleoecology of plants and animals of the Cenozoic.

Mathias Hughey
Niles Brinton
Paeton Phaup

Paeton's 2011 REU Project "The impact of Permanent and Ephemeral Water Sources on Pant and Animal Population Dynamics" Paeton will be starting his sophomore year this fall (2011) at the University of Texas  - Kingsville.

Stephanie Chen
2010
Amanda Labrado

Amanda Labrado is currently a Junior at the University of Texas at  El Paso.

Amanda Liebrecht

Amanda worked with Dr. Marcy Litvak this summer in the pinon-juniper woodlands.  Her project "The effect of pinon mortality on understory vegetation" gave Amanda ample experience working with equipment such as the LiCor 6200 (for CO2 measurements) and LiCor 6400 (IRGA gas exchange measurements).

Amanda Liebrecht graduated from St.  Mary's College of Maryland in May 2011. She is currently a graudate student at the University of New Mexico - working in Dr. Marcy Litvak's Lab!  Amanda is pursuing a PhD.

Antonio Navarez

Antonio's summer REU project was titled "A Four Year Comparative Study of the Geochemistry and Hydrology of Select Springs in the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge." Antonio is currently a Senior at the University of Texas- Elpaso, TX, majoring in Enviromental Science with a concentration in Hydro-Science. He is currently working with Dr. Vanessa Lougheed, examining water quality and quanitity among ephemeral ponds in at the Indio Mountains Research Station. Antonio is planning to graduate in May 2010 and go on to graduate school to study Hydrology.

Chris Shepard

Chris's 2010 REU Project was titled "Spatial variation of soil characteristics with respect to hill slope position and vegetation community."

Chris graduated from the University of Virginia in May 2011 with a B.S. in Geology.

Cynthia Malone

Cynthia's 2010 Summer REU Project was entitled: "Assessing the diversity of terrestrial vertebrates in relation to water sources: a comparison between artificial drinkers and natural springs." Her mentor was Jon Erz.

Elida Ingiuez

Elida's summer REU project was titled "Pinus edulis mortality effects on soil respiration."

Harmony Lu

Her project at the Sevilleta LTER focused on the possible effects that an intermittent river confluence has on the habitat characteristics of a mainstream channel. She examined both quantitative and qualitative habitat qualities of a beach of the Rio Grande river and surveyed the local macroinvertebrate diversity. Harmony's mentor was University of New Mexico, Department of Biology Adjunct Research Assistant Professor, Dr. Ayesha Burdett.

Harmony Lu will be a senior at Brown University concentrating in Geology-Biology.

Ileana Betancourt

While participating in the 2010 Sevilleta LTER REU Program, Ileana worked with Dr. Marcy Litvak on the "Effects of Pinus edulis mortality on litter quality and quantity in pinon-juniper woodlands: impacts on carbon balance."

At Cornell, Ileana is pursuing a degree in Science in Natural and Environmental Systems. This is a step towards her goal of pursuing a career in sustainable development. Ileana will be a Junior at Cornell University this fall (2011).

Mark Stone
Melissa Shaginoff

Melissa Shagnioff graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage in August 2011. Where she received a degree in Psychology.

During the Summer of 2010 Melissa worked on creating projects that combined her studies of fine art and the natural materials she was surrounded with at the Sevilleta. She discovered new processes of paint making and papermaking and held a community project with the other REUs, interns, and mentors.

Melissa plans on attending graduate school.

Mitchell R.

His summer REU Project was titled “Tamarix root stratigraphy controlled by soil characteristics.”  Mitchell's mentor was Mark Stone.

Abstract: Tamarix invasion of North America has marked a great understanding of why non-native plants should not be implemented. Modern eradication methods have been successful but they also cause negative effects to local ecology, and also some of the eradicated tamarix have shown strong re-growth. The focus of my research is to start an exploratory study on how tamarix develops itself through its root stratigraphy. If we determine a direct correlation between how the plant utilizes its water and how it grows; we may open up opportunities for possible eradication. The way we do this is we measure how much water volume each plant is transpiring and from there we take visual observation of where these taproots and laterals are expanding. We also look at percent fines as another key factor on confirming the correlation. The results have shown that yes, there is a correlation between both mechanisms. This exploratory study opens the door for further research on tamarix eradication and possibly other invasive plant species. 

Mitch attended Dine College.

