Events & News
For current and upcoming events, refer to the Biology Department Calendar link above.
News about Faculty, Current Students and Alumni:
Belmont Undergraduate Research Symposium
April 18, 2013Poster session 5:15 - 6:00 PM (Frist Lecture Hall)
Student presentations 12:00 - 5:00 PM and 7:00 - 10:00 PM (various locations on campus)
April 19, 2013Keynote Address 10:00 AM Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
The Department of Biology Presents: Graduate School Opportunities
March 20, 2013
10:00 - 11:00 AM in HSB408
Join Sarah Collier and Shenika Poindexter in a panel discussion as they talk about their experiences as graduate students at Vanderbilt University.
8th Annual Environmental Science LectureMarch 26, 2013
7:00 PM Vince Gill Room
Buddy Huffaker, President of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, will present: A Land Ethic for Nashville, Tennessee, America and the Earth
Biology Department Seminar Series
4:00 - 5:00 PM in HSB408
Dr. Julian F. Hillyer, Vanderbilt University, will present: "Cellular Immune Responses and Hemolymph Flow Dynamics in the Body Cavity of the Malaria Mosquito, Anopheles gambiae"
On Sunday, April 7th from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, the Belmont Tri-Beta Club hosted the first ever School of Sciences Nerd Prom. Guests wore their nerdiest attire and a fun time was had by all! The event was a fundraiser for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University.
Dr. Panvini and students lead Belmont to Arboretum Status
What began as a botany class project has blossomed into an outdoor museum that puts Belmont on a regional map for its diverse landscaping. The University hosted a ceremony on September 30th for the Nashville Tree Foundation to designate Belmont one of eight new tree arboretums. Belmont Provost Thomas Burns, College of Arts & Sciences Dean Bryce Sullivan, Dr. Darlene Panvini and alumna Megan DeVries, received bronze plaques in the shape of a yellow popular leaf to recognize Belmont's official designation as an arboretum during the ceremony
"Each of the properties has met the stringent requirements to be recognized an arboretum which include 75 or more named and labeled specimens or as few as 25 in unique, natural or wayside areas and a subsequent inspection by a professional forester," said foundation President Pat Wallace.
The purpose of establishing arboretums is to increase environmental awareness, provide a learning experience, encourage the creation of arboretums and enhance the image of Nashville for visitors and travelers.
Belmont's tree identification project began in 2006 with students in Associate Professor Darlene Panvini's botany class identifying tree species and taking samples on the main quad. Since then, 45 students have worked on the project and cataloged trees on most of the main campus. While engaged in this project, students learned about plant morphology, how to use a taxonomic key, techniques of drying and mounting specimens, and the ecological importance of herbaria.
"An important skill for students to learn is to take specimens of plants and preserve them in an herbaria, so I thought it would be good to document the trees on Belmont's campus to teach them," said Panvini, also chair of the Biology department. "It was just a project to help students learn the technique and skills. As I kept doing the project, I realized we have a great diversity of trees. It wasn't until fall of 2010, when I started listing all of the species on a poster, that I realized we could have an arboretum."
There are more than 48 species of trees and shrubs on the campus' 75 acres. Students and landscaping staff have designated trees part of the arboretum with ground-stake markers listing their scientific name, family and common name. Alumna Megan DeVries ('12) began documenting trees in 2010 and created a reflective brochure with Bible verses and prayers to correspond with several campus trees for an Eco Justice and Faith course taught by religion Professor Judy Skeen.
This semester, Dr. Panvini required her students to come up with a plan to promote the arboretum beyond the classroom. One group will host a convocation lecture and tour this fall. Another group is recording an arboretum audio tour that can be downloaded onto smart phones. Other students are writing booklets for children and adults with cultural, economic and scientific information about Belmont's trees.
Biology Students and Faculty Present at the Tennessee Academy of Science Annual Meeting
Drs. Bob Grammer, Steve Murphree, Darlene Panvini, Nick Ragsdale, and Jennifer Thomas and a total of 27 undergraduate research students from Biology, Environmental Science and Neuroscience attended the 2012 Tennessee Academy of Science Annual Meeting held November 16th at Vanderbilt University. The Belmont students presented posters at the meeting and attended presentations from graduate students and faculty from a wide variety of Tennessee schools. The annual meeting also marked TAS's 100th year as a science organization in Tennessee.
Pictured: Anna Witherspoon, Sylvia Alsup, Dr. Darlene Panvini, Lida Guhlam Jan, Jessica Braden, Emma Guhlam Jan, and Erin Pitts
2012 Southeast Population Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics (SEPEEG) meeting
Dr. John Niedzwiecki, Assistant Professor of Biology, and six Belmont Biology majors traveled to Clemson S.C. over fall break to present their research at the 2012 Southeast Population Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics (SEPEEG) meeting, held at the Clemson University Outdoor Lab from October 12-14. The Belmont seniors attending were Parth Majmudar, Rachel Chandler, Amy Nesius, Janet Steen, Bellamy Hawkins and Breanna Poore. During the weekend the students attended talks by graduate students and faculty from universities across the southeast and they presented their research in the poster session on Saturday night. SEPEEG brings together scientists from institutions in the Southeastern US to discuss their research on ecology, population biology, evolution, and genetics. This is the fifth consecutive year Belmont students have participated in the SEPEEG meeting.
Dr. Murphree Sheds Light on Cicada Invasion
Dr. Steven Murphree (Biology) was very busy this cicada season giving various interviews and lectures on the phenomena of the 13-year cicada. On May 19, Murphree presented a talk at Nashville restaurant Fido's as part of the Adventure Science Center's "Science Café" series on the emergence of the big, noisy, red-eyed bugs. Murphree discussed the life cycle of the cicada to help others understand what to expect over the six to eight weeks of the buggy invasion.