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Friday, February 27, 2015

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    Leopold to Present on Onondaga Lake Restoration

    The March 5 session of Institute for Retired People will feature Dr. Donald Leopold, an ESF Distinguished Teaching Professor and chair of the Department of Environmental and Forestry Biology. He will discuss the many vegetation-based restoration projects at various stages near Onondaga Lake. Leopold has been working with engineers and scientists from O'Brien and Gere, Parsons, and Honeywell for the past 10 years.

    IRP meets from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Syracuse, 5833 East Seneca Turnpike, Jamesville. The meeting is open to anyone in the community who is retired or semi-retired.

    Further information is available at the link above or by calling Sandra at 315-443-5404 or sending an
    email to IRP is a community program of University College of Syracuse University, dedicated to the principle of lifelong learning.


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Dr. Kim Schulz Selected as NCEAS Sabbatical Fellow

Including Nutritional Composition in Aquatic Food Web Studies

Principal Investigator: Kim Schulz

National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis Sabbatical Fellowship

Most people are inundated with nutritional information -- from food pyramid lessons in grade school and fat content on food labels, to health reports on the nightly news. Although we may not follow all the advice, we realize that our health, such as our resistance to disease and optimal athletic performance, is often related not only to the total number of calories that we eat, but also to how well-balanced our diet is, and whether we are getting enough vitamins and nutrients. The food supplement industry capitalizes on the idea that trace sources of specific biochemicals may promote good health.

Animal nutrition research has been done in aquaculture and agriculture, mostly so we can grow our own food animals efficiently, or so that these animals will produce meat that is optimal for human nutrition. Ecologists often focus on how much animals eat, or the species animals prefer to eat. The nutritional composition of their foods is less well-integrated into ecological understanding.

The reliance in ecology on "bulk energy" or "carbon flow" may be misleading and have consequences beyond the purely theoretical. For example, a conservation biologist interested in endangered species protection might consider a minor diet source (in terms of % of diet) relatively unimportant and assign it a low conservation priority level. However, if this food pathway is a major source of essential compounds, its absence from a conservation plan could have dire consequences on the animals that rely on it for good nutrition.

My research will examine the nutrition of some common aquatic animals, their abundance and distribution, to evaluate how important nutritional constraints are in nature. The goal of this research is to gain a better understanding of the role of nutritional composition, and incorporate this knowledge into food web studies for both theoretical and practical purposes.

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