Research News

Holden Research Welcomes Na Wei

January 2020 – The Research Department is excited to welcome our new staff Scientist, Na Wei. Na’s research investigates the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that confer plant adaptation to the environment and focuses on the interactions between plant phenotype, genotype, and environment. More information about Na’s research can be found here.

The Medeiros Lab Welcomes Weijia Xie

November 2019 – The Medeiros Lab welcomes Weijia Xie, PhD student at the Yunnan Flower Research Institute and Yunnan Agricultural University, to complete a one-year visiting scholar position. Weijia will investigate the relationship between leaf heat tolerance and floral traits of Rhododendron species in the Holden Arboretum collections. Weijia will also work with Dr. Jean Burns of Case Western Reserve University to learn phylogenetic comparative data analysis techniques.

Picture of Weijia by a Rhododendron

Holden Researcher Teaches Lab at Lake Erie College

December 2019 – Holden Research Associate, Sarah Kyker, was recently invited to Lake Erie College (LEC) as a guest lab instructor for Dr. Deborah Schulman’s Microbiology class. Over three weeks, the LEC students extracted total DNA from soil samples, used an established biotechnology method called Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to amplify bacterial species living in the soil, and learned how to collect and analyze the data with the widely used software package R. The results of the study are on the screen in the picture below. The analyzed soil samples are being used to compare new and old growth forests at Holden, however the techniques that the students learned can be used to analyze communities of microbes living anywhere, including in and on the human body.

Dr. Deborah Schulman and Dr. Sarah Kyker pictured with the PCR results produced by the Microbiology students.

Holden Highlighted in a Science News Article

Nov. 14, 2019 – Science magazine ran an article about the mysterious beech leaf disease and the scholars that are helping elucidate a cause. Holden Scientist and Vice President for Science and Conservation, David Burke, is one of these scholars. Burke, along with Holden Research Specialist Adam Hoke, worked on a greenhouse study where nematodes were added to leaves of beech trees and then monitored for symptoms. Currently, the nematode species Litylenchus crenatae, is the best candidate for the cause of the beech leaf disease. The article, by Gabriel Popkin, can be accessed here.

Holden Arboretum Selected as a Landslide 2019 Site

Nov. 6, 2019 – Holden Arboretum has been selected as a featured site in the Landslide 2019: Living in Nature program. For 2019, this program highlights climate change and its threats to our natural world. Holden was selected as our natural areas and collections highlight the threat that climate change poses to our natural world. The work also helps to highlight our ongoing climate change research and work as a leader in environmental stewardship. More information about the Landslide 2019 program can be found here.

Holden Researchers Publish Paper on the Long-Term Influences on Soil Fungi

Oct. 10, 2019 – In a study by Holden Scientists David Burke and Sarah Kyker, with CWRU Professor Jean Burns, soil fungi in Stebbins Gulch were profiled over five years. Monthly soil collections were made between 2006 and 2011 at three soil depths for a total of 1080 soil samples. Interestingly, air and soil temperature had little effect on the fungal taxa found at each time point. Instead, fungi were strongly influenced by soil chemistry, especially phosphorus availability and soil moisture.  This highlights the fact that climate change could have a greater effect on soil fungi if climate change alters precipitation and soil moisture rather than just temperature. The article was published in the October issue of the journal Ecosphere and can be accessed for free here.

David Burke sorts bags for soil collection on a snowy collection day in February 2007.  A picture of one of the six long-term plots in Stebbins Gulch in December of 2006.  Sarah Kyker collects a soil core under snow cover in January of 2010.

Left: David Burke sorts bags for soil collection on a snowy collection day in February 2007. Middle: A picture of one of the six long-term plots in Stebbins Gulch in December of 2006. Right: Sarah Kyker collects a soil core under snow cover in January of 2010.

Public Gardens and Their Importance for Ecological Research Highlighted at National Scientific Meeting

Aug. 12, 2019 – The importance of arboreta and public gardens for ecological research has been gaining awareness within the scientific community. This was the topic for an Inspire session organized by Holden Forests & Gardens Scientist Katie Stuble for the 2019 Ecological Society of America meeting held in Louisville, Kentucky. Research at Holden Arboretum was presented in this session, as well as research from the Morton Arboretum, Denver Botanical Gardens, Chicago Botanic Garden, and the Dawes Arboretum. A list of the speakers, along with a description of the session, can be found here.

Important Discovery in David Burke’s Lab Makes National News

Aug. 9, 2019 – David Burke and members of the Burke lab, along with collaborators, discovered that Beech Leaf Disease (BLD) is likely caused by a nematode. BLD was first detected in Lake County in 2012 and is characterized by interveinal thickening and darkening of leaf tissue in American beech trees. WKSU’s Jeff St. Clair talked to David and others for a story about BLD that aired on National Public Radio. You can listen to Jeff’s story here.  The Burke lab, along with collaborators including the USDA Forest Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are continuing to study BLD in an effort to stop its spread.