Natasha Ribeiro

During the 2010 Summer REU Program Natasha was one of two art students in residence. Natasha created community projects for the other REUs staying at the UNM Sevilleta Field Station along with her own independent projects.

Natasha is a senior in the College of Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico.

Ricardo Duran

Ricks 2010 project was: "Spatial analysis of the population dynamics in Gunnison's Prairie dog colonies at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge" Mentor: Chuck Hayes

Rick graduated from Arizona State in May 2011 with a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Conservation Biology and Ecological Sustainability. He spent the summer of 2011 as a Sevilleta LTER Intern at the UNM Sevilleta Field Station.

Rick presented in 2010 REU Project in the form of a Poster, at the 2011 Ecological Society of American Meeting in Austin, Texas in August!

Shayla Burnett

During her summer as a Sevilleta LTER REU Student, Shayla worked with Scott Collins studying the effects of fire on below ground biomass in a black grama grassland. Shayla presented her research findings at the 2011 Ecological Society of America Meeting in Austin, Texas.

Shayla Burnett graduated from Oklahoma State University in May 2011 with a Degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Rangeland Ecology and Management.

Shayla is currently a graduate student at the University of Wyoming, working towards a MS in Agroecology under Brian Mealor in the Plant Sciences Department. My project focuses on cheatgrass including mapping and effects of reapplications of herbicide such as biomass production and seed bank responses.


 

2009
Albert Davila,

His REU project was titled: "Chihuahuan desert lizard abundance in Gunnison's prairie dog habitat: Do lizards prefer prairie dog colonies?" Alberts mentor was Sevilleta LTER Project Manager Mike Friggens.

Albert Davila, Jr., Graduated from Oberlin College with an  Evironmental Studies degree. He now lives in California and is working for THINK Together, an after school program. As a Program leader, Albert supervises 25 fourth graders.

Amanda Martinez

Amanda's REU project was titled: "Aquatic invertebrates diversity in springs and wells on the Sevilleta."  Amanda's mentor was University of New Mexico, Department of Biology Professor and Sevilleta LTER Lead P.I. Dr. Scott Collins.

Amanda Martinez graduated from Brigham Young University, with a B.S. in Biology.

Amanda Schaupp

Her project was titled: "The effect of arthropods on Dipodomys spectabilis food stores and storing behavior." Amanda's mentor was Truman State University Associate Professor Dr. Jose Herrera. Amanda spent the fall of 2009 Lancaster University in England studying molecular and immunology/parasitology.

Andrea Westerband

Andrea Westerband graduated from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, with a degree in Environmental Biology.

Her 2009 REU project was titled: "Effects of aspect and elevation on the distribution of pinon pine and juniper trees, along with index of grass density within the Los Pinos Mountains, New Mexico." Andrea's mentor was University of New Mexico, Department of Biology Graduate Student and Sevilleta LTER Fellow Juliana Medeiros.

Andrea is a PhD. Student studying Tropical Biology in the Biology Department at the University of Miami.  She just recently completed the eight week OTS Fundamentals course in Tropical Biology which took place in Costa Rica (2011).

Cesar Coronado

His project was titled: "Comparison of noninvasive sampling techniques for coyotes: hair snares vs. scat surveys." Cesar's mentor was University of Virginia graduate student and Sevilleta LTER Fellow Virgina "Ginny" Seamster.

Cesar Coronado graduated from Northern New Mexico University, majoring in Biology.

Francisco "Frankie"

His project was titled: "A salinization study within the San Acacia Region, Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, NM."   His mentors were University of New Mexico Earth & Planetary Science Professor Dr. Laura Crossey and University of New Mexico graduate student and Sevilleta LTER Fellow Amy Williams. Currently, Frankie is involved in research examining the water chemistry of arctic ponds.  This position will enable him to spend next summer in Barrow, Alaska. He plans to study geochemistry as it applies to environmental science in graduate school. He states that the Sevilleta turned him into an environmentalist.  We at the Sevilleta do our best to convert one student at a time!

Francisco "Frankie" Reyes will be a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso, majoring in Environmental Geoscience.

Giomara La

Her summer project was titled: "Soil nitrogen and physical properties of the Los Pinos Mountains, New Mexico."  Giomara's mentor was University of New Mexico, Department of Biology graduate student and Sevilleta LTER Fellow Juliana Medeiros.

