Contents
Cal Poly Pomona

Research-in Environmental Biology

Student Projects

 
Student presentations and publications
Ecology of local streams and fishes: Students supervised by Dr. J. Baskin include Kim Kato, a graduate student in the Biological Sciences Department, who is studying impact of off road vehicles on mountain streams with the support of HHMI. Justin Wood, also a grad student, is studying the recovery of a mountain stream from a major flood/storm event, describing the stages and organisms as the stream changes from a barren to a fully developed ecosystem. HHMI undergraduate, Lorena Muro is studying the life history of native stream fishes - feeding, habitat preference and timing of larval stages.

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Glenn Stewart’s students: Herpatology
Mark Massar, "The Role of Female Choice in a Wild Population of the Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)". Richard Toshima, "Mitochondrial DNA-based Phylogeography of the Rubber Boa, Charina bottae (Serpentes: Boidae)".

Projects at the Lyle Center

Bryan Reese, another student working with Dr. Carlton, is conducting a study of California black walnut regeneration from seedlings, with emphasis on population dynamics and effects of herbivores, disease, and microenvironment on seedling survival and growth.  The Lyle Center is one of three sites for this study.

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Undergraduate Jose Arriaga is working on the diversity of insect pollinators at the Lyle Center with Dr. Joan Leong.

 

Student Projects at the Voorhis Reserve

Francisca Herrera, a graduate student in Biology, is conducting a study of small-scale disturbance effects on the seed bank of a coastal sage scrub under the supervision of Dr. Carlton. Francisca established 80 plots in various locations throughout the Voorhis Ecological Reserve whichshe has been monitoring since January.   With the assistance of more than 30 students and volunteers, she has tracked germination and survival of both native and non-native species, in one of the driest years on record in Southern California. 

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Carolyn Brown, an undergraduate and supervisor Dr. J. Leong are studying the lack of competition for pollinators in Southern California by Centaurea melitensis, an invasive plant species at the Voorhis Reserve.

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Dr. Kristopher Lappin has three students carrying out projects at the Voorhis Reserve: Cassandra Stepp-Bolling, an undergraduate, is working on: "Demographics and Sexual Dimorphism of the Southern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata) on the Cal Poly Pomona Campus"Graduate student, Molly Peters' project: "Spatial Distribution and Demographics of the Pacific Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer) on the Cal Poly Pomona Campus". Par Singhaseni, also a graduate student studies "Demographics, Recruitment, and Diet of the Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) on the Cal Poly Pomona Campus"
biodiesel  

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Current environmental studies involving Dr. Ronald D. Quinn:
Grad student Debbie DeLaTorre: Recovery of rodent communities after chaparral wildfire, San Dimas Experimental Forest, San Gabriel Mountains.

Dr. Joan Leong's graduate student, Shannon Garcia is exploring the predispersal seed predation of Sidalcea malviflora sparsifolia by Macrorhoptus weevils. Marry Jones, also a graduate student working with Dr. Leong, is investigating variation in petal size and nectar rewards in an endangered gynodioecious plant, Sidalcea pedata. Par Singhaseni, is beginning his graduate work with Dr. Leong by exploring the role of insects in the diet of western fence lizards in urban and natural areas. 

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Dr. Leong also has two undergraduates active in research: Jennifer Williams (HHMI Research Apprentice) who is working on pollination dynamics of California Buckwheat, Eriogonum fasciculatum. and Vivian Quesada, a recent graduate, who monitored insect diversity and abundance in coastal sage scrub of the Bernard Field Station.

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Grad student Lazella Lawson: Patterns of forest regeneration among quaking aspen populations following a stand replacing wildfire in the Chiricahua Wilderness, Coronado National Forest, Arizona.
 
Ronald D. Quinn and Mark VonWodtke, Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture. The Acorn Project, community based restoration of Coast Live Oak and Big Cone Douglas Fir woodlands after wildfire in the Claremont Wilderness Park, Claremont, California.

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Microbial Ecology: Dr.Graciela Brelles-Mariño and graduate students Jonathan Joaquin and Daniel Cho are working on the use of gas discharge plasma to destroy bacterial biofilms. These biofilms are ubiquitous, hard-to-destroy bacterial communities that colonize many surfaces and pose environmental and health-related problems.

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Grad student Lorrie A. Burnham, also working with Dr. Brelles-Marino, is characterizing the genetic diversity of soil microorganisms that interact with tropical legume plants forming a symbiotic nitrogen-fixing association. These microbial isolates and their plant counterparts, represent a source of biological diversity in tropical areas and could be potentially useful for bioremediation purposes, production of antibiotics or novel compounds.
  Jeff Nordin, a graduate student in Dr. Carlton's lab is studying the impact of fire on the reptile community in coastal sage scrub.  His study sites are located primarily in Rancho Cucamonga, and he is doing a comparative study of habitat and reptile abundance before and after the fires of 2002.

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Dr. David Moriarty's student, Kevin Ellis,is studying the phylogeography of Merriam's Chipmunk (Tamias merriami) in the mountains of central and southern California. Jill Parsell, also working with Dr. Moriarty, is studying the breeding system and sex ratio of the Yellow-faced Grassquit ( Tiaris olivacea ) in the area of Monteverde, Costa Rica.

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Current environmental studies supervised by Dr. Chris George: Mr. Phillip Thompson’s thesis study, “Species Richness of Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) along a Southern Californian Altitudinal Gradient,” performed in the Angeles National Forest, will enlighten the scientific community in terms of which ant species inhabit this uncharted territory and the altitudes where they are most likely to be found.  His thesis work will play an important role in future conservation decisions regarding land use in southern California.  Mr. Jacob Drainville’s thesis study, “The Molecular Phylogeny of the North American Seed Harvester Ants in the genus Messor Forel (Hymenoptera: Myrmicinae)” involves the use of DNA samples to determine phylogenetic relationships and the evolutionary history of species of Messor.  Occurring in a center of diversity at the Sonoran and Sierra Madre Geoflora interface of southern California, these granivores inhabit primarily undisturbed areas and influence the pattern of plant growth around their nests, thus serving as bioindicators of habitat health.

 

 
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Dr. Chris George's graduate students (continued): Ms. Sarah Cotton’s thesis, “Use of Ceanothus spp. Seeds by the Harvester Ant, Pogonomyrmex subnitidus Emery,” determined the role played by a special appendage on the seeds of two species of Ceanothus occurring in the Angeles National Forest.  The study demonstrated that the appendage enabled these ants to pick up the seed and disperse it away from the parent plant, but did not serve as a caloric reward. Without the appendage, ants could not pick up seeds. Ms. Tina Smith’s thesis, “The Effects of Prescribed Burning on southern California and Chaparral Habitats.”  Her work demonstrated that controlled burns affected the composition of ant communities:  Some opportunistic species were more abundant in chaparral sites and an introduced species appeared in a burned oak woodland/grassland site as a result of burns.Ms. Natasha Walton’s thesis, “Potential of Bats as Predators of Adult Codling Moths, Cydia pomonella, in Pear Orchards in California,” demonstrated that bats were probably a natural predator of codling moths of pear orchards, and could potentially reduce moths without the need for toxic pesticides if more domiciles for bats could be provided to encourage their roosting.