Jon Walter ’10 publishes ES Honors Thesis in Forest Ecology and Mangement

Multi-temporal analysis reveals that predictors of mountain pine beetle infestation change during outbreak cycles

Jonathan A. Walter, Rutherford V. Platt

Over the past two decades, severe mountain pine beetle (MPB) outbreaks have affected several million hectares of forest in western North America. The extensive ecological and economic damage caused by widespread insect infestations make understanding the development and spread of MPB outbreaks critical. This study uses a time series of Landsat5 TM and Landsat7 ETM + images to map the spread of mortality due to MPB infestation in Arapaho–Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado, between 2003 and 2010. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and change in the Normalized Difference Moisture Index (NDMI) were used to classify red attack and non-red attack stands based on a maximum likelihood algorithm with manually selected training classes. The classification was validated by comparison with independent interpretations of aerial photography and high-resolution satellite imagery. The classification had good agreement (84.5–90.5% total accuracy). Cluster analysis for time series showed infestations originating in several different locations on the landscape early in the time series and subsequent infestation s likely represent a combination of dispersal from outbreak populations and independent population growth. Analysis using conditional inference trees suggested that a combination of forest composition, topography, and dispersal predicted the distribution of MPB infestation on the landscape and that the importance of these variables changed as the outbreak developed. In early years, red attack was associated with forest and topographic characteristics known to influence susceptibility to MPB. Over time, beetle pressure became an increasingly important predictor of red attack, but in later years host tree availability played an important role in outbreak spread. If this pattern occurs consistently in MPB outbreaks, knowledge of these patterns could aid managers in targeting their efforts to reduce damage resulting from MPB outbreaks.

Link to full text: http://public.gettysburg.edu/~rplatt/Walter%20and%20Platt%20FEM%202013.pdf

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The fall ES400 seminar paper has been published in the Cupola!

Check it out! http://cupola.gettysburg.edu/student_scholarship/58

“Farmers Markets and the Local Food System: The Case of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania”

Paul A. Di Salvo ’13, Claire Quinn ’13, Robin Arnold ’13, Caroline Clark ’13, Suzanne Englot ’13, Andrew Mello ’13, Julia Mitchell ’13, Emily Ruhl ’13, Rebecca Taormina ’13, Cashin Conover ’13, Valerie Leone ’13, Michael Mattaini ’13, William Patton ’13, Elizabeth Rouillard ’13, Nicholas Smith-Herman ’13, Jordan Swenson ’13, Kelly Webster ’13, Brian Wooldredge ’13, and Randall K. Wilson,

ES major scores REU

Hi, ES folks –

Hannah Ehrmann (aka “Underage Hannah”) just found out she got an NSF-REU at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science! Yay!

Hannah will be working with benthic ecologist Prof. Linda Schaffner and grad student Jenny Dreyer on the effects of the invasive clam species Corbicula fluminea (Asiatic Clam) on a tidal river in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Congratulations, Hannah!

John A. Commito

Professor

Environmental Studies Department

Gettysburg College

Gettysburg, PA 17325 USA

Phone: 717-337-6030

Fax: 717-337-8550

E-mail: jcommito

Website: http://public.gettysburg.edu/~jcommito

From: Hannah Ehrmann
Sent: Monday, April 08, 2013 3:53 PM
To: John Commito
Subject: got an REU! wohoo!

Hey Doc,

The internship I got is an REU at Thanks for all your help and support, I couldn’t have gotten this without you!

Thanks,

Hannah

ES students win Best Poster award at conference

More great work by ES students – Paul Di Salvo (class of ’13), Jess Zupancic (’14) and Kalley Hansel (’14) won Best Student Poster award at the PA Wildlife Society conference in State College on 22nd/23rd March. The research was based on field research by Paul, Jess, Maddie Price (’15) and Brittany Jones (‘12) last May (funded by the college and PA Game Commission), and an ES312 class project of Jess and Kalley’s. The poster title was “Status of a PA Endangered Bird – the Upland Sandpiper”.

Well done guys!

Andy

Andy Wilson

Visiting Assistant Professor

Environmental Studies

Campus Box 2455

Gettysburg College

300 N Washington St.

Gettysburg

PA 17325

More ES at Marine Science Conference

PS – I almost forgot!

ES alumna Sara Coleman gave her first conference talk at the Benthic Ecology Meetings, too. She presented the results from her UNC-Chapel Hill M.S. thesis research on oyster predation by blue crabs.

Cool stuff! – J.

John A. Commito

Professor

Environmental Studies Department

Gettysburg College

Gettysburg, PA 17325 USA

Phone: 717-337-6030

Fax: 717-337-8550

E-mail: jcommito

Website: http://public.gettysburg.edu/~jcommito

From: John Commito [mailto:jcommito@gettysburg.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, April 02, 2013 3:32 PM
To: ”; ES_majors_minors_faculty@gettysburg.edu
Subject: ES at Marine Science Conference

Hi, folks –

Just a quick heads-up about ES junior Sondra Winders and recent alums Brittany Jones and Mitchell Jones. Britt and I gave talks with Sondra and Mitchell as co-authors at the annual Benthic Ecology Meetings, held this year in Savannah, Georgia:

Jones, B. R., M. A. Jones, S. E. Winders, and J. A. Commito. 2013. Live mussels and shell hash alter sediment flux and macrofauna and meiofauna dispersal. Benthic Ecology Meetings, Savannah, Georgia.

Commito, J. A., B.R. Jones, M. A. Jones, and S. E. Winders. 2013. Reefer madness: Shell hash expands spatial extent of bivalve reef impacts on ecosystem processes. Benthic Ecology Meetings, Savannah, Georgia.

The talks dealt with research the four of us have been doing since the spring of 2011. They focused on the effects of so-called “ecosystem engineers,” in this case mussel beds, on sediment, animals, and ecosystem processes in coastal Maine.

Britt did a fantastic job – her first talk at an international conference!

ES students rock! – John

John A. Commito

Professor

Environmental Studies Department

Gettysburg College

Gettysburg, PA 17325 USA

Phone: 717-337-6030

Fax: 717-337-8550

E-mail: jcommito

Website: http://public.gettysburg.edu/~jcommito