Two AUNE Con Bio Students Win Grants

Dave Janas, a Conservation Biology student in the Department of Environmental Studies, has been awarded a $10,000 grant for his study of the role of high-intensity fire on mycorrhizal fungi communities.

Janas’s project is part of a larger, $1.6 million grant called “The Potential for Restoration to Break the Grass/Fire Cycle in Dryland Ecosystems in Hawaii.” Because tropical dry forest resources in Hawaii and the Pacific are declining rapidly and shrinking habitat for threatened and endangered species, land managers such as the Department of Defense are developing strategies to protect and restore these areas. The study will look at the effects of fire and the invasive grasses that promote it on dry forest communities, and how different restoration techniques can help mitigate those changes.

Janas is working for the U.S. Forest Service along with researchers from California Polytechnic University at Pomona and University of Maryland, at sites mostly within Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii.

Conservation Biology student Erin Hilley was awarded this year’s Cape Cod National Seashore Nickerson Graduate Fellowship for her project, “Myrmecochory and Corema conradii at the Cape Cod National Seashore: Is C. conradii Dispersal Limited Without the Aid of Ants?”

The Joshua A. Nickerson Conservation Fellowship supports individuals whose work will contribute to the knowledge of natural and cultural resources within Cape Cod National Seashore, and the relationships of these resources with local communities.

Both Janas and Hilley are working closely with Dr. Rachel Thiet, core faculty member and director of the master’s program in environmental studies, whose research interests are terrestrial soil ecology, salt marsh plant and soil ecology, salt marsh restoration biogeochemistry, and global environmental change.