John G. Warden
Mr. Warden is working with Dr. Alan Fryar to attempt to supplement our understanding of the newly developed 15 N E. coli labeling method (Ward 2008) by investigating what happens to the 15 N as isotropically enriched E. coli die in a laboratory experiment. The lab results will be compared with a field experiment examining E. coli die-off rates in a karst aquifer near Lexington, Kentucky. This study should extend the applicability of the method, allowing future research to be performed in new settings and over longer time intervals.
Ms. Peterson is working with Dr. James Harwood to enhance our understanding of predator-prey dynamics, particularly the effects of diet supplementation and changing prey availability. These questions will be addressed using field studies of sheet-web weaving spiders in a corn agroecosystem and the PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) molecular technique, a tool that allows determination of the composition of prey found in the guts of invertebrate predators. This project will yield new insights into the effects of supplementary nutrition and prey biodiversity on community structure and dynamics.