Newsletter of the BGSU Department of Biological Sciences

FALL 2019

Juan Bouzat


Dear Alumni and Friends,
As the new chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, I am delighted to have you as our friends and supporters in our journey to promote student success and research activities at BGSU. Our goal is to provide our students with a premier and an innovative learning experience.

Our department plays a major role in the educational experience of all BGSU students. We have the largest population of undergraduate students enrolled in our programs, with over 800 students seeking B.S. and B.A. degrees in biology (followed by psychology with just over 520 students). Our recruitment has also increased steadily from last year, with a Fall 2019 cohort of over 280 new students, also the largest at BGSU! The contribution of Biological Sciences to the learning experience of BGSU students, both in STEM-specific programs as well as in the general education of non-science majors, is evidenced by our class enrollments. This Fall, we had over 6200 students enrolled in our courses! These numbers are only possible due to the quality of our programs and the commitment of our faculty. Please, join me in thanking our faculty for their commitment to our students and BGSU!

The contribution of biological sciences to the learning experience of BGSU students, both in STEM-specific programs as well as in the general education of non-science majors, is evidenced by our class enrollments. This fall, we had over 6,200 students enrolled in our courses. These numbers are only possible due to the quality of our programs and the commitment of our faculty. Please, join me in thanking our faculty for their commitment to our students and BGSU!


The national and international recognition of our research programs and scholarly activities is one of the key elements of our success. Over the years, our research programs have become essential sources for experiential learning and research experiences for our undergraduates, and the foundation of our graduate program. Furthermore, our research foci on the Great Lakes, water quality, microbiology, ecology and conservation biology, marine and aquatic sciences, and neuroscience, support a new generation of BGSU graduates committed to the public good.

Just to give you a few examples of exciting research developed in our department: Our department is dedicated to Great Lakes and Watershed Studies, with faculty focusing on interdisciplinary research on environmental and health issues associated with the Great Lakes ecosystem. Two discovery-based undergraduate research programs (the Microbiology Small World Initiative and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Sea-Phages) provide students with direct research experiences in the discovery of new antibiotic-producing microbes and new viruses. Several labs use bioinformatic approaches to do research in agricultural pests, genome evolution, and environmental microbiology. All these initiatives provide a large number of undergraduate and graduate students with a premier learning environment based on experiential learning, undergraduate research activities, and graduate research.

Furthermore, our research has direct implications on societal issues associated with global environmental problems, health issues, agricultural impacts, and the future of college education, showing our commitment to the public good.

BGSU has identified the Center for Great Lakes and Watershed Studies as one of the key areas supported by the new Strategic Plan on “Focus on the Future.” Under this initiative, we are pleased to welcome Dr. Chris Ward, a new faculty who will join our team in January 2020 to provide expertise in bioinformatics and environmental microbiology. We also thank Patrick L. and Debra Scheetz Ryan and the Ryan Family Foundation, who donated funds for the acquisition of the RV Ziggy, a new BGSU research vessel that will support our research on Lake Erie.

We continue providing avenues for experiential learning in areas of high student demand. Our marine and aquatic specialization represents a unique undergraduate program in Ohio. A new Undergraduate Marine and Aquatic Research Lab is being renovated to offer undergraduate students directed research experiences in this area. Furthermore, we have offered field courses, both in the U.S. and abroad, that provided undergraduate students with superb experiential learning activities during the Summer and Winter terms. A field trip to Curaçao and a biology/geology field trip to the Galapagos Islands have been some of our students’ favorite options.

A final note of thanks goes to all of you, alumni and friends of the department, who in many ways support our department, but in particular our students. We have numerous undergraduate and graduate scholarships that have been established by people like you, who are committed to BGSU biology and the education of our future generations. We have 18 undergraduate scholarships, and this year we will offer 10 $1,000 student awards for undergraduate and graduate research. If you would like to continue supporting our programs, visit the website and enter “biology” to see our fund options. We are glad that you keep up to date with our faculty and students’ achievements, and hope you visit us soon.

