Chelsea Clifford has accepted an offer to enter the PhD program at the Nicholas School as a member of the Heffernan lab. Chelsea is a graduate of Carleton College, has worked on Chesapeake Bay restoration and land use effects in central Florida, and is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Congratulations Chelsea, and welcome to Duke, the River Center, and the Heffernan Lab!
Anna Braswell, PhD student in the lab, has received a grant from the Garden Club of America to support her research on land use history and the structure and resilience of coastal wetlands. Way to go Anna!
Some overdue news prior to the start of the semester:
Last year, the Bernhardt Lab initiated the greatest idea ever - Lab Olympics - and invited your humble PI to serve as assistant judge (under the mentorship of young Hannah Bernhardt). This year, we build on that storied tradition with the first ever inter-lab Lab Olympics. This year's events included the ever-popular Awkward Field Equipment Carry; Ecology Concepts Charades; and Speed Soil and Litter Sampling. Taking Tests for Fun made its debut as a full event after many years as an exhibition event. Participants were drawn from all four River Center labs (Bernhardt, Doyle, Heffernan, and McGlynn), plus the Wright Lab was invited for some reason. The Bernhardt lab played the role of Greece (founding nation) and the Wright lab starred as East Germany (Lab Olympic automatons). The Doyle and McGlynn labs were beset by injuries, pride, and holiday travel plans, so their members defected as dictated by numerical balance. I think that makes the Doyle Lab Cuba, and the McGlynn Lab might be Romania. Sadly, the Heffernan lab was cast in the role of Moldova, plagued by bitter disappoinment at the podium. Your humble PI, in particular, was even more so at the end of the day. Nonethless, a good time was had by all. Full results here.
Megan Fork successfully defended her MS thesis on June 12, 2012. Megan's thesis, 'Direct and indirect effects of organic matter sources on denitrification in Florida Rivers,' uses natural variation in dissolved organic matter (DOM) to assess the roles of terrestrial and aquatic sources of organic matter as fuels for denitrification. Her research shows that, as terrestrial organic matter becomes more abundant, organic matter actually becomes more limiting to denitrification. This counter-intuitive result reflects two features of terrestrial OM: first, the complex organic molecules that make it up are not very bioavailable. Second, the tea color of complex OM reduces light and therefore primary production within the river. Our previous work in Florida springs has shown that this aquatic productivity fuels a lot of denitrification, so by reducing aquatic productivity, terrestrial OM reduces the amount of bioavailable OM that can drive denitrification.
Megan will officially graduate from FIU's Department of Biological Sciences at the end of the summer, but she is already in Durham looking for another exciting questions to serve as a dissertation topic. Congratulations Megan!
Tim Covino, PhD student of soon-to-be colleague Brian McGlynn, has been awarded an NSF post-doctoral fellowship to work with Emily Bernhardt and I at Duke. Tim's dissertation developed the use of pulsed solute additions to streams to assess nutrient uptake kinetics, and his post-doctoral work will expand the application of these approaches to new systems and new ecological questions. Congratulations Tim and welcome aboard!
This is the homepage of the Heffernan Lab at Duke University. Here you can find all sorts of information about our research, teaching, and outreach. If you have any questions, contact Dr. Heffernan.
Dr. Jim Heffernan
I am an Assistant Professor in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. My research is focused on the causes and consequences of major changes in ecosystem structure, mostly in streams and wetlands.
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