Giomara La Quay graduated from Universidad of Metropolitana Puerto Rico in May 2010, with a B.S. in Environmental Sciences/Biology.

Hayley Stansell

Her summer 2009 REU project was titled: "Mapping the landscape of fear for Gunnison's prairie dogs."  Hayley's mentor was Sevilleta LTER Project Manager Mike Friggens.  

Hayley Stansell graduated from North Carolina State University in May of 2011, with a B.S. in Biology with a Concentration in Evolution, Ecology and Conservation Biology.

Hayley is currently working as a research assistant at NCSU working on some citizen science projects including the Belly Button Biodiversity project: http://www.wildlifeofyourbody.org/

Lian Liu

Lian's project was titled: "A comparative study of water quality and aquatic macroinvertebrate diversity in the Rio Grande and its ditches." Lian's mentor was University of New Mexico, Department of Biology Post Doc. Dr. Ayesha Burdett.

Lian Liu graduated from The University of Michigan in May 2010 with degrees in Biology & Psychology.She is currently a at DuPoint as a Lab Tech assisting with Plant Genetics Research.

 "Lian spent the month of September 2011 as a global impact fellow with Unite For Sight."

Maxine Paul

Maxine Paul graduated from Columbia University in 2010 with a degree in Environmental Science and her thesis was an expanded version of her REU project. Her summer 2009 research project was: "Quantifying biome specific relationships and monsoon event responses using LAI (leaf area index), NDVI (normalized differences vegetation index) PRI (photochemical radiation index) in grassland and shrubland ecosystems at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge". Maxine's mentor was University of New Mexico Department of Biology Associate Professor Marcy Litvak.

She continued research in remote sensing of ecosystems at Archbold Biological Station in Florida as an intern after graduation and is now the Preservation Associate at Environment New Mexico, working for clean air, clean water, and open spaces.

Samantha Adelberg

Samantha's REU project title was: "Geomicrobiolgy of the Sevilleta wells and springs: predicting the metabolic energy available to microorganisms." Samantha's mentors were University of New Mexico Earth & Planetary Science Professor Dr. Laura Crossey and University of New Mexico Graduate Student and Sevilleta LTER Fellow Amy Williams.

Samantha Adelberg graduated from Brown University in May 2011, with degrees in Geology & Biology. She received a Fullbright Fellowship in 2011 and will be studying in Panama during the spring of 2012.

2008
Ashley Melendez

Her 2008 REU project was "The effect of vegetation change due to precipitation flux on the fitness of generalist grasshopper Trimerotropis pallidipennis." Ashley's mentor was University of New Mexico, Department of Biology Post Doc. Dr. Sophia Engle.

Ashley Melendez graduated from The College of New Rochelle in 2010 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Biology. She attended Mercy College in 2011 studying Veterinary Technology with Pre-Vet.


Ashley Schafer

After her summer at the Sevilleta in 2007 she obviously could not stay away and decided to come back for another Sevilleta REU in 2008. "Arthropod response to a seasonal prescribed burn" was the title of her project. Her mentor was University of New Mexico, Department of Biology Professor and Sevilleta LTER Lead P.I. Dr. Scott Collins.

Ashley Schafer graduated from Ursinus College in May of 2009 with a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies.

Cathleen "CJ"

Her 2008 REU research project was "Seasonal fire effects on seed banks in semi-arid grasslands." CJ's mentor was University of New Mexico, Department of Biology Professor Dr. Diane Marshall. 

Cathleen "CJ" Jewell earned her B.S. in Molecular Biology from Ohio Northern University in 2010. She is currently a second year graduate student pursuing a PhD at Indiana University Bloomington in the Evolution, Ecology and Behavior program. I work in Dr. Leonie Moyle's lab studying the evolutionary ecology and genetics underlying speciation, reproductive isolation and mating systems.

Christine Waters

Christine Waters' summer 2008 project was: "The Chemistry of Wells & Springs at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge". Her mentors were University of New Mexico (UNM) Earth & Planetary Science professor, Dr. Laura Crossey, and UNM graduate student and Sevilleta LTER Fellow, Amy Williams. Following her REU at Sevilleta, Christine conducted undergraduate research on chromium isotope fractionation with Dr. Andre Ellis in UTEP's Pathways to Geosciences Program. This research was followed by a Summer Student Fellowship from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution during May-August 2009. There she worked with Dr. Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink, investigating extraterrestrial platinum group element (PGE) anomalies in Marinoan-aged sediments. Her senior year, she continued to work in the Pathways to Geosciences Program with Dr. Jasper Konter on the partitioning of elements during NiS fire assay. Christine has presented her work at the Society for the Advancement of Chicano and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Research Expo. 2009, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting 2010, and Goldschmidt Conference 2010.