Once a Falcon always a Falcon!
Juan L. Bouzat, Ph.D.
Chair and professor, Biological Sciences

Biological Sciences faculty Drs. Kevin Neves,  Jonathan Kershaw and Fei Weisstein

Neves part of interdisciplinary team that receives aquaponics grant

Dr. Kevin Neves, an assistant teaching professor in the Biological Sciences, always has been interested in sustainable aquaculture, or fish farming. When he came to BGSU, the department wanted him to start a hands-on project for students. He continued to use his expertise in aquaculture to start an aquaponics system at the University. Recently, Neves, along with two other BGSU faculty members, were awarded a $212,000 Sea Grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to improve consumer acceptance of the aquaponics system. The grant work will span two years.

Read more about the aquaponics grant


Ay Ziggy for RV Ziggy

Bowling Green State University christened a new research vessel this fall that will support the University’s water quality research efforts on the Lake Erie and the surrounding watershed regions. The 28-foot vessel, dubbed the “RV Ziggy,” was made possible by a generous gift from BGSU alumni Patrick L. and Debra Scheetz Ryan and the Ryan Family Foundation. The RV Ziggy will bolster BGSU’s mission of supporting the public good by accelerating the University’s research presence and activity on the lake, helping faculty and student lead national efforts to improve water quality.

Read more about The RV Ziggy


Students explore reefs, biology, culture in Curaçao field trip

Each year, Dr. Matthew L. Partin offers a field experience: BIOL 4750 Marine & Aquatic Sciences Field Trip - Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles. This course explores the reefs, biology and culture of Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles. Students have the opportunity to engage in discussions with various scientists, including those at the Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity (CARMABI), Curaçao Sea Aquarium, and Coral Restoration Foundation.

Read more about the trip


Bouzat studies evolution of penguins

Dr. Juan Bouzat, a professor and chair of Bowling Green State University’s Department of Biological Sciences, is part of an international research team studying the evolution of penguins. He is a co-author of a study published in the journal of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution that demonstrates the importance of island formation in the diversification of penguins and posits the discovery of two extinct penguin species from New Zealand. The research, recently highlighted by the New York Times, was conducted by a diverse team of 19 scholars representing eight countries and 16 research institutions and universities.

Read more about the study


Rachel Kappler: Battling the emerald ash borer

Elm trees in Ohio and beyond have been threatened by a little green beetle since 2003. Bowling Green State University postdoctoral researcher Dr. Rachel Kappler is studying the emerald ash borer that has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America. Her research into the threat of the invasive, exotic beetle earned her the 2019 BGSU Graduate College Distinguished Dissertation Award.

Read more about battling the ash borer


NSF grant looks at bird migration in prairie playas

Dr. Kevin McCluney, assistant professor of biological sciences, is part of a research team that has been awarded a macrosystems grant to fund research on the connections that occur over long distances among National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) sites in the Great Plains

Read more about about their research


Great Lakes Center publishes first scientific paper: ‘Timing is everything’

The first scientific paper to come out of the Great Lakes Center for Fresh Waters and Human Health shows that, just as in the rest of life, timing is everything. Published recently in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, the paper reveals “a day in the life of a Microcystis bloom,” said Dr. George Bullerjahn, director of the center and professor of research excellence in biology at Bowling Green State University.

Read more about the paper


BGSU part of team to receive funds to monitor HABs

Bowling Green State University is part of a team receiving funding for “Monitoring and Event Response for Harmful Algal Blooms: Portable Tin Detection Technology to Support Great Lakes Decision Support Tools.” The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced recipients of the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) Competitive Research Program Harmful Algal Bloom Awards Oct. 1.

Read more about the project


Bullerjahn named Distinguished Research Professor

Dr. George Bullerjahn, Bowling Green State University professor of research excellence in biological sciences, has been a pioneer in exploring the causes of toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie and beyond. In recognition of his stature as a scientist and as a faculty member, the BGSU Board of Trustees awarded him the title of Distinguished Research Professor at the Feb. 22, 2019 meeting.

