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Biology Event Calendar

April 2014 Events

  • April 30 BGSA/RISE potluck
  • April 16 Thomas E. Helm Undergraduate Research Day
  • April 9 seminar Dr. John Marlin -ISTC
  • April 4 Biology Student Research Symposium

March 2014 Events

  • March 19 seminar, Dr. Richard Musser - WIU.  Investigating the Interactome of plant-herbivore interactions.
  • March 12 SPRING BREAK!
  • March 5 seminar, Dr. John Logsdon - UI

February 2014 Events

  • February 28 Friday seminar: Dr. Guoquing Lu - UN at Omaha.  Asian carp, friend or foe? Depends on where you live.
  •  February 19 Wednesday special alumnus seminar: Josh Sherwood - INHS.  From prairie streams to field drains: Changes in the stream fish communities of Champaign County over the past century.
  • February 14 Friday special alumnus seminar: Dr. Tanya Soule - IUPU.  The cyanobacterial sunscreen scytonemin and its relationship to ultraviolet radiation, oxidative stress, and the production o9f extracellular polysaccharides.
  • February 5 Biology Graduate Student Association (BGSA) department potluck.

 January 2014 Events

  • January 29 Wednesday seminar: Dr. Shawn Meagher - WIU.  Host specificity in "white grub," a flatworm parasite of game fishes.


November 2013 Events

  • November 22 Biology Day for high school students.   Registration forms and information.
  • November 20 Wednesday seminar:  Dr. Ana Calvo-NIU.  Advances in global regulation of fungal secondary metabolism. 
  • November 15 Friday seminar: Chris Dunlap-USDA, Peoria. 
  • November 6 Wednesday seminar: BGSA Special Activity - Department Potluck.  

October 2013 Events

  • October 30 Wednesday seminar: Dr. Andrew Miller-INHS - U of I.  Fungal biodiversity studies in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  • October 23 Wednesday seminar: Dr. Phillip Willink-Shedd Aquarium.  Endangered species, invasive species, and aquatic habitats: Conservation of Northern Illinois fishes.
  • October 9 Wednesday seminar: Dr. Kevin Cummings-INHS.  Global diversity of freshwater mussels: The Mussel Project, 10 years and counting.
  • October 2 Wednesday seminar: Special alumnus, Jim Lamer.  Asian carp hybridization: Prevalence, distribution, and post-zygotic success in the Mississippi River basin.

September 2013 Events

  • September 27 Friday seminar: Dr. Patricia Kelley-UNC-Wilmington. Evolution and creation: Conflicting or compatible?
  • September 25 Wednesday seminar:  Jason Willand-SIU (alumnus special speaker).  Ecological restoration in the 21st century: Lessons from the past and directions for the future.
  • September 20 Friday seminar:  Jun Wang-Hunan Normal University, Changsha, China. Distant hybridization in fish.
  • September 19 Thursday seminar: Kenny Kusimba-WIU grad student.  Wildlife behavior in urban-rural Chicago, IL, Cook County.
  • September 11 Wednesday seminar:  Dr. Thomas H Alton-WIU.  What I (had been; am now, and hope to be) thinking about in biology.
  • September 4 Wednesday seminar: Dr. Shawn Meagher-WIU.Thinking like a scientist: A historical perspective.

August 2013 Events

  • August 28 Wednesday seminar: Dr. John Pearson-DNR.  Savoring and saving nature: My career in applied ecology.

May 2013 Events

  • May 1 Wednesday seminar: Meshack Afitlhile-WIU. The role of Arabidopsis thaliana Toc159 gene family in the synthesis
    and desaturation of glycerolipids.

April 2013 Events

  • April 17 Wednesday seminar: Ken McCravy-WIU. Terrestrial Invertebrate Research: The First Ten Years
  • April 10 Wednesday seminar: Jeff Engel-WIU. Dynamics of the startle response of flies. 
  • April 5 Friday Student Research Day. Keynote Speaker: Jessica Whitham – Brookfield Zoo. 
    The Road to Animal Welfare Research: From Grunts to Greetings to Great Well-Being.
  • April 4 Thursday Student Research Symposium talk 3:00 PM:  Dr. May Berenbaum - University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. 
    Sex and the Single Parsnip: Coping with Florivores and Pollinators in Two Hemispheres.
    April 4, Thursday, 7:00 PM, Lecture, Sandburg Theater.  Dr. Berenbaum
    - Honey Bees in America: State of Affairs
    and Affairs of State.