Christine graduated from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) with a B.S. in Environmental Hydroscience in 2010. This past spring, Christine was awarded a 2011 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and is currently studying submarine groundwater discharge under mentor, Dr. Henrieta Dulaiova, at The University of Hawaii at Manoa. 

Damon Lowery

His summer 2008 REU project was entitled "Determining the density of coyotes in different habitat types at the Sevilleta NWR/LTER by the use of scat transect surveys." Damon's mentor was University of Virginia Graduate Student and Sevilleta LTER Fellow Virginia "Ginny" Seamster.

Damon Lowery graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a B.S. in Science in 2009. May 31, 2011 - Damon Lowery successfully defended his master's thesis in Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University! Chapter 2 of the thesis looked at habitat use of black bears in Apalachicola National Forest in Florida using EcoDogs. Congrats Damon! Damon was a Master's student with Dr. Wayde Morse. He's using the dogs to examine the habitat use patterns of black bears in Apalachicola, Florida. He is now looking for careerpositions in the field of wildlife management, preferably for a state agency.

Dan Coleman

Dan's 2008 REU project was entitled "Investigating host feeding strategy as a determinant of gut microbial community profile in insects." His mentors were University of New Mexico, Deparment of Biology Professor Dr. Eric Toolson and Associate Professor Dr. Christina Takacs-Vesbach. Dan is also submitting his REU project (that he continued to work on after his REU had ended) for publication.

Dan Coleman graduated from the University of New Mexico in May of 2009 with a double major in Biology and Chemistry. He is currently a graduate student at the University of New Mexico working on an PhD. in Biology with Dr. Takacs-Vesbach.

Emerson Tuttle

Emerson's REU project was titled "Spatial distribution of harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex rugosus): is there a foraging benefit for colonies located in close proximity to kangaroo rat (Dipodomys spectabilis) mounds?"  His mentor was University of New Mexico graduate student and Sevilleta LTER Fellow Andrew Edelman.

Emerson Tuttle graduated from Middlebury College in May of 2009 with a degree in Biology. He started Veterinary school at Tufts University in the Fall of 2010. He eventually hopes to go in to conservation medicine and international work - but he's waiting to see how things go.

Emily Stinson

Her 2008 project was entitled "A study on the nutritional and thermal ecology of the desert box turtle (Terrapene ornate luteola)." Emily's mentor was University of New Mexico Graduate Student and Sevilleta LTER Fellow Ian Murray.

Emily Stinson graduated from Hamilton College in May of 2009 with a degree in Biology.

Molly Ladd

Her summer REU project was titled "Hydraulic patterns of redistribution in irrigated pinyon-juniper roots in the Los Pinos Mountains, Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico."  Molly's mentor was University of New Mexico, Department of Biology Post Doc. Dr. Enrico Yepez.

Molly Ladd graduated from Bates College in May of 2009 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Ecology. Molly worked for AmeriCorps*VISTA at the Lewiston Public Library in Lewiston, Maine. I work primarily with low-income/at-risk teenagers. The majority of teens I see on a daily basis are from the immigrant community (Somali and Sudanese refugees). Many of them have lived in refugee camps their entire lives, and have never been to school, so much of my work focuses on building their literacy skills and also providing support/mentoring through structured after school programs like arts & craft activities, writing club, homework support, etc. It's FABULOUS and provides me with a daily dose of frustration and inspiration!

Natalie Alberg

Her summer of 2008 REU project was entitled "Understanding the energetic and water flux differences in free-ranging and captive Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni):  the key to successfully reestabilishing Gunnison's prairie dogs on the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge."  Natalie's mentors were University of New Mexico Graduate Student Cindy Mathison and Sevilleta LTER Project Manager Mike Friggens.

Natalie Alberg graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in May of 2009. 

2007
Alexandra Reinwald

Her 2007 summer project was entitled "Characterizing the relationship between plant water potential, soil water potential and ecosystem fluxes of carbon and water in desert grassland and shrubland ecosystems." Alexandra's mentor was University of New Mexico Department of Biology Assocciate Professor Marcy Litvak.

