The department has teaching and research interests in many aspects of Biology from the cellular and molecular level to organismal to global ecological and conservation issues

Saturday, January 29, 2011

SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award

Congratulations to Professor Mark Butler who this past week was recognized as one of the SCHEV outstanding faculty for 2011.  See the full ODU story here.  His hard work and dedication is appreciated as evidenced by this award and the numerous others he has had over the years. For more information about Dr Butler's research check out his web page.
Brief Bio provided by Mark Butler:
Mark Butler is Professor and Eminent Scholar in the Department of Biological Sciences at Old Dominion University, where he teaches marine ecology and biostatistics and has been a faculty member since 1989.
Professor Butler received the Hirschfield Award for Faculty Excellence and the "Most Inspirational Faculty" Award from the ODU College of Sciences. His dedication to science education has attracted the attention of the National Science Foundation, which has appointed him to numerous review panels to select the recipients of various institutional science education grants, as well as graduate research fellowships for the nation's top doctoral students.  
An internationally known marine biologist, Professor Butler has published more than 100 scientific articles and book chapters, and has been awarded more than 50 grants totaling over $8 million, many being prestigious grants from the National Science Foundation.  He has two current NSF grants: one exploring the effects of fishing and climate change on disease in Virginia's blue crabs; the other uses Caribbean lobsters as a model system for understanding how pathogen dispersal in the sea influences disease dynamics. He also spearheads a community-based project to restore sponge-dominated hard-bottom habitat in the Florida Keys.
Among other professional service activities, Professor Butler has been an advisor to fishery management agencies in Florida, the Caribbean, Australia, and the Galapagos Islands and has trained coral reef managers in Mesoamerica.  In 2008, he co-authored a policy brief for the United Nations on improving coastal marine management and last year led a conservation assessment of lobsters worldwide. Here in Virginia, he has served on the Blue Crab Scientific Task Force and is a member of the Suffolk Wetlands Board.
"My students and I get wet and dirty when studying marine ecology and I wouldn't have it any other way", writes Professor Butler. "Few will become marine biologists. Yet, whatever careers they pursue, I want to help them gain a truer understanding of how knowledge is generated and hope they become more responsible stewards of our watery, blue planet."
Professor Butler received a B.A. at Wittenberg University, an M.S. at Ohio State University, a Ph.D. at Florida State University.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fish Disease in the Chesapeake Bay

DAVID GAUTHIER, assistant professor of Biological Sciences recently received funding from NOAA (Chesapeake Bay Office) and Virginia Sea Grant, through Virginia Institute of Marine Science, for his study “Quantifying the interactive effects of hypoxia, temperature, and mycobacteriosis on striped bass (Morone saxatilis) ; their impact on the energetics and ecology of these fish."

Dr Gauthier is working as part of a collaborative team with faculty at VIMS (Richard Brill, Mary Fabrizio, Wolfgang Vogelbein, Dominique Lapointe) to study the synergistic effects of hypoxia, temperature, and mycobacteriosis on the physiology of striped bass.  Hypoxic "dead zones" occupying Chesapeake Bay through much of the summer are thought to be a potential stress factor leading to development of disease due to Mycobacterium spp. in Chesapeake Bay striped bass, and disease, in turn, may exacerbate physiological stress due to hypoxia or increased temperatures.  With this funding they will be studying the physiological responses of striped bass to increased temperature and decreased dissolved oxygen, and will be examining how disease status affects these responses.  Work will be conducted at the state-of-the-art Seawater Research Laboratory at VIMS.  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tick expert gets recognized by insect society

The Governing Board of the Entomological Society of America in 2010 elected ten new Fellows of the Society. Among them, Daniel Sonenshine, Old Dominion University professor emeritus and eminent scholar of biological sciences.  The election as a Fellow to the society acknowledges Dan’s outstanding contributions to the study of ticks. The fellows were recognized at the ESA Annual Meeting in December 2010. Two years ago Dan was recognized by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene with the Hoogstraal Medal for outstanding lifelong service in medical entomology.
Dan Sonenshine retired from the Biology departments teaching faculty in 2002, after 41 years of service to ODU. Since that time he has remained active in his research program.  After years of field work and physiological studies, he has moved down to the molecular level. Among his latest pursuits are studies of the innate immunity of ticks, the molecular biology of tick reproduction, and tick neuropeptides.  
Dr Sonenshine has published over 200 referred articles in various scientific journals, various monographs and book chapters. However, it is his two volume book set “The Biology of Ticks” that he is probably best known for; although published in 1992-93 it is still the bible for all aspects of tick biology including anatomy, ultrastructure, physiology and tick-borne diseases. He is currently working on an updated version with his close colleague Michael Roe from North Carolina State University; this is expected to be published in 2013.
When he ‘retired’ Dr Sonenshine wanted to make sure he had something to do, working in the lab 8hours a day was not enough….In 2010 under the guise of pseudonym Dan Ailey he branched out of just scientific writing into the realm of Sci-Fi writing when he published Extinction: The Ultimate Holocaust. The Plan to Exterminate Humanity.