March 2013 Events

  • March 1: Secondary Science Education Conference
  • March 20 Wednesday seminar: Kevin Johnson-INHS. The tree of lice: The history of host-parasite coevolution
  • March 6 Wednesday seminar: Michael Bowman – USDA. Analysis of Biofuel Feedstock Oligosaccharides to Develop Improved Enzymatic Treatments

February 2013 Events

  • February 20 Wednesday seminar: Donald Wicklow – USDA. Fungal Metabolites Supporting Symptomless Infection and Survival
    in Maize.
  • February 13 Wednesday seminar: Graig Cady - Bradley University. Progress Towards A Cell Based Therapy For Ovarian Cancer.
  • February 6 Wednesday noon seminar: Jonathan Breitenbach –USDA. Insect Virology:  Understanding and Applying 300 Million Years of Biological Brinksmanship

January 2013 Events

  • January 30 Wednesday noon seminar: Jennifer Jost - Bradley University. AMPK activity as an indicator of seasonal
    temperature acclimation in the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha
  • The Axon Volume 8 issue 2 has been released. This is essential information for all students. Read it here!
  • Classes resume January 14! Welcome back, students!


December 2012 Events

  • Jim Lamer coauthored (Guoqing Lu, Michael Wachholtz, Xiaolin Liao, James Lamer, Chenghui Wang) a poster presentation
    at the International Society of Computational Biology conference in Shenzhen, China, "Linking transcriptomes of silver carp
    and bighead carp to their growth and feeding habits."
  • Congratulations to Josh Abel (advised by Dr. Sean Jenkins)! Josh successfully completed his master's final oral exams and
    Josh was accepted into the PhD program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He will be working under the supervision
    of Dr. Michael Lydy. He will be studying the ecological influences of two compounds found in corn/soybean herbicides (atrazine and sulfentrazone) on aquatic ecosystems in watersheds.
  • Congratulations to all our seniors who are graduating at the end of the fall semester. We're proud of you!
  • An update from former graduate student Bryan Thompson: "I have been accepted for admission into the UNL DPH program
    for the Summer 2013 term." Bryan has been teaching at Lake Land Community College, and said he has both enjoyed it and
    is looking forward to working on his Ph.D. 

November 2012 Events


  • The University webpage ran a story about Dr. Ribbens and his cactus research:
  • At the 36th annual Scholar's Recognition Banquet, the following biology students received awards:Congratulations to Tabitha Williams for receiving a Mentor Student Travel Awards. This is a national award from the Mycological Society of America. 
    • Jeff Liles -- Mary Bennett Award
    • James Scott Zweep -- R.M. MeyersAward
    • R. A. Henricson -- H.D. Waggoner Award
    • There was a tie for R.M. Sallee, so we issued 2 awards last yearScott Valenta -- Jean S. and Roger M Morrow Award
      • Reagan Hamm -- R.M. Sallee Award
      • Julia R. Zaksheske -- R.M. Sallee Award
    • Antonio D. Rosales  --  Samuel L. Singer Award
    • Jordan Lee Liles -- P. James Nielsen Award
    • Jeffery P. Woodyatt -- George Ward Award
    • Morgan A. Fry -- Mary McCutcheon Award
    • Jeffery P. Liles also received the Biology Departmental Scholar -- awarded to the top graduating senior in the Biology Department based on GPA, credit hours, and college involvement.
  • Congratulations to Lynnaun Johnson for his John W. Rippon Research Award. This is a national award from the Mycological Society of America. Tabitha and Lynnaun are students of Dr. Porras-Alfaro.
  • Congratulations to master's student Jeff Noland, who was accepted into a Ph.D. program at the University of Kentucky in Entomology.
  • vecchi It is always good to hear from former students! Katherine Vecchi has accepted a full-time position as an elephant keeper/handler at Grants Farm in St. Louis. She wrote "My boss informed me whenever I was hired that my graduate certificate and especially some of the classes that I took at Western made me one of the top candidates for the position right off the bat. So I truly appreciate all of your guidance and help, I think that you and WIU have really helped me achieve my  goals."  You can send her a note of congratulations at (Pictured at right  with one of her charges).
  • Brian Peer is giving several presentations this month:
    • He will give a plenary November 3 at the Quebec Society for the Study of Biological Behaviour at the University of Montreal titled: "The Role of Parasites on Animal Behavior: An Avian Brood Parasite Perspective".
    • He will be presenting two papers at the International Symposium on Avian Brood Parasitism - in Honour of Significant Brood Parasitism Scientists in Hainan, China, Nov 15-19, 2012: 
    • Peer, BD, JW Rivers, and SI Rothstein. Cowbirds, Conservation, and Coevolution: potential misconceptions and directions for future research.
    • Rothstein, S. I. and B. D. Peer. New and old directions in the study of brood parasitism: from Herbert Friedmann to modern phylogenetics.

