BMAWT student receives Senior Leadership Award

Congratulations to Devon Brooks (senior in BMATWT, 2008) for being awarded the prestigious Senior Leadership Award. Only a select few student receive this award from various disciplines across campus. Senior Leadership Award The Senior Leadership Award recognizes graduating seniors who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and service to the UMass Amherst community. Award recipients have distinguished themselves through important contributions to student organizations and campus jobs, through academic excellence, and through public and community service....
Read More

Arboriculture & Community Forestry Students become Certified Arborists

Six Arboriculture & Community Forestry students took the Massachusetts Certified Arborist (MCA) exam on April 3rd 2008. Kyle Andrejczyk, Rich Bailey, Max Ford-Diamond, Peter Haupt, and Rich Mattson all passed the exam to become MCA's. The MCA is a voluntary certification program initiated in 1957. Since the program¹s inception, more than 800 tree care professionals have obtained the MCA designation. The purpose of the MCA program is to enhance the skills and knowledge of Massachusetts arborists, to raise the level of public awareness as to the importance of working with trained professionals, and to provide a means of self-improvement and continuing education for the certified professional. The exam tests an arborist's knowledge a variety of topics including plant health care, tree identification, arboricultural safety, pruning, cabling, tree risk assessment, and transplanting.  ...
Read More

Lynn Adler and Paige Warren receive $450,000 NSF Grant to Study how Urbanization Affects Natural Selection

Ecologists and evolutionary biologists are fundamentally interested in how interactions among organisms influence their distribution, abundance, and evolution. Substantial variation in natural selection has been documented across habitats. The goal of this study is to understand how a ubiquitous form of spatial habitat variation, urbanization, alters patterns of natural selection on a native plant through changes in species interactions. Some of the most rapidly increasing habitats are those dominated by humans. The ecological consequences of land-use change associated with housing development (urbanization) include lower native species diversity, increased density of the remaining species, shifts in community composition, and changes in hydrology and ecosystem function. These ecological changes likely have implications for contemporary selection pressures experienced by native species. Plants interact simultaneously with myriad visitors, including mutualists (such as pollinators) as well as antagonists (such as herbivores, florivores, and nectar robbers). Both mutualists and antagonists have been implicated in the evolutionary diversification of host plants via selection on attractive and defensive traits....
Read More

Kevin McGarigal has been awarded a $750,000 NSF grant to develop a system of tracking wildlife using digital photography

Excerpted from UMass News Office AMHERST, Mass. - The ability to identify and monitor individual animals in their environment can be critical for studying things like migration patterns or habitat use, but traditional tracking devices can be invasive and some populations are just too large to track easily. Now University of Massachusetts Amherst scientists are developing computer vision technology that will allow for quick identification of individual animals using digital photographs. Much like facial pattern-recognition programs used by the FBI, the software will use complex algorithms to identify each individual's unique features and automatically catalog them. The work could provide a valuable tool for managing endangered species and for basic ecological research. The National Science Foundation has awarded UMass Amherst's Kevin McGarigal $750,000 to develop the technology with former UMass Amherst graduate student Sai Ravela, who is now a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. McGarigal discovered the need for this technology through his study of threatened...
Read More