Read more about Dr. George Bullerjahn


Rogers' book explores ancient microbes

BGSU Biology Professor Scott Rogers explores the idea of freezing a life in ice and thawing it out years — even centuries — later in a new book, "Defrosting Ancient Microbes: Emerging Genomes in a Warmer World."

Read more about Roger's book

In Brief

Biological Sciences welcomes new faculty member, Dr. Christopher Ward, who received his Ph.D. from Duke University and will be joining the department in spring 2020. His research includes aquatic microbial ecology, microbial bioinformatics, metabolomics, and algal biofuels.

Biological Sciences Office Manager Kelly Stewart received the Best of Arts and Sciences Award which recognizes exemplary work to the BGSU community and is awarded by the A&S Staff Council to one Administrative and one Classified Staff member.

Drs. Moira van Staaden and Robert Huber were topic editors of the book “Invertebrate Models of Natural and Drug-Sensitive Reward,” which was published by Frontiers.

Dr. Paul Moore has written “Into the Illusive World”, which examines the perception of stimuli by animals in the natural world. The book was illustrated by BGSU graduate student Allie Steele, and published by Springer.

The 2019 Pasakarnis-Buchanan Lecture was given by Dr. Nicholas Gotelli, professor of biology at the University of Vermont. In his public presentation titled “Forecasting Nature: Ecological Experiments in a Time of Planetary Change,” he talked about experimental studies of forest ants and carnivorous plants as model systems for understanding changes caused by global warming and water pollution.

Donors to the Department of Biological Sciences (November 2018-October 2019)

We are forever grateful to our alumni and friends who provide support to the department and our students. Between November 2018 and October 2019, alumni, current and retired faculty, staff and friends have contributed $45,375. Again, we recognize and thank our donors for their generous contributions in the past year. If you have provided a monetary gift to the Department of Biological Sciences and are not included in the list, please let us know.

Biological Sciences General Activities Fund
David & Paula Alderfer
Thomas Asbury
Cathy Balogh
Robert Balske
Dale Bowlus
Glen & Lareen Bowman
Aaron & Cristin Brescia
Wenjing Dai
Mary Hetrick
William Huskey
Karen Jollie
Sarah Keehnen
Kyle Kragenbrink
Donald Luikart
Dustin Mullet
Matthew Saxton
Eric Schwamberger
Carol Thatcher
Sundararajah Thevananther
Carol Wilkerson
Lamar & Sondra Zigler

Biological Sciences General Scholarship Fund
Terry & Janice Hufford

Biology Alumni Scholarship
Michelle Alicia
Elizabeth Davis
Judith Downing
Michael Keffer
Charles Maurice
Edward & Anne Nolan
Bradley & Amanda Rabquer
Gale Roecker
Bree Shollenberger
Frances Veverka

Marine Lab Operations Fund
Patricia Biesiot
Christine Downing
Phyllis Evans
Donald Macoy, Jr. & Janna
Ronald & Janet Partin

Barbara Long Masters Biological Sciences Research Fund
Barbara Long Masters

Rex Lowe Biological Sciences Graduate Student Endowed Fund
George & Anne Bullerjahn
Douglas Deutschman
Charles Harper
Lee & Marge Meserve
Jeff & Barbara Miner
Reginald Noble

Dennis R. Whitmore Memorial Scholarship
Dean Whitmore

Biological Sciences General Department Fund
Dean Black
Donna Campbell
Mary Cronin
Paul Dahlhauser
Richard Fernandez
Mark Frank
Liz Gallelli
Teresan Gilbert
Gary Griffin
Eva Haupt
Carrie Horst
Martin & Leslie Jan
Richard Lyman
Amanda Martin
Alan McCluney
Kevin McCluney
Ross McCluney
W. Patrick Monaghan
William Morris
Shreyasi Pain
Riley Powers
John Schutze
Richard & Kathleen Sollmann
Kristina Strosnider
John Woloschuk
Kathy Woloschuk
Mary Woloschuk