Alexandra Reinwald graduated from Humboldt State in December of 2007 with a degree in Rangeland Resource Science and a minor in Botany. Alexandra is currently pursing an MS in Ecology at Utah State University where she is evaluating restoration seedling techniques using native grass species in cheatgrass-dominated communities at Golden Spike National Historic Site.

Alyssa Corbett

Alyssa's summer 2007 project was: "Metabolic substrate use of Trimerotropis pallidpennis; a stable isotope approach". Her mentor was University of New Mexico, Department of Biology Post Doc. Dr. Sophia Engle. Alyssa is contemplating a career in either veterinary medicine or conservation.

Alyssa Corbett graduated from Tufts University in May of 2008 with a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies. Alyssa received an MS in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University in 2011, and is looking to pursue a career in wildlife conservation policy, with an interest in human-wildlife conflicts!

Ashley Schafer

Ashley examined the behavioral and foraging ecology of the beetle Epicauta longicollis during her 2007 REU. Ashley's mentor was University of New Mexico, Department of Biology Professor Dr. Eric Toolson.

Ashley Schafer graduated from Ursinus College in May of 2009 with a degree in Biology and Environmental Studies.

Ben Gutzler

Ben worked on the  "Effects of simulated climate change on plant seedling counts" while he was a REU in 2007. Ben's mentor was University of New Mexico, Department of Biology Professor Dr. Eric Toolson.

Ben graduated from Willamette in May 2010, work as a fisheries observer out of Eureka, CA from Jan. - Aug. 2011 (where he spent a great deal of time waiting to go out to sea!) and is now attending Old Dominion University (Norfolk, VA) pursuing a master's in biology, focused on marine (behavioral) ecology, but no exact topic set as of yet. Probably working on crustaceans (blue crabs here in VA or spiny lobsters in the Florida Keys)

Rene Aquilera

His summer of 2007 REU research project was: "CO2 fluxes following simulated monsoon rain events." Rene's mentor was University of Arizona Assistant Professor Dr. Shirley Kurc Papuga.

Rene Aquilera graduated from the University of New Mexico in May of 2008 with a B.S. in Biology.

Scott Johnson

Scott's 2007 research project was: "Dipodomys spectabiliis: Ecosystem Engineers - A Look at Invertebrate Richness and Abundance". His mentor was University of New Mexico Graduate Student and Sevilleta LTER Fellow Andrew Edelman.

Scott Johnson graduated from Kansas State University in the Spring of 2010, majoring in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology.

Scott was not only an REU in 2007, he came back and was a Sevilleta LTER Intern in 2008 & 2009!! Since Graduation Scott has been working in California doing an internship with Conservation and Land Management (CLM).

2006
Alejandro Benhumea

His summer 2006 project was entitled "Indirect interactions between plants mediated by insect herbivores." Alex's mentor was University of Nebraska Graduate Student and Sevilleta LTER Fellow Tom Miller.

Alejandro Benhumea was a sophmore at the University of Texas at El Paso when he worked on his REU at the Sevilleta LTER. The following summer he was involved in an internship in Barrow, Alaska with the University of Texas at El Paso.

Andrew Rominger

His 2006 REU project was "Spatial patterns in grasshopper abundance and diversity." Andrew's mentors were University of Nebraska Graduate Student Tom Miller and University of New Mexico, Department of Biology Professor and Sevilleta LTER lead P.I. Dr. Scott Collins. In 2009 Andrew published a study completed at the Sevilleta during the summers of 2006 and 2007 entitled "Relative contributions of neutral and niche-based processes in the structure of a desert grassland grasshopper community." 

Andrew Rominger graduated from Stanford in May of 2009. He received a Fulbright Grant to work in Chile for a year starting in March 2010. Andrew is a PhD. student at the University of Ca -Berkley.  His research interests are: Macroecology, understanding limits and successes of statistical theories of biodiversity, incorporating macroevolution in community and ecosystem level research

Ashwana Fricker

Ashwana's 2006 project was entitled "Plants!! How do they interact?" Her mentor was University of New Mexico, Department of Biology Professor and Sevilleta LTER's own Lead P.I. Dr. Scott Collins.

Ashwana Fricker graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Biochemistry/Biophysics in 2008.  Ashwana is now in graduate school at Cornell studying Microbiology.

