I think on some level I've wanted to be an ecologist since before I could speak, so when I got to Rutgers I already knew what I wanted to do. I've loved my time studying ecology here ever since my first classes. Learning about the natural world, its inhabitants, and its processes has proved even more fulfilling than I could've hoped. Additionally, having the opportunity to participate in an abundance of research has been wonderful. I began my ecology research career my sophomore year working with Dr. Malin Pinsky studying size-fecundity relationships in female yellowtail clownfish. That summer I worked with PhD student Laina Lockett on a survey of frog species at various NJ ponds and wetlands. My junior year I worked with Dr. Ariel Kruger studying the impact of predators on Pine Barrens tree frog tadpole morphology.
Finally, this past year I had the opportunity to do a George H. Cook Honors Thesis with Dr. Henry John-Alder. I investigated possible ecological predictors of inter-individual variation in chigger mite load of eastern fence lizards in the Pine Barrens. After a full summer of collecting data with a Dr. John-Alder and a team of wonderful undergraduates and a year of data analysis, my results proved robust. I found that lizards that spent more time in a certain habitat type, characterized by pine saplings, open canopy, fallen logs, and moss, had significantly higher mite loads than those that did not, and I was even able to build a predictive model for mite load of lizards based on this relationship. This summer I am continuing my research experiences by going to California to work on Dr. Sarah Bisbing of UNR's Adaptive Forest Management Experiment. I am eternally grateful for my time in the EENR program at Rutgers. All of my courses, professors, classmates, and friends have been wonderful. Thank you.
Murray Buell was born in New Haven and graduated in 1930 from Cornell. In 1935 he earned a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Buell came to Rutgers in 1946 and stayed there until 1971. His wife, Helen Foote Buell, with whom he worked, earned her Ph.D. in phycology at the University of Minnesota. Rutgers scientists, especially Buell, trained in the Chicago school, did a great deal to help establish botanical ecology for the NYC vicinity during the 1960's. During his 25 years at Rutgers he had thirty-nine graduate students earn their Ph. D. under his mentoring. Along with his wife and Rutgers colleague Dr. John Alvin Small, Buell set up the Buell-Small Succession Study of the Hutcheson Memorial Forest in 1958. The fields are still used for research. Dr. Buell became the first director of the Hutcheson Memorial Forest and co-founded the Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution.