Biology News

Professor Len Reitsma, Zoology

Professor Len Reitsma, Zoology

Len Reitsma, graduate student Sam Parks and undergraduate Autumn Heil just completed Sam’s second and final field season collecting data for his MS in Environmental Science and Policy. Both mainly focused on Sam’s thesis work: response of bird communities to experimental group harvests in Canaan and Lyme, NH. Data collecting combined point count censuses with marking and mapping territories of six target species in Canaan. They also assisted Reitsma in his 18th consecutive year monitoring a population of Canada warblers. Reitsma is also advising Katelyn Courtot on her thesis work looking at habitat overlap between American martens and snowshoe hares. And he is editing graduate student Sierra Marchacos’ thesis on wood turtle habitat use in the North Country, where Katelyn is also focused.

Reitsma also initiated long-term monitoring of the bird community at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science and recently (7-2-20) conducted a bird demonstration on his tree farm to the Canaan Bird and Garden Club.

Recent Publications

Roberto-Charron, A. C., J. Kennedy; L. Reitsma; J. Tremblay; R. Krikun; K. Hobson, J. Ibarzabal and K. C. Fraser. 2020. Widely distributed breeding populations of Canada warbler (Cardellina canadensis) converge on migration through Central America. BMC Zoology 5:10 https://doi.org/10.1186/s40850-020-00056-4

Westwood, A., J. D. Lambert, L. Reitsma, D. S. Stralberg. 2020. Prioritizing Areas for Land Conservation and Forest Management Planning for the Threatened Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis) in the Atlantic Northern Forest of Canada. Diversity: 12, 61; doi:10.3390/d12020061

Associate Professor Brigid O'Donnell, Developmental Biology

Associate Professor Brigid O’Donnell, Developmental Biology

The Beebe River Long Term Environmental Monitoring and Education Project continues on, from its inception in the summer of 2016. Our team consists of graduate and undergraduate students in biology, environmental science & policy, and biochemistry, and several PSU alums. Our work focuses on an integrative view of this watershed – an approach we like to call from genes to GIS.

The Beebe River Long Term Environmental Monitoring and Education Project continues on, from its inception in the summer of 2016. Our team consists of graduate and undergraduate students in biology, environmental science & policy, and biochemistry, and several PSU alums. Our work focuses on an integrative view of this watershed – an approach we like to call from genes to GIS.

We spend each spring/summer season (after the spring semester wraps up) out on the river, working as a multidisciplinary team and partnering with groups outside of PSU.  In the field, we continuously monitor stream temperature and flow, and sample aquatic macroinvertebrates (mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies dominate our samples). Once per month from May until September we use electrofishing to collect wild brook trout with our partners: NH Fish and Game and the Pemigewasset Chapter of Trout Unlimited. During these sampling events, we collect wild brook trout and measure body size, scrape scales to age individuals, clip the small adipose fin of each individual to better create a genetic profile/genotype, and sample gill filaments to assay levels of stress proteins. We are interested in understanding wild brook trout demographics, growth, movement, stress levels, genetic structure, and more with these data. Our aim is to tie together these disparate datasets and bridge across different scales to better understand and protect wild brook trout for future generations.

To learn more about our work – reach out to Brigid O’Donnell at bcodonnell@plymouth.edu or Amy Villamagna at amvillamagna@plymouth.edu

Professor Chris Chabot, Biology Program Coordinator

Professor Chris Chabot, Biology Program Coordinator

Because horseshoe crab blood is used to ensure the sterility of vaccines and because the COVID-19 vaccine is of particular importance to us, the 2019 article has garnered a lot of regional and national interest including interviews for PBS, Quebec Science, and the Union Leader. The recent 2020 article on Biomedical Bleeding is expected to receive a lot of attention as well. His lab is currently investigating The effects of environmental toxins on Horseshoe crab behavior as well as the development of horseshoe crab biological rhythms. While COVID-19 precluded some of the summer activity in the Chabot lab, four undergraduates and a graduate student are returning this week to begin their research on these and other topics in the lab and in the field.

Recent Publications

2020 The relative influence of nature versus nurture on the expression of circatidal rhythms in the American horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus. TN Thomas, WH Watson, C Chabot. MEPS. accepted.

2020, Temperature and salinity preferences of horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus). Helen Cheng, Vilma Vaattovaara, Meghan Connelly, Brianna Looney, Christopher C. Chabot, Winsor H. Watson III. Accepted. Ed John Tancredi. Global Perspectives on Biology, Conservation, and Management of Horseshoe Crabs, Springer Nature. Accepted.

2020, Effects of the biomedical bleeding process on the behavior and hemocyanin levels of the American horseshoe crab, Limulus Polyphemus. Accepted. Fisheries Bulletin. doi: 10.7755/FB.118.3.2

2019, Effects of the biomedical bleeding process on the behavior of the American horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus, in its natural habitat. Meghan Owings, Christopher Chabot, Winsor Watson IIIBiol Bull. 236:203-223.

Recent Grants

2016-2018, $180,000, Biomedical bleeding effects of horseshoe crabs. NOAA, NH SeaGrant.

Contact Us

Christopher C. Chabot
Program Chair
Phone: (603) 535-2864
Email: chrisc@plymouth.edu
Boyd Science Center, Room 210

Marsi Wisniewski
Academic Operations Manager
M-F: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Boyd Science Center, Room 122/124
Email: marsi@plymouth.edu
Phone: 603-535-2325
Fax: 603-535-2723

Mailing Address:
17 High Street, MSC 48
Plymouth, NH 03264