Comparing healthy and diseased American beech leavesDavid Burke

Summer Interns Present Research at the SEARCH Symposium

Aug. 2, 2019 – Interns from the Research Department wrapped up their summer by presenting their summer research projects at the 4th annual Symposium for Ecological Research (SEARCH). Twenty two students presented their summer research to attendees that ventured to the Cleveland Botanical Garden from across Northeast Ohio, including university and college professors and HF&G members. In addition to HF&G interns, interns from Kent State University, the University of Pittsburgh, Cleveland State University and Ohio Northern University also presented at the symposium.

Holden intern, Raphaella Mascia, and Research Specialist, Jessica Miller, enjoying the SEARCH symposium.Holden intern, Emily Galloway, explains her summer research project.

Katie Stuble Selected to Serve on SESYNC Committee

Katie Stuble at the Holden Arboretum research plots.

The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), which is operated by the University of Maryland and funded by the National Science Foundation, has selected Holden Scientist Katie Stuble to serve on their Scientific Review Committee. SESYNC brings together the science of the natural world with the science of human behavior and decision-making to find solutions to complex environmental problems. SESYNC convenes science teams to work on broad issues of national and international relevance, such as water resources management, land management, agriculture, species protection, among other areas of study.

 

National Science Foundation Grant Awarded to Juliana Medeiros

June 2019 – Holden  Forests & Gardens Scientist Juliana Medeiros has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), along with her collaborators David Ward at Kent State University, Sarah Supp at Denison University, and Gil Bohrer at Ohio State University. The funded project focuses on eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), which is a native species but is becoming invasive in many grassland regions due to human modification of the environment and climate change. One goal of the project is to gather information to better predict where red cedar is likely to expand its range and become invasive. Researchers on the project will present the science of the project to K-12 students as part of HF&G’s Working with Nature Camp and to members of its Tree Corp adult workforce development program. Research on this project will begin in 2020.

New Paper on Microbial Influences during Restoration

Holden intern collects tulip poplar leaves.
Holden Intern, Rachel Reeb, collects tulip poplar leaves at Acacia Reservation.

May 3, 2019 – The importance of soil microorganisms for restoration of degraded lands is a topic of current interest within the scientific community. Andrew Lance, who is a CWRU graduate student conducting portions of his research at Holden’s Long Science Center, recently published a study about the restoration efforts at Acacia Reservation in the journal Restoration Ecology. This publication, which included Holden Scientist David Burke, Constance Hausman of the Cleveland Metroparks, and Holden Adjunct Scientist and CWRU professor Jean Burns, details how whole soil transfers and colonization with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi affected the performance of tulip poplar and black cherry tree saplings at Acacia.

Lance AC, Burke DJ, Hausman CE, and Burns JH. Microbial inoculation influences arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi community structure and nutrient dynamics in temperate tree restoration. Restoration Ecology 27 (5):1084-1093.

Juliana Medeiros Hosts the Local Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society for a Fun and Educational Rhododendron Weekend

Satsuki Azalea flowersMay 25 and 26, 2019 – A meeting of the Great Lakes Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society was held at the Holden Arboretum and hosted by staff scientist, Juliana Medeiros. This event was open to the public and featured guided tours of Holden’s rhododendron collections, self-guided rhododendron collections audio tours, a truss (flower) show, a landscape exhibit showcasing small rhododendrons for patios, a planting station with hands-on activities and literature on how to grow rhododendrons in Northeast Ohio, and a plant giveaway with 400 rhododendrons given away. In addition, there were two public talks, one on rhododendron research by Medeiros and another about citizen science by Nick Yarmoshouk and Christine Thompson from Niagara Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society.

The Research Department Welcomes Connor Ryan

April 29, 2019 – Connor Ryan has joined the Research Department as the Rhododendron Collections Manager. Connor recently received his master’s in horticulture from the University of Georgia. He will oversee the rhododendron collection at the David G. Leach Research Station and continue the established breeding program to develop superior rhododendrons.

Conor Ryan

Northeast Ohio Institutions, Including Holden Arboretum, Form an Educational and Research Bioalliance

April 16, 2019 – Researchers from the Holden Arboretum, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Case Western Reserve University have teamed up to form a Bioalliance. The goal of the Bioalliance is to foster collaborative research and increase educational opportunities in biology, ecology, evolution, and environmental science in Northeast Ohio.

Members of the Bioalliance on the Kalberer Emergent Tower at Holden Arboretum

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