Issue 1: November/December 2010

November/December  2010  
Issue 1 

Birthday Bugs!

Jennifer Liebig: November 30

Angela Larsen:
December 10

Bug Bites:

"You just might be a grad student if..."

...5:00 p.m. Friday   means you are now scheduled to work for the next 48 hours.

…you can tell the time of day by looking at the traffic flow at the library.

…you find yourself explaining to children that you're "in the 20th grade."

…you wonder whether APA style allows you to cite talking to yourself as "personal communication." consider caffeine to be a major food group.

  Bug Report!

Please e-mail
any questions, comments, or ideas to Christina at:

We look forward to hearing from you!



Bi-Monthly Newsletter of the GVSU Biology Department for
Graduate Students, Prospective Students, and Faculty. 


Grad Life at Grand Valley
By Rob Slider

At a recent conference I found myself talking to an undergraduate student who was interested in attending graduate school but wasn’t sure where to go. The best advice I could offer was to be sure the school she was considering would be a good fit. Then, being the loyal Laker I am, I offered up three quick selling points for GVSU:

1) Variety: Any given day of the week you could walk into the lab and talk to somebody about anything from walleye to flying squirrels to insects to prairie restoration.

2) Support: GVSU funded my trip to the conference and the research I was presenting on.

3) Cultural Flavor: When you’re not in the lab it’s only a 1 minute walk to the rec. center, 20 minute drive to the beach, or 30 minute bus ride to downtown Grand Rapids.

While the reasons I gave her were all factors that brought me to GVSU, the following things have helped me make the most of my time here:

1) Making connections: you can gain so much by visiting professors, attending seminars,and presenting your work, so get out there!

2) Tagging along: the grad office is a veritable smorgasbord of biological disciplines, so why not get a taste of something new by lending a hand in the field?

3) Exploring campus: the ravines are beautiful and the buildings are chock-full of great study nooks.

4) Eating breakfast: it’s the best meal of the day and there are sure to be others who’re more than willing to join you for skillets at a local diner.

So whether you're a prospective student or current grad, take some time to see what GVSU can do for you!



Megan Cookingham

Expected Date of Graduation: December 2010

Profile: Megan's thesis is focused on analyzing juvenile coho salmon diets in two types of Alaskan streams using stable isotope analysis. By using stable isotopes, she is able to determine which basal energy sources are most important to the juvenile coho salmon, either allochthonous or autochthonous energy. Additionally, she is able to compare how the feeding strategies of the coho salmon differed between the stream types, and what implications that may have on fish fitness and management strategies for salmon rearing streams in Alaska.

Future Plans:
"I am currently working as a lab technician at the University of Maine, School of Marine Sciences. I eventually plan on continuing on to get my PhD and working in fisheries biology at a university or governmental agency."

Jeremy May

Expected Date of Graduation:
December 2010

Profile: Jeremy graduated from GVSU with a Bachelor's degree in Biology in 2008, and has worked in the AEP since the winter of 2007. In addition to his experience in Arctic ecology, Jeremy's undergraduate research background includes two summers of  research on invasive plant species in Michigan. His main interest is investigating how different abiotic and biotic environmental conditions effect how plant communities develop and persist. His master's project is based on continued point framing of established ITEX sites in Barrow and Atqasuk to monitor plant community changes.

Future Plans: "I would like to pursue a PhD after I graduate studying the plant competition. I hope to teach in the long term and to continue studying competition and environmental drivers."

Sheila Miara

Expected Date of Graduation: April 2012

Sheila received her B.S. in Natural Resource Management in 2009 from GVSU and began to pursue her M.S. in Biology with an emphasis in NRM in 2009. She currently has a SCEP wildlife biologist position with the US Forest Service in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in southern Oregon. The SCEP program is a great opportunity for individuals still in school to train in a specific region and they are guaranteed a full-time job when they graduate.

Future Plans:
"I will continue to work and train as a wildlife biologist for the US Forest Service in the summer of 2011 and convert to a full-time wildlife biologist after I graduate in 2012."


PACES: Graduate Student Success Topics:

Wednesday November 3rd
303 C Devos, 4:30 to 6:00 PM
Faculty Perspectives on Conference
Participation and Networking (Panel)

Wednesday November 10th
303 C Devos, 4:30 to 6:00 PM
Conflict Resolution Skills Workshop

Wednesday November 17th
303 C Devos, 4:30 to 6:00 PM
Library Information Workshop

Wednesday December 1st
303 C Devos, 4:30 to 6:00 PM
Poster Presentation Skills Workshop

Biology Seminar Series:

Friday November 5th  
308 Padnos Hall, Noon
Rex Lowe
Bowling Green State University
Beyond the Baas-Becking Hypothesis: Microbial Autotrophs in Hawaii.

Thursday November 11th
308 Padnos Hall, Noon
Karel Rogers
GVSU-emeritus & Karel Rogers LLC
Thinking Green: A biological view of current human social, economic, & environmental issues.

Thursday December 2nd
308 Padnos Hall, Noon
Nick Duesbery
Van Andel Institute
MEK Signaling in developmental and pathologic neovascularization.

AWRI Seminar Series:

Friday November 12th
Lake Michigan Center, Muskegon, 2 to 3pm
Dr. Richard L. Whitman
Research Ecologist/Station Chief
Lake Michigan Ecological Research Station
United States Geological Survey
Seminar title: TBA


  • Lyndsey Adams
  • David Baisch
  • Julie Batty
  • Kathryn Brandt
  • Jessica Brinks
  • Angela Defore
  • Travis Foster
  • Ed Krynak
  • Angela Larsen
  • Kenneth Leister
  • Jennifer Liebig
  • Laurelin Martin
  • Jeremy May
  • Sheila Miara
  • Rebecca Norris
  • Timothy Paver
  • Robert Roos
  • Robert Slider
  • Neal Swanson
  • Hannah Tavalire
  • Jacqueline Taylor
  • Mary Walker



Have questions about a M.S. in Biology? Please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator, Dr. Eric Snyder, at OR check out our website at

Please e-mail all questions or comments regarding B.U.G.S. BUZZ to Christina Helsel, Biology Office Student Assistant, at

Page last modified November 16, 2010