October 2012 Events

  • Publications:Jim Lamer gave a presentation to the Warsaw boy scouts at the Kibbe station on poisonous plants and venomous reptiles of Illinois.
    • Dubina, K.M., and Brian D. Peer. Egg pecking and discrimination by female and male Brown-headed Cowbirds. In press
      in Journal of Ornithology.
    • MusserRichard O., Sue Hum-Musser, Henry K. Lee, Brittany L. DesRochers, Spencer A. Williams, and Heiko Vogel. 2012. Caterpillar labial salivy alters tomato plant gene expression. Journal of Chemical Ecology.
    • Ribbens, Eric, and Henry Fieldseth. 2012. Opuntia fragilis in Minnesota. Cactus and Succulent Society Journal 84:250-254.

  • Congratulations! Five graduate students have received Graduate Student Research and Professional Development awards.
  • Kibbe Station Tour: Botany 200 FYE  fye

 September 2012 Events

  • Dr. Susan Romano gave an invited presentation at a state conference: Past, Present, and Future of the Upper Mississippi
    River Floodplain Forest" Illinois Native Plant Society, September 21, 2012, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL.
  • Dr. Porras-Alfaro organized the 2012 Alexander H. Smith Lake States Foray at the Alice L. Kibbe Field Research Station. September 21-23th, 2012. 61 people attended the activity.
  • Jim Lamer gave a live reptile and amphibian presentation for the second grade class at the Lincoln grade school in Macomb
    and a talk for the Natural Resources class at the West Hancock high school.
  • Dr. Porras-Alfaro and students delivered several presentations at the September meeting of Future of LTER Fungal/Bacterial Environmental Genomics Studies.
    • Sharon A. Cantrell, LUQ; Andrea Porras-Alfaro, SEV-WIU; Don Natvig, SEV and Lee Taylor, BNZ. Co-Organized a Symposium at the LTER All Scientist Meeting in Estes Park, Co. 43 people attended the activity.
    • Porras-Alfaro A. 2012. Fungal plant-systems: Sevilleta fungal communities and new tools of analysis. Oral Presentation. LTER All Scientist Meeting in Estes Park, C0 Sept 9-14.
    • Raghavan S, Tobias T, Lowrey T, Garcia M, Porras-Alfaro A. 2012. Potential Roles of Gypsophilic fungal endophytes at the Sevilleta LTER. LTER All Scientist Meeting in Estes Park, C0 Sept 9-14.
    • Gossage ZT, Redfern J, Ford P, Pockman W, McDowell N, Natvig D. 2012. Isolation of Fungi from Healthy and Blue-Stain Infected Piñon at the Sevilleta LTER.
    • Porras-Alfaro A, Natvig DO, Sinsabaugh R, Herrera J. 2012. Soil and endophytic fungal associations with grama at the Sevilleta LTER.
    • Sandona K, Natvig DO, Powell A, Hutchinson M, Gossage Z, Porras-Alfaro A. 2012. Thermophilic Fungi in Biological Soil Crust at the Sevilleta LTER.
    • Tobias T, Gossage Z, Tuter J, Musser R, Sinsabaugh R, Suding K, Porras-Alfaro A. 2012. Plant-fungal interactions:
      Niwot endophytic diversity and function.
  • bassWIU Fishing Club held a bass fishing tournament September 26: fishing club  - Bass Tour photo -


