Events & News
For current and upcoming events, refer to the Biology Department Calendar link above.
News about Faculty, Current Students and Alumni:
Dr. Murphree named 2013 TSTA Higher Education Science Educator of the Year
Dr. Steve Murphree, professor of biology, was named recipient of the 2013 Tennessee Science Teachers Association Higher Education Science Educator of the Year Award. The Tennessee Science Teachers Association (TSTA) is Tennessee’s largest science teacher organization. The award was presented to Murphree at a reception on Nov. 8 at the TSTA annual conference in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Murphree joined the Belmont faculty in 1991 and has taught a wide range of science courses including Biodiversity, Zoology, Principles of Biology II, Comparative Anatomy, Parasitology and graduate courses for the Teacher Education program.
Murphree has also been a leader of promoting science in the community. Since 1992 he has served as the Director and Instructor of the annual “Beetles, Bugs and Butterflies” summer camp at Belmont University. Over 1,000 students between first and sixth grade have participated in this camp. He also hosts sessions of Home School Science Discoveries labs at Belmont which are offered free to home school participants. In addition, Murphree has given 72 insect/arachnid presentations to children in over 25 Middle Tennessee schools. Since 1993, he has given 13 presentations or led bioblitzes for Metro Nashville parks. Beginning in 1995, he has made 12 presentations or led nature walks in Tennessee State Parks and Natural areas. He has judged numerous science fairs, held workshops and served in leadership roles in important science organizations such as the Tennessee Academy of Sciences, the Tennessee Entomological Society and Nashville’s Adventure Science Center.
His works continues in the broader based community on matters of science as he has written articles and been interviewed by local and national-level media outlets. He has written 20 articles for the Tennessee Conservationist magazine, responded to 20 interviews for newspapers and been interviewed 17 times for television. He has also given many presentations to adult groups including popular talks entitled, ” Insects in Victorian Art” and “Insects & Disease in the War Between the States.”
Murphree actively mentors undergraduate student research. His own research interests include morphology, taxonomy, and ecology of biting flies and other insects of medical and veterinary importance with emphasis on the immature stages; collection of mammalian ectoparasites, particularly ticks from whitetailed deer; field collections of ticks; field investigations of biting midges; field investigations of mosquitoes; enhancement of the Sentricon@ (Dow AgroSciences) termite elimination system; morphology, taxonomy and ecology of the Arachnida.
He is also a Fellow in the Tennessee Academy of Sciences and received the 2004 Tennessee Environmental Education Association Environmental Educator of the Year Award.
School of Sciences Colloquium
|October 10||4:00 PM||Beaman A & B||Dr. Christopher Herlihy, MTSU, will present: What can tiny plants tell us about big questions in plant evolution?|
|November 8||2:00 PM||Beaman A & B||Dr. Harold Reiter, UNC Charlotte, will present: Fusing Dots, Antidots, and Black Holes|
2013 Southeast Population Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics (SEPEEG) meeting
Dr. John Niedzwiecki, Associate Professor of Biology, and four Belmont Biology and Environmental Science students attended the 2013 South Eastern Population Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics (SEPEEG) conference. The 40th anniversary meeting was held at the University of Virginia's Mountain Lake Biological Station, outside Blacksburg, Virginia, on September 27-29, 2013. SEPEEG brings together scientists from institutions in the Southeastern U.S. to discuss their research on ecology, population biology, evolution, and genetics.
At the Saturday evening Poster Session, Belmont students Kyle Sullinger, J. Court Reese, Hannah Martin, and Valini Ramcharan presented the research projects they worked on during Summer Scholar's with Dr. Niedzwiecki . In addition to the Poster Session, students attended talks and interacted with graduate and undergraduate students, as well as faculty, from more than 20 Universities from across the south including the University of Virginia, University of Georgia, UNC Chapel Hill, University of Florida, East Carolina University, Duke University, and the University of Tennessee.
Students Present at the Tennessee Academy of Science Annual Meeting
The 123rd Tennessee Academy of Science (TAS) Annual Meeting was held November 15, 2013 at Motlow State Community College in Tullahoma, TN. The Tennessee Academy of Science, founded in 1912, organizes symposia, manages on-going programs in many fields, and communicates with the national scientific culture. The Tennessee Academy of Science is affiliated with two national societies and seven Tennessee societies. Dr. Steve Murphree, Biology, serves as Treasurer of TAS.
Biology Department faculty members Drs. Bob Grammer, Steve Murphree, Darlene Panvini, Nick Ragsdale, Jennifer Thomas, and Chris Barton attended the meeting along with 29 Belmont undergraduate research students from Environmental Science, Biology, and Neuroscience. Belmont students presented posters at the meeting and attended presentations from graduate students and faculty from a wide variety of Tennessee schools.
Please click here to see a listing of all 29 research projects.
The Vaughn Science Lecture
September 9, 2013
Speaker: Dr. Robert Bridges, research scientist in the Cyber-Security Research Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, will present Anomaly Detection and Computational Linguistics
Science Undergraduate Research Symposium (SURS)
December 2, 2013Dr. Eric Klumpe, Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, MTSU,
will present: "The Astronomy in Popular Media"
Keynote address 4:00-5:00 PM in Beaman A&B
Poster session 5:15 - 6:00 PM in Maddox Grand Atrium
Student presentations 5:30 PM in Hitch Science Building
Biology Department Seminar Series
|September 6||10:00 AM||HSB408||"A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing: Using Viral Vectors as Vaccine Platforms" -- Dr. Sarah Katen, Vanderbilt University, will discuss current vaccine research including her work to develop reovirus immunizations
|October 7||10:00 AM||HSB408||Wesley Roberts, biology teacher at Hume-Fogg High School, will give a professional development talk about teaching in a K-12 public school in Tennessee.
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.
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.