Brenda Nieto

Brenda's summer project: "Flow Pulse Effects on the Macroinvertebrate Community Structure in the Rio Salado, an Arid Stream Ecosystem" was completed with University of New Mexico Post Doc. Dr. Vincec Acuna Salazar. In the summer of 2008 Brenda completed another REU at Yosemite National Park. She currently has an internship with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center working on the effects of fungi and earthworms in different aged forests. Brenda plans on attending graduate school at some point.

Brenda Nieto graduated from the University of Texas - El Paso in May of 2009 with a degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in Biology. Brenda is currently a Ph.D. Biology student in an ecosystems ecology laboratory at New Mexico State University. She is interested in biotic and abiotic interactions in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. Her current project involves studying plant-ecosystem processes focusing on 1) woody plant encroachment impacts on root exudates and soil organic carbon and 2) photopriming effects on litter decomposition. Previous research includes undergraduate research at Yosemite National Park and field technician positions in both the Chihuahuan and Mojave Desert. Other programs and activities include Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) scholars program, and establishing Strategies for Ecology Education Diversity and Sustainability (SEEDS) chapter at NMSU. She also participates in scientific outreach strategies at local school and public events. Upon completion of her doctoral degree Brenda plans to continue her research on ecosystem impacts caused by human activity with an emphasis on conservation and mitigation. Brenda’s hobbies include playing tennis, gardening, and traveling.

Caitlin Smith

Caitlins's 2006 summer project was entitled "Effects of variable rainfall and increased nitrogen deposition on nitrous oxide production in a semi-arid grassland ecosystem - a forethought of global change."  Her mentors were University of New Mexico graduate student and Sevilleta LTER Fellow Chelsea Crenshaw and Sevilleta LTER Post Doc. Dr. Joe Farigone. 

Caitlin Smith graduated from Mt. Holyoke College in May of 2007 with a degree in Environmental Studies. After graduating from Mt. Holyoke, Caitlin received a Fulbright Fellowship to study climate change ecology in peatland ecosystems in Northern Quebec, Canada. During Caitlin's year at the University of Laval she worked with a professor at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada on the effects of climate warming on carbon cycling dynamics in a boreal peatland. She co-authored a paper on this research that has been submitted to the journal of Biogeochemistry. Currently, Caitlin is working on an M.S. in Landscape Architecture at Penn State University and her goal is to move back to the southwest and focus on water sensitive landscape design.  "A perfect combination of art and science!" Caitlin says.

Shawn "Fred"

She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of New Mexico, Department of Biology, with a focus in paleoecology. Fred's 2006 project was: "Visitors to mounds: how the presence of a kangaroo rat affects reptile populations." Her mentor was University of New Mexico graduate student and Sevilleta LTER Fellow Andrew Edelman.

Shawn "Fred" Whiteman graduated summa cum laude from Hollins University in May of 2007.  She also received departmental honors thanks to her REU project! Shawn "Fred" Whiteman is now a Ph.D candidate working with Felisa Smith in the Department of Biology, University of New Mexico. Her research interests include paleobiology, macroecology, and biogeography. She is currently working on two major research projects: one on the ecological factors contributing to differential success of mammals in the Great American Biotic Interchange, and one using geometric morphometrics to study packrat (Neotoma) morphology and phylogeny. She enjoys interdisciplinary and international collaboration, knitting, and fine wine, and she won't be offended if her name misleads you into thinking she's a guy. She is an amazing knitter.. though she has yet to knit me anything..

Tierney Adamson

Tierney's summer 2006 project was titled: "Activity budgets of Gunnison's Prairie Dogs in the early Monsoon Season."  Tierney's mentor was Sevilleta LTER Project Manager Mike Friggens.

Tierney Adamson graduated from the University of New Mexico in December of 2007 with a degree in Biology. She is currently pursuing a MS from the University of New Mexico, Department of Biology with Dr. Robert Sinsabaugh. Tierney's research interests are: Soil enzyme and microbial activity along an elevation and biome gradient in relation to net ecosystem carbon exchange.

2004
Renee Zieman

Renee's project was entitled "The effect of grazing on weed cover species composition on the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge." Her mentor was University of Biology, Department of Biology, Professor and Sevilleta LTER Lead P.I. Dr. Scott Collins.

Renee Zieman graduated from Seattle Pacific University in May of 2005.