Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology News

Annual Honors Banquet Recognizes LGBT Advocate, Notable UT Woman

Riechert

At the campus’s annual Honors Banquet last week, Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek celebrated faculty, staff, and students for their accomplishments throughout the past academic year. Joseph Miles, an assistant professor of counseling psychology, received the LGBT Advocate Award. Susan Riechert, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, was named this year’s Notable UT Woman.

Study Finds Crocodiles Climb Trees

An American alligator perches on a tree branch in Pearl River Delta, Mississippi. Photo credit: Kristine Gingras with permission.

When most people envision crocodiles, they think of them waddling on the ground or wading in water—not climbing trees. However, a UT study has found that the reptiles can climb trees as far as the crowns. Vladimir Dinets, a research assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, is the first to thoroughly study the tree-climbing and -basking behavior.

UT Study Finds Market Forces Influence the Value of Bat-Provided Services

Bats returning to Frio Cave near Conan, Texas, in the early morning. Photo Credit: Amy Russell of Grand Valley State University.

Services provided by Mother Nature, such as pest control from insect-eating bats, are affected by market forces like most anything else in the economy, a UT study finds. Researchers from UT and the University of Arizona, Tucson, studied how forces such as volatile market conditions and technological substitutes affect the value of pest control services provided by Mexican free-tailed bats on cotton production in the United States.

Study Offers Clues to How Plants Evolved to Cope with Cold

Researchers at UT have found new clues to how plants evolved to withstand wintry weather. The study suggests that many plants acquired characteristics that helped them thrive in colder climates—such as dying back to the roots in winter—long before they first encountered freezing.

Professor Receives Funding to Research Underground Carbon Cycle Contributors

Carbon dioxide is key to life on Earth, but too much of the good thing can overheat the Earth’s surface and hurt the very things it supports. Thus, understanding how carbon cycles through the atmosphere is crucial to predicting its effects. UT professor Aimee Classen has received more than $880,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy to investigate often-overlooked carbon cycle players.

UT Science Professor (and Poet!) Inducted into Literary Hall of Fame

Arthur Stewart, adjunct professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, will be inducted into the East Tennessee Literary Hall of Fame for poetry on October 10. With the honor, Stewart joins other UT poets who have been inducted—Marilyn Kallet, Arthur Smith, Jeff Daniel Marion, and Linda Parsons Marion.