Dr. Alissa A. Packer, Ph.D.



Susquehanna University
Department of Biology
Fisher Science Hall 206A
Selinsgrove, PA 17870
Email: packer@susqu.edu
FAX: (570) 372-2751
Phone: (570) 372-4217
Download .pdf



EDUCATION


Ph.D.







B.S.


Field Course




Evolution, Ecology and Behavior, minor in Environmental Science. 2000. Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.
Dissertation: Effects of soil pathogens on survival and growth of Prunus serotina seedlings near conspecific trees: A test of the Janzen-Connell hypothesis in a temperate community, Advisor: Dr. Keith Clay.

Biology, Dickinson College , Carlisle , PA. 1994.

Organization for Tropical Studies, Summer course (1995)- Tropical biology: An Ecological Approach, Costa Rica. School for Field Studies, Semester (1993)- Marine Mammal Biology and Conservation, La Paz, Mexico.


TEACHING AND RESEARCH POSITIONS

Assistant Professor of Biology (2003-present) Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. Course descriptions listed below.

Post-Doctoral Research Associate (2001-2003) Department of Biology, Indiana University. Supported by NSF grant (co-PI with K. Clay). Examined the effects of successional age on the interaction between black cherry and its soil pathogens and whether additional temperate tree species are also inhibited by their own soil pathogens.

Associate Instructor of Biology (1996-2001) Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. Course descriptions listed below.

Research Assistant (1994-1995) for E. Moran, Department of Anthropology, Anthropological Center for Global and Environmental Change, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. Examined the relationship between vegetation regrowth and previous land use, soil fertility, and fallow age in Brazilian Amazon.


TEACHING EXPERIENCE

Courses Taught at Susquehanna University

Core perspectives: Biology Department Freshman Seminar (Fall 2005) Introduces incoming students to the university and the issues faced during the transition from high school to the university in order to improve success in college. The Fall 2005 seminar focuses on the alcohol. Topics covered include fermentation biology, neuroscience of addiction, and issues related to drinking on college campuses. [Developed seminar along with Dr. Tom Peeler, Dr. Dave Richard, and Dr. Jan Reichard-Brown]

Ecology, Evolution, and Heredity (Fall 2003, 2004 & 2005) Introductory course for majors; explores the nature of scientific investigation and the impact of human activity on the biological world by examining such topics as ecology, evolution, and genetics. [Coauthored Ecology, Evolution, and Heredity Lab Manual with Dr. Matt Persons]

Ecology (Fall 2005) Upper-level majors course; explores the complex ways in which living organisms interact with one another as well as their physical environment and encourages critical thinking through readings and discussions of the primary ecological literature. [Redesigned course and associated lab]

Issues in Biology-Topic: Economic and cultural botany (Fall & Spring 2005) Non-majors science course; introduces students to the diverse ways in which humans interact with plants, covering topics such as the origins of agriculture, the manipulation of plants by people, plants as a source of spices, medicines and psychoactive drugs, and the genetic engineering of plants by people. [Developed new course and associated lab]

Plant Ecology (Fall 2003) Upper-level majors course; explores the ways in which biotic and abiotic factors affect the abundance and distribution of plants in natural communities. Surveys the various sub-disciplines within the field (e.g. physiological ecology, population biology, community and ecosystem ecology). [Developed new course and associated lab]

Plant Physiology (Spring 2004 &2005) Upper-level majors course; explores the fundamental principals of plant physiology (transpiration, photosynthesis, translocation, nutrient uptake), with an emphasis on how these physiological processes are affected by abiotic and biotic environmental factors. [Restructured course and associated lab]

Systematics (Spring 2004) Sophomore majors course; surveys the kingdoms of life (the prokaryotes, eukaryotic protists, fungi, animals and plants). Exposes students to the diversity of organisms so that they can explore concepts of phylogeny, taxonomy and evolution.

Biology Seminar (rotates) The capstone course for senior biology majors; students conduct a year long research project under the supervision of a faculty mentor. Students also attend regular talks given by invited external speakers. [Developed evaluation forms for students to complete in order to improve their ability to critically evaluate speakers]
Mentored senior research projects: Ashley Shade ’04, Ryan Bell ’04, Mike V. Cole ’04, Erica Walker ’05, Katie Richter ’05, Magali Laitem ’05.

Courses Taught at Indiana University

Biology Laboratory (Spring semesters, 1997-2001). Introductory lab for majors designed to teach key biological principles through experimentation.

Field and Laboratory Ecology (Fall semesters, 1998 & 2000). Upper-level course for majors focused on ecological research methodologies and the local natural history.

Biological Mechanisms (Fall semester, 1997). Introductory lecture for majors focused on cellular, subcellular, biochemical, and molecular aspects of how living systems work.

Fungi Laboratory (Fall semester, 1996). Upper-level course for majors designed to give students experience with fungal isolation, purification, and identification.