August 2012 Events

  • Check out the greenhouse blog for pictures of the Wetzel implosion!
  • Publications:
    • Odenbach, K., M. Spilde, Andrea Porras-Alfaro, and A. Nyberg, 2012. Northup D. fungal communities associated with rock varnish in Black Canyon, NM: Casual inhabitants or essential partners? Geomicrobiology Journal 29:752-766.
    • Platt, Terry, and Eric Ribbens. 2012. A diet to die for: An exploration of oxidative phosphorylation. Published in
      The National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science Case Study Collection.
    • Weber, C.F., M.M. Balasch, Z. Gossage, Andrea Porras-Alfaro, and C.R. Kuske. 2012.Soil fungal cellobiohydrolase
      I Gene (cbhI) composition and expression in a Loblolly Pine plantation under conditions of elevated atmospheric CO2
      and nitrogen fertilization. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 78:3950-3957.
  • Dr. Porras-Alfaro was interviewed for two radio broadcasts:
    Dr. Tim Spier gave a presentation at a meeting: VanMiddlesworth, T. D., G. Sass, T. W. Spier, and B. A. Ray. Relative abundance and feeding habits of bowfin, spotted gar, and largemouth bass at the Emiquon Preserve and Reelfoot Lake:
    Can native fish species control invasive common carp? American Fisheries Society National Meeting, Minneapolis, MN.
    • Interview - Radio Program for the American Society of Microbiology. MicrobeWorld (El Mundo de los Microbios)
      Episode 91.
    • Faculty Spotlight - The Source - Andrea Porras-Alfaro. Office of Sponsored Projects Publication at WIU
  • Jim Lamer gave a presentation at a meeting: Lamer, James T.; Sass, Greg G.; Epifanio, John M.; Ruebush, Blake; Tobias, Terri; and Mike M. McClelland.  Asian Carp Hybridization: Prevalence, Distribution, and Fitness in the Mississippi River Basin August 22, 2012. Oral presentation at the American Fisheries Society Meeting (St. Paul, MN).
  • Dr. Porras-Alfaro and her students gave presentations at various meetings:
    • Mycological Society of America, July 14-19, 2012. Yale University, New Haven. 
      • Effect of nitrogen pollution on root fungal endophyte communities from two co-dominant alpine tundra plants
        at Niwot, LTER. 
      • In search for a function: Endophytic fungi in the alpine tundra and their effect on cultivated plants.
      • Vertically transmitted endophytes from plants in the alpine tundra.
      • Morphological, physiological and molecular characterization of different strains of Geomyces.
      • Comparison of fungal communities associated with different bat species in Southern Illinois.
      • Estimating fungal contributions to nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from nitrogen fertilized grasslands using
        tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy.   
      • Root-associated fungi of Geum rossii and Deschampsia cespitosa at the Niwot LTER site.
      • ITS and LSU automated classification: the fungal RDP naive Bayesian classifier.
      • Description of mycobiomes associated with three species of bats in Illinois.
    • Hughes, K.J., Buecher, D., Caimi, N., Young, J.M., Norhup, D.E., Andrea Porras-Alfaro. Microbial Ecology Backdrop
      for White Nose Syndrome: Gaining Understanding from Bat Microbiota and Cave Microclimates. National Speleological Society Meeting, 69th NSS Convention, Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia, USA. June 23-27, 2012
    • Hicks, S., Farrer, E., Sinsabaugh, R.L., Suding, K.N., Andrea Porras-Alfaro. Root endophyte communities are affected by nitrogen differentially in two-co dominant alpine tundra plants from Niwot, LTER.  Ecological Society of America
      97th Annual Meeting, August 5-10, Portland, USA.
  • Jim Lamer co-organized a 3 day turtle workshop to Iowa Department of Conservation fisheries biologists at Iowa State University in Ames, IA to teach identification, marking techniques, and database management to standardize turtle
    assessment over the entire state of Iowa.