Ashland University Environmental Lecture Series to Focus on Invasive Species

9/15/10 ASHLAND, OH -- Ashland University's 2010-2011 Environmental Lecture Series on "Invasive Species" will open on Sept. 30 when Dr. Don Cipollini, professor of biological sciences and director of the environmental sciences Ph.D. program at Wright State University, will speak on "Garlic mustard: Impacts, mechanisms of invasion, and hope for control."

All four lectures in the series will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium and are free and open to the public.

Cipollini's lecture will discuss how garlic mustard has spread across North America since its founding 140 years ago. This plant has become a notorious invader of forest understories and edges across its invaded range, with several known and potential effects on native ecosystems.

His talk will address some of the mechanisms of invasion used by this plant and their impacts on native plant and fungal communities. While garlic mustard likely benefits from several possible mechanisms, he will present evidence for its ability to use "chemical weapons" to gain an advantage over native species.

Dr. Cipollini received a B.S. and M.S. in biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, followed by a Ph.D. in ecology from Pennsylvania State University. His research focuses on the chemical ecology of host plant defenses to herbivores and pathogens and the ecology and management of invasive plants, with an emphasis on Alliaria petiolata and Lonicera maackii.

He is a past president of the Wright State chapter of Sigma Xi, serves on the boards of the Ohio Plant Biotechnology Consortium and the Ohio Invasive Plants Council, and is an associate editor for the journal, Environmental Entomology.

The second lecture in the series will be held Nov. 18 and will feature Dr. Mary Gardiner, assistant professor of entomology at the Ohio State University - Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, speaking on "Invasive plants, aphids, and lady beetles: an exotic food web impacting Ohio's agricultural landscapes."
Gardiner will address how landscape influences distribution of soybean aphids and also introduce a new program aimed at understanding the link between distribution of buckthorn and soybean aphid across the United States.

The third lecture will take place on March 24 and will feature an address by Dr. Teresa Culley, associate professor of biology at the University of Cincinnati, titled "How plants behave badly: the ecology of invasive pears, buckthorn, and grasses."

Her lecture will deal with how plants can be "well-behaved members of their ecosystem," but can become invasive and have negative effects on surrounding plant life. She will focus on the theory behind invasiveness, and discuss how to effectively handle future invasions.

The final lecture, "Planktonic food webs and Asian carp in Great Rivers and Potential Consequences of an Invasion of the Great Lakes," will be delivered on April 14 by Dr. John Chick, Field Station Director, National Great Rivers Research and Education Center in Brighten, Ill.

The Environmental Lecture Series was established at Ashland University when the Environmental Science Program was implemented in 1991-92. The lecture series is designed to support the Environmental Science Program by allowing students, faculty and members of north central Ohio communities to interact with leaders in the environmental field.  Previous lectures are archived at http://www.ashland.edu/programs/environmental-science/lecture-series .

Ashland University (www.ashland.edu<http://www.ashland.edu>) is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.