Nishanta "Nishi" Rajakaruna

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August 2019

  • Undergraduates Alex Pena, Kevin Tran, and Dylan Stephens present their summer research at the Biological Sciences Department, Frost Summer Research Symposium, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA. (August 23)
  • Paper accepted: Gunarathne, V., A. U. Rajapaksha, M. Vithanage, N. Adassooriya, A. Cooray, S. Liyanage, B. Athapattu, N. Rajakaruna, A. D. Igalavithana, D. Hou, D. S. Alessi, and Y. S. Ok. 2019. Heavy Metal Dissolution Mechanisms from Electrical Industrial Sludge. Science of the Total Environment (in press)

July 2019

  • Nishi teaches a 2-week field botany class on New England plants at College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 2019 

  • Nishi visits Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia to present a seminar on plant evolution on serpentine soils and help Russian colleagues in their organization of the 10th International Conference on Serpentine Ecology to be held in Russia in June 2020. Photos are of visits to serpentinite outcrops in the central and southern Urals of Russia.

 

  • Paper hot off the press:  Paukov, A., A. Teptina, M. Morozova, E. Kruglova, S. Favero-Longo, C. Bishop and N. Rajakaruna. The effects of edaphic and climatic factors on secondary lichen chemistry—a case study using saxicolous lichens. Diversity (PDF)
  • South African research on Ni hyperaccumulator plants is highlighted in Veld&Flora, the quarterly journal of the Botanical Society of South Africa (PDF here)
  • Paper hot off the press: Naikoo, M. I., M. I. Dar, F. A. Khan, F. Raghib, and N. Rajakaruna. Trophic transfer and bioaccumulation of lead along soil – plant – aphid – ladybird food chain. Environmental Science and Pollution Research (PDF)
  • Paper accepted: Paukov, A., A. Teptina, M. Morozova, E. Kruglova, S. Favero-Longo, C. Bishop and N. Rajakaruna. The effects of edaphic and climatic factors on secondary lichen chemistry—a case study using saxicolous lichens. Diversity (in press)
  • Paper hot off the press: Gunarathne, V., N. Rajakaruna, U. Gunarathne, J. K. Biswas, Z. A. Raposo, and M. Vithanage. Influence of soil water content and soil amendments on trace metal release and seedling growth in serpentine soil. Journal of Soils and Sediments (Online Version; PDF)

May 2019

  • Paper accepted: Naikoo, M. I., M. I. Dar, F. A. Khan, F. Raghib, and N. Rajakaruna. Trophic transfer and bioaccumulation of lead along soil – plant – aphid – ladybird food chain. Environmental Science and Pollution Research (in press)
  • Paper accepted: Gunarathne, V., N. Rajakaruna, U. Gunarathne, J. K. Biswas, Z. A. Raposo, and M. Vithanage. Influence of soil water content and soil amendments on trace metal release and seedling growth in serpentine soil. Journal of Soils and Sediments (in press)
  • Nishi’ talk on rock outcrop plants for the CNPS Santa Clara Chapter is found here
  • Mary Devlin, Dylan Stephens, Alex Pena, Kevin Tran, Nicole Argueta, Anthony Ferrero, Peter Walsh, and Zach Raposo present their undergraduate research at the College of Science and Mathematics 2019 Research Conference (May 16-17)

 

April 2019

  • Upcoming talk (May 17) at the California Native Plant Society (Santa Clara Chapter) is highlighted here
  • Upcoming talk (May 14) for the Central Coast Biological Society is highlighted here
  • Hike to Elfin Forest highlighted. See page 7
  • Faculty-in-Residence program at Cal Poly highlighted in New Times (April 18 2019; PDF)
  • Congratulations to Nate Pope, former research student from College of the Atlantic, for successfully defending his Ph.D. thesis at the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas, Austin. Nate published two papers as an undergrad and have continued to help my undergraduate research students over the years. So proud of you, Dr. Pope!
  • Students present their research at the California Botanical Society’s 27th Graduate Student Symposium on April 6 2019. Photos are of undergraduate research students Alex Pena, Mary Devlin, Zach Raposo, Chris Howington, Peter Walsh, and Anthony Ferrero and graduate student, Paul Excoffier

 

  • Kristen Nelson (Botanist, Terra Verde Environmental Consulting) and Nishi Rajakaruna lead a field trip on Irish Hills to explore serpentine-associated plants of San Luis Obispo. The trip was organized as part of the 27th Graduate Student Symposium of the California Botanical Society

March 2019

  • Incoming Grad Student: Michael Mulroy will be joining the Geoecology Lab for his graduate studies this coming fall. A warm welcome to him. Michael hails from Carpinteria, California. He graduated in 2010 from Pomona College with a degree in Environmental Analysis. Since then, he has spent 6 years in the San Francisco Bay Area working as a wildlife biologist, and recently completed 2 years of service as an Environmental Conservation volunteer with the Peace Corps in Panama. Currently, Michael is working as a field technician and biologist for Channel Islands Restoration. Michael is broadly interested in species diversity and ecology, as well as how plant communities change across spatial and temporal scales, and how these changes relate to patterns of historic and present-day land use and management. At Cal Poly, Michael looks forward to investigating lichen communities of serpentinite substrates. In his free time, Michael enjoys reading, riding his bicycle, birding in remote areas, searching out edible mushrooms, and most recently, identifying lichens. Congratulations, Michael!