T. Richard Fisher Biology Scholarship
Marjorie Smith

James D. Graham Memorial Scholarship
Eleanor Fischer
Fred & Jaclyn Hendricks
David McCormick
W. Patrick Monaghan
Thomas & Virginia McQuistion

McKinney-Whitwer Biological Sciences Scholarship
Jason Kolodziejczyk

Dr. Suzanne K. Miller Undergraduate Research Assistantships
Kenneth & Suzanne Miller-Kobalka

Robert C. Romans Biology Scholarship
Lorraine DeVenney
Lee & Marge Meserve
Terry & Phyllis Morrow
John & Bonnie Mucha
John Parrish, Jr. & Paula
Brent & Carla Takemoto

Cynthia Collin Stong Marine Biology Scholarship
Patricia Biesiot

Cynthia Collin Stong Marine Lab Operations Endowment Fund
Richard & Flora Hochenberg
Cynthia Collin Stong

Biological Sciences Scholarship and Award Recipients

Following is the list of scholarship recipients for 2019-20. This list includes awards for graduating seniors. Congratulations to these outstanding students and special thanks to our donors!  

To view scholarship criteria, please visit our page.  

Beta Beta Beta Award
Teagan Bourne (League City, TX)

Biological Sciences Alumni Scholarship (incoming freshmen)
Christopher Shell (Dublin, OH)

T. Richard Fisher Biology Scholarship
Autumn Herrig (Graytown, OH)
Caileen Williams (Marysville, OH)

James D. Graham Scholarship
Tessa Alloy (Circleville, OH)
Morgan Nance (Amherst, OH)

Edward J. Karlin Memorial Scholarship
Kelsey Dietrich (Port Clinton, OH)

Barbara Long Masters Graduate Award (graduate students)
Nabil Karnib (Beirut, Lebanon)
Amanda Martin (Tonawanda, NY)
Rachel Paull (Ludington, MI)
Kelsey Stoneberg (North Royalton, OH)
Tyler Wood (Bowling Green, OH)

Ralph V. McKinney, Jr. – Eloise Whitwer Scholarship
Ashley Fortunato (Lyndhurst, OH)
Celeste Vanfossen (West Lafayette, OH)

Dr. Suzanne K. Miller-Kobalka Undergraduate Assistantships in Biological Science
Lindsey Davis (Blanchester, OH)
Kristina Gara (Mentor, OH)
Sarah Hennings (Lake Orion, MI)

Barry R. Morstain Biology Scholarship
Raven Robinson (Columbus, OH)

Multicultural Student Scholarship in Biological Sciences
Deja Scott (Huber Heights, OH)

Jean Pasakarnis Buchanan Junior/Senior Scholarship in Biology
Maddison Fortman (Minster, OH)
Andrew Hibinger (Wadsworth, OH)
Dresden Wilson

Myra L. Patchen Biology Scholarship
Chase Gingrich (Trenton, OH)

Dawson S. and Sylvia A. Patterson Scholarship
Madison Baltzly (Canton, OH)
Jordan Hennemyre (Ludlow Falls, OH)

Robert C. Romans Biological Science Scholarship (incoming freshmen)
Ava Harper (Bowling Green, OH)
Bryce Hoehner (Bowling Green, OH)

Joseph J. and Marie P. Schedel Scholarship
Megan Carmen (Bowling Green, OH)
Dakota Jenkins (Maumee, OH)
Gena Leib (Solon, OH)

Waldo and Evelyn Steidtmann Scholarship
Kaitlyn Busch (Westerville, OH)
Eric Huber (Lancaster, OH)
Stephanie Wittman (Marysville, OH)

Cynthia Collin Stong Marine Biology Scholarship
Casondra Adams (Fayette, OH)

Harold E. Tinnappel Scholarship
Jamie Hawkins (Fletcher, OH)
Jarett Trendel (Toledo, OH)

Dennis R. Whitmore Memorial Scholarship
Eleanor Behling (Loveland, OH)
Makayla Manes (Farmdale, OH)

Updated: 11/16/2021 06:13PM