GRANTS FUNDED (EXTERNAL)

National Science Foundation DEB-0090056 ($299,662). Soil-Borne Pathogens and Tree Recruitment in Temperate Forests (2001-2004). Co-PI’s: K. Clay and A. Packer.

Indiana Academy of Science ($1,300). Effect of Distance-to-Parent and Juvenile Density on Survival of Black Cherry Seedlings (1996). Co-PI’s: A. Packer and K. Clay.


GRANTS FUNDED (INTERNAL)

Faculty Research Grant
. Effects of distance-dependent mortality on the spatial distributions of common temperate tree species: Implications for forest diversity. Used to fund a summer research student (Erica Walker, Summer 2005).

Summer Research Partners Program. Received funding to support student research over the summer (Katie Richter, Summer 2005).

Summer Research Partners Program. Received funding to support student research over the summer (Katie Richter, Summer 2006).

University Assistantship Program. Received funding to conduct ecological research with an incoming freshman through their time at Susquehanna University (support for Christine Pulice 2004-2008).


HONORS/AWARDS/RECOGNITION

Bayerd Franklin Floyd Final Year Fellowship (1999)

Bayerd Franklin Floyd Memorial Fellowship for Botany (Summers 1995-2000)

Best Student Presentation, Indiana Academy of Science Meeting (1998)

Magna Cum Laude (Dickinson College, 1994)

Phi Beta Kappa (Dickinson College, 1994)

Research in popular media

Whitfield, J. (2000, March 16). Fouling the nest, published online at news@nature.com. (http://www.nature.com/news/2000/000330/pf/000330-12_pf.html)

Fountain, S. (2000, March 21). Survival of the farthest. The New York Times, Science Section, p. D4.

Hinnefeld, S. (2000, March 25). IU tree study sparks nationwide interest. The Herald-Times, pp. A1,A5.

Forests of Fear. (2000, March 18th-24th). The Economist, p. 82.

Forest fungi are the root of variety. (2000, March 18th). New Scientist, p. 21.

van der Putten, W.H. (2000). Pathogen-driven forest diversity, Nature, 404: 232-233

Figures from Packer and Clay (2000) republished in

Upper-level textbook entitled Ecology: Individuals, Populations and Communities (Begon, M., C. Townsend and J. Harper, 4th edition, 2005, Blackwell Publishing)

Introductory-level textbook entitled The Economy of Nature (Ricklefs, R.E., 5th edition, 2001, W.H. Freeman Publishers)


PUBLICATONS

Packer, A. and K. Clay. 2004. Development of negative feedback during successive growth cycles of black cherry. Proceedings of the Royal Society, 271: 317-324.

Reinhart, K.O., A. Packer, W.H. van der Putten, and K. Clay. 2003. A non-native tree species escapes from soil pathogens. Ecology Letters, 6: 1046-1050.

Reynolds, H.L., A. Packer, J.D. Bever, and K. Clay. 2003. Grassroots Ecology: Plant-Microbe-Soil Interactions as Drivers of Plant Community Structure and Dynamics. Ecology, 84: 2281-2291.

Packer, A. and K. Clay. 2003. Soil pathogens and Prunus serotina seedling and sapling growth near conspecific trees. Ecology, 84: 108-119.

Packer, A. and K. Clay. 2000. Soil pathogens and spatial patterns of seedling mortality in a temperate tree. Nature, 404: 478-481.

Leary, C.J. and A. Packer. 1998. Egg deposition site characteristics of the red-eyed leaf frog, Agalychnis callidryas Cope (Hylidae). Herpetological Natural History, 6: 55-59.

Moran, E., A. Packer, J. Tucker, and E. Brondizio. 1996. Restoration of vegetation cover in the eastern Amazon. Ecological Economics, 18: 41-54.


INVITED TALKS

A. Packer. Testing the Janzen-Connell hypothesis in a temperate forest: Soil pathogens and black cherry seedling survival.

Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA. (2003)
York College, York, PA. (2004)
University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, CA. (2005)
George Washington University, Washington, DC (2005)

A. Packer and K. Clay (2003). Interactions between black cherry seedlings and the microbial soil community across a successional gradient. Symposium on “The Role of Plant-Microbe Feedbacks in Plant Invasions”. Ecological Society of America, Savannah, GA.

A. Packer (2003). Testing the Janzen-Connell hypothesis in a temperate forest: soil pathogens and black cherry seedling survival. Ecology of Forest Systems: Challenges and Opportunities. Research Symposium sponsored by Indiana University Research and Teaching Preserve and the National Science Foundation, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

A. Packer (2002). Effects of soil pathogens on survival and growth of Prunus serotina seedlings near conspecific trees. Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Ottawa, Canada.

A. Packer (2000). Effects of soil pathogens on survival and growth of Prunus serotina seedlings near conspecific trees. Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, Maryland.

A. Packer (1998). The effect of conspecific adult trees on spatial structure of black cherry (Prunus serotina) juveniles. Geography Department, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.