  • Incoming Grad Student: Roisin ‘Rosie’ Murphy-Deak will also be joining the Geoecology Lab for her graduate studies this coming fall. A warm welcome to her! After graduating from UC Davis with a degree in Environmental Science and Management Rosie has pursued botanical field work that brings her far and wide. For the last seven years she has spent her time in the employment of various agencies including UC Davis, CNPS, and the US Forest Service. She is broadly interested in disturbance and the maintenance of biodiversity on the landscape and using insights gained from the field to inform land management practices. She is planning a collaboration with the  US Forest Service to investigate how controlled burns can be used to maintain meadow diversity and whether they are effective means of preventing Pine invasion. Congratulations Rosie!

  • Alex Pena, Dylan Stephens, and Kevin Tran win Frost Summer Research Fellowships to conduct undergraduate research in the Geoecology Lab Summer 2019. Congratulations!
  • Kristen Nelson and Nishi lead a hike to explore serpentine plants of Irish Hills, San Luis Obispo. The highlight of the hike was the newly discovered and described serpentine endemic plant, Chorizanthe aphanantha
  • Geoecology Lab highlighted in the Intersection Magazine of the College of Science and Mathematics, Cal Poly (See PDF 1, PDF2)

February 2019

  • Bob Boyd visits Cal Poly to give a departmental seminar on nickel hyperaccumulation and another seminar to the California Native Plant Society (SLO Chapter) on his travels on serpentines of the world. Bob also visited with students of the Geoecology Lab at Cal Poly during his visit.

January 2019

  • Amber Williams presents her summer 2018 research at the STAR (Stem Teacher and Researcher) Conference in San Diego, CA

 

November 2018

  • Garden Club of America highlights 2018 Scholars. See pages 48 (Anthony Ferrero) and 54 (Mary Devlin).

October 2018

August 2018

  • Anthony Ferrero, Chris Howington, and Zach Raposo present their summer research at the Frost Undergraduate Research Symposium at the Dept. of Bio Sciences, Cal Poly
  • Former graduate student from San Jose State University, Teri Barry, is now the collections manager at the Center for Plant Diversity at UC Davis. Congratulations Teri!
  • Frost and Garden Club of America Scholar, Anthony Ferrero, and Professor Bob Boyd (Auburn University, AL) taking a break from field work in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. They are collecting seed of Streptanthus polygaloides, one of two known nickel hyperaccumulating plants in the US

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Anthony Ferrero and Bob Boyd on the hunt for Streptanthus polygaloides

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 2018

  • STAR Scholar joins the Geoecology Lab for the summer:
    Amber Williams is a 4th year Biological Sciences student concentrating in Ecology. She is working under Dr. Rajakaruna through the STEM Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program, which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. This summer, she is working alongside undergraduate research student and Garden Club of America scholar Mary Devlin exploring the effects of nutrient enrichment in serpentine soils on native and non-native species.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 2018

May 2018

  • Hot off the press: Echevarria, G., A. J. M. Baker, R. S. Boyd, A. van der Ent, T. Mizuno, N. Rajakaruna, S. Sakaguchi, and A. Bani. 2018. A global forum on ultramafic ecosystems: from ultramafic ecology to rehabilitation of degraded environments. Ecological Research (PDF)
  • Lab members present their research at the Spring 2018 College of Science and Mathematics Student Research Conference at Cal Poly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Former Student Suzie Woolhouse’s photo makes it to the cover page of Molecular Ecology (May 2018). Her paper can be found here
  • Nishi gives a seminar at Sedgewick Preserve and co-leads a hike on serpentine (May 12)

April 2018

  • Congratulations to former undergraduate research students from College of the Atlantic, Luka Negoita (Graduate Student, Syracuse University) and Naveed Davoodian (Graduate Student, New York Botanic Garden/CUNY) for successfully defending their Ph.D. theses
  • Congratulations to Zach Raposo, Anthony Ferrero, Sam Farrow, and Chris Howington for being awarded a Frost Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship for 2018
  • Congratulations to Zach Raposo, Peter Walsh, Anthony Ferrero, and Sean Whitlock for being awarded a Biological Sciences Frost Undergraduate Research Award for Spring Quarter 2018!

