seeing the forest for the trees
Welcome to the Zanne Lab!
Our research focuses on ecological, evolutionary, and biogeographic determinants of species distributions. We do this by measuring physiological, morphological, and anatomical functional traits across many species. We are located in the Department of Biological Sciences at George Washington University.

Spring 2015
Belated welcome to 2015! Over the second half of 2014, we've focused on writing grants for future projects and writing papers to wrap up past projects. A number of us attended the annual Ecological Society of America meetings in Sacramento, CA. We had various visitors including Oyomoare and Simon Uribe-Convers (who will be working with Keith Crandall, Lucia Lohman, and us on Bignoniaceae and microbial communities). We've had various adventures including whitewater rafting on the American River, hiking Old Rag in the Shenandoahs, and watching the blood red eclipse. We also visited Cara Santelli at the Department of Mineralogy at the National Museum of Natural History. Cara gave us a backstage tour of the blue room! Brad and Amy Z met up with Nathan English and Alex Leotta from James Cook University in Townsville, QLD to core live and dead oak trees around Tyson. Most recently, the lab has made the shift to the new Science and Engineering Hall. We're sitting in close proximity to many of our favorite ecology and evolution colleagues and friends. Please note our new address on the Contact page - and come visit!

Brad got a job!!! In August, he will be relocating to Sarasota, Florida to start as an Assistant Professor at New College of Florida. While there, he's looking forward to carrying the torch for the Zanne lab and introducing many talented students to how wood traits influence the carbon cycle in the classroom and the field. Also, look out for publications from Brad on coarse woody debris movement, vessel length estimation, diameter effects in decay, and tree fall dynamics across the eastern US.

Amy Milo, with the help of our new undergraduate lab member, Abby Carter, is in the process of wrapping up a first round of microcosm experiments to determine how fungal respiration changes after fruiting occurs. With one successful experiment under her belt, she's looking forward to expanding to more species with a wider range of nutritional modes. She is continuing to gather data about fungal fruiting phenology at SERC and hopes to have sequencing data to look at fungal communities in deadwood 4 years after whole tree harvesting from samples collected in Minnesota and Wisconsin last summer. Amy will be attending NAFEW over the summer to participate in a symposium on the importance of deadwood in forest ecosystems.

Last semester, Darcy worked with three GW undergraduate students, Nicole Butler, Neeki Ahmadi, and Laura Bader, who made huge strides toward completing datasets for leaf and fine branch mass loss and wood acidity. Since then, Darcy has been preparing to sequence barcodes of fungal and bacterial communities in the great variety of rotted wood we collected from Tyson in summer 2014. We can't wait to compare the microbial communities we find in our rotplots to those in the samples we collected from naturally recruited coarse woody debris.

This semester, we welcome Abby Carter, a GW senior who spent last semester studying tropical biology in Costa Rica, where she studied predation on fungal fruiting bodies. Now Abby is helping Amy Milo with her work on fungal microcosms.

While still focused on work in China, Luke is beginning to transfer some work and more time back to the US so that he can spend more time on GW's campus with the Zanne lab. Always looking for synergies, Luke may try to figure out ohow root and mycorrhizal traits relate to wood traits and decomposition. Look out for publications on improving definitions and measurements of fine roots, relationships between mycorrhizal fungi and soil carbon, and links between aboveground and belowground plant tissues with detailed measures of spatial root partitioning in a mixed forest in SE China.

Amy Z attended another of the SESYNC working groups on "Macroevolution of Ecosystem Services from Trees" led by Jeannine Cavender-Bares and Steve Polasky and got to work with Will Pearse afterward. Amy really enjoyed her recent trip to Indiana University where she was invited by Meghan Midgley in Rich Phillips's lab to give a departmental seminar. She has been coordinating a special issue of Journal of Ecology entitled "Whether in Life or in Dath: Fresh Perspectives on How Plants Affect Biogeochemical Cycling" with Amy Austin. In fall semester, she taught Field Biology for the first time in DC. The class visited 9 sites in the DC area with 12 local naturalists from across DC (including Darcy and Amy M). Field Biology was a "green" course tied to the DC public transportation system, an adventure of its own. This spring she is teaching her Comparative Plant Structure and Function course. She is particularly proud of Oyomoare and Brad, who have been finishing up projects in the lab and finding jobs.


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