PRESENTATIONS WITH STUDENTS

Bell, R.,* M.V. Cole,* J. Garofalo,* A. Packer and M.H. Persons (2005). The effects of wolf spider communities on soybean herbivory. Poster presentation.

National Council for Undergraduate Research Annual Meeting, Lexington, Virginia.
Senior Scholar’s Day, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.
American Arachnological Society Annual Meeting. Akron, Ohio.

Shade, A.* and A. Packer (2004). Community composition of soilborne pathogens in an old field: Implications for Prunus serotina seedling survival and succession. Poster presentation. Ecological Society of America, Mid-Atlantic Section Meetings, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Shade, A.* and A. Packer (2004). Composition of soilborne pathogens changes with increasing distance to Prunus serotina trees. Oral presentation.

National Council for Undergraduate Research Annual Meeting, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Senior Scholar’s Day, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.
President’s dinner for board members and donors.


PRESENTATIONS

K. Clay and A. Packer (2003). Pathogens vs. microbial mutualists. Talk, Ecological Society of America, Savannah, GA.

K. Reinhart, A. Packer, W.H. van der Putten, and K. Clay (2003). Introduction to plant-microbe feedback in plant invasions and invasive non-native trees escaping from soil pathogens. Symposium on “The Role of Plant-Microbe Feedbacks in Plant Invasions”. Ecological Society of America, Savannah, GA.

A. Packer and K. Clay (2001). Effects of soil pathogens on survival and growth of Prunus serotina seedlings near conspecific trees: A test of the Janzen-Connell hypothesis in a temperate community. Talk, Ecological Society of America, Madison, WI.

A. Packer and K. Clay (1999). Soil pathogens and black cherry recruitment: Support for the Janzen-Connell hypothesis in a temperate forest. Talk, Ecological Society of America, Spokane, WA.

A. Packer and K. Clay (1998). Effect of adult black cherry trees on juvenile mortality patterns. Talk, Indiana Academy of Sciences, Indianapolis, IN.

A. Packer and K. Clay (1998). Effect of adult black cherry trees on juvenile mortality patterns. Talk, Ecological Society of America, Baltimore, MD.

A. Packer and K. Clay (1997). The effect of conspecific adult trees on spatial structure of black cherry (Prunus serotina) juveniles. Talk, Indiana Academy of Sciences, Rensselaer, IN.

A. Packer and K. Clay (1997). The effect of conspecific adult trees on spatial structure of black cherry (Prunus serotina) juveniles. Poster, Ecological Society of America, Albuquerque, NM.


PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology (TIEE) Research Team. Selected to participate in an NSF-funded project entitled “Evaluation and Research on the Effectiveness of TIEE” (Spring 2005- completion of study). Information at www.tiee.ecoed.net/misc/about.html.

Summer Workshop on Teaching Writing. Led by Jim Black and Dr. Susan Bowers (May 2005).

Student-Centered Trilogy: Course Design, Active Learning, & Rubric Design. Faculty development workshop led by Dr. Berneice Brownell (May 2005).

Using the grading process for grades, student learning, self-improvement, and department action. Faculty development workshop led by Dr. Barbara Walvoord (January 2005).

Evolutionary Science and Society: Educating a New Generation. Two day symposium entitled at the National Association of Biology Teachers Annual Meeting (November 2004).

The First-Year Experiences: Sites for engaged learning at comprehensive institution. Associated New American Colleges Summer Institute (Summer 2004).

First International Workshop for the Morphological and Molecular Identification of the Stramenophiles: Phytophthora and Pythium. North Carolina State University (Summer 2004).

Summer Workshop on Teaching Writing. Led by Jim Black and Dr. Susan Bowers (May 2004).

Improving College Teaching. Faculty development workshop led by Dr. L. Dee Fink (January 2004).

Multicultural Affairs Office Programs. Attended the Diversity Symposium and Understanding Privilege Systems: White, Male, and Heterosexual.

Summer Institute on College Teaching. Virginia Tidewater Consortium institute held at the College of William and Mary (Summer 2003).


UNIVERSITY SERVICE

Elected member of the Committee on Teaching and Learning (2004- present)

Elected member of the Athletic Advisory Committee (2004- present)

Member of Retreat Planning Committee (Spring & Summer 2005)

Ecology Oversight Committee (Spring 2004- present)

Internal Communications Advisory Team (ICAT) member (Fall 2004- present)

University representative to the College Cooperative Program with the Nicolas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University

Presented Science Lunch entitled “Soil Pathogens and Seedling Survival in Temperate Forests”


PROFESSIONAL SERVICE

Referee for Ecology, Ecology Letters, Journal of Applied Ecology, and Journal of Ecology, Journal of Vegetation Science

Reviewed grant for M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust- College Research Program


PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

Member of Ecological Society of America (ESA)

Member of Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE)

Member of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)


 
Courses & Schedule Research Publications & CV Useful Links Personal
Susquehanna University assumes no responsibility for the content of this personal Web page. Please read the disclaimer.