March 2018

  • Paper Hot off the Press: Teptina, A., A. Paukov, and N. Rajakaruna2018. Ultramafic vegetation and soils in the circumboreal region of the Northern Hemisphere. Ecological Research (PDF)
  • Paper Accepted: Echevarria, G., A. J. M. Baker, R. S. Boyd, A. van der Ent, T. Mizuno, N. Rajakaruna, S. Sakaguchi, and A. Bani. 2018. A global forum on ultramafic ecosystems: from ultramafic ecology to rehabilitation of degraded environments. Ecological Research (in press)
  • Congratulations to Mary Devlin for winning a US Fish and Wildlife Service grant for rare plant research to conduct her study titled “The biology and ecology of Cirsium fontinale var. obispoense: Field, herbarium and greenhouse studies for better conservation and restoration practices.”
  • Congratulations to Paul Excoffier for winning a US Fish and Wildlife Service grant for rare plant research to conduct his study “Assessing the seed longevity of San Joaquin Woollythreads.”
  • Congratulations to Anthony Ferrero for winning a Garden Club of America, Field Botany Scholarship for his research on the ecology of Streptanthus polygaloides
  • Congratulations to Mary Devlin for winning a Garden Club of America, Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship for her upcoming research on native-nonnative plant interactions on serpentine soil under nutrient enrichment

February 2018

  • Paper accepted:  Kay, K.M., Woodhouse, S.^, Smith, B.A., Pope, N.**, and Rajakaruna, N. Sympatric serpentine endemic Monardella (Lamiaceae) species maintain habitat differences despite hybridization. Molecular Ecology (in press)
  • Paper Hot off the press: Favero Longo, S. E., E. Matteucci, P. Giordani, A. Paukov, and N. Rajakaruna. 2018. Diversity and functional traits of lichens in ultramafic areas: a literature-based worldwide analysis integrated by field data at the regional scale. Ecological Research (PDF)
  • Paper Hot off the press:  Ghasemi, R., H. Share, R. Sharifi, R. S. Boyd, N. Rajakaruna. 2018. Inducing Ni sensitivity in the Ni hyperaccumulator plant Alyssum inflatum Nyárády (Brassicaceae) by transforming with CAX1, a vacuolar membrane calcium transporter. Ecological Research (PDF)
  • Cal Poly Botany Faculty and Students attend CNPS 2018 meeting in Los Angeles, CA
  • Paper Accepted: Teptina, A., A. Paukov, and N. Rajakaruna2018. Ultramafic vegetation and soils in the circumboreal region of the Northern Hemisphere. Ecological Research (in press)
  • Paper HOT off the press: Medeiros, I. D., Mathieson, A. C., and N. Rajakaruna. 2017. Heavy Metals in Seaweeds from a Polluted Estuary in Coastal Maine. Rhodora (PDF)

January 2018

  • Congratulations to Sam Farrow for being awarded a Biological Sciences Frost Undergraduate Research Award for Winter Quarter 2018. Sam will conduct research on edaphic specialization in Layia and Lasthenia species
  • Paper Accepted: Favero Longo, S. E., E. Matteucci, P. Giordani, A. Paukov, and N. Rajakaruna. 2018. Diversity and functional traits of lichens in ultramafic areas: a literature-based worldwide analysis integrated by field data at the regional scale. Ecological Research (in press)
  • Paper Accepted: Ghasemi, R., H. Share, R. Sharifi, R. S. Boyd, N. Rajakaruna. 2018. Inducing Ni sensitivity in the Ni hyperaccumulator plant Alyssum inflatum Nyárády (Brassicaceae) by transforming with CAX1, a vacuolar membrane calcium transporter. Ecological Research (in press)

December 2017

  • Nishi presents a seminar on geobotany at the California Native Plant Society (San Luis Obispo Chapter) monthly meeting
  • Nishi co-leads a hike at Reservoir Canyon for California Native Plant Society (San Luis Obispo Chapter)

November 2017

  • Paper Accepted: Venter, A., S. J. Siebert, N. Rajakaruna, S. Barnard, A. Levanets, A. Ismail, M. Allam, B. Peterson, T. Sanko. 2017. Biological crusts of serpentine and non-serpentine soils from the Barberton Greenstone Belt of South Africa. Ecological Research (in press)
  • Paper Accepted: Siebert, S. J., Schutte, N. C., Bester, S. P., Komape, D. M., and N. Rajakaruna. 2017. Senecio conrathii N.E.Br. (Asteraceae), a new hyperaccumulator of nickel from serpentinite outcrops of the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa. Ecological Research (in press)

October 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Lab members setting up permanent vegetation monitoring plots on burnt and unburnt, south and north facing slopes on serpentine and metavolcanic soils on Poly Canyon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Lab members visit Poly Canyon to explore post-fire disturbance. We will soon set up plots to monitor post-fire regeneration of plants found on serpentine and metavolcanic soils on burnt and unburnt areas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Lab visits Poly Canyon with former Geology Professor Dr. David Chipping

 

 

September 2017

  • Lab takes first field trip to Rinconada mine, an abandoned mercury mine within Los Padres National Forest

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Paper accepted: Rajakaruna, N. Lessons on evolution from the study of edaphic specialization. The Botanical Review (in press)

August 2017

  • Paper Hot off the Press:  Urban, A. J., Mittelhauser, G. H., Dickinson, M., and N. Rajakaruna. 2017. The Alpine Vascular Plants of Baxter State Park, Maine, USA. Rhodora 119: 110-131.

 

For past lab news see here

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