Park science
 Student expands art beyond...
 Ph.D. mentors for 2003
 Back Cover

Title: Excel: news for and about University of Florida graduate students
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073863/00003
 Material Information
Title: Excel: news for and about University of Florida graduate students
Series Title: Excel: news for and about University of Florida graduate students. Vol. 3. No. 1.
Uniform Title: Excel: news for and about University of Florida graduate students
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: University of Florida Graduate School
Affiliation: University of Florida -- University of Florida Graduate School
Publisher: University of Florida Graduate School
Publication Date: Spring 2003
Subject: University of Florida.   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00073863
Volume ID: VID00003
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida

Table of Contents
    Park science
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Student expands art beyond canvas
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Ph.D. mentors for 2003
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Back Cover
        Page 16
Full Text

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"I really feel like I'm contributing something through this work," says Morris of her
research on the effects of global warming on forest range and diversity. "I try to pick projects
that will have an impact. We need more interactions between the academics and the people
in the parks."
"I'm very management oriented," echoes Grober-Dunsmore, who is studying ways to
apply successful terrestrial management techniques to coral reef ecosystems. "I always look at
the utility of science for answering management questions."
Morris and Grober-Dunsmore were two of only eight doctoral students from the United
States, Canada, Mexico, the countries of Central and South American and the Caribbean
who were chosen in an extremely rigorous selection process to receive $78,000 scholarships
in 2002.
"It is a great credit to what the University of Florida is doing in training its Ph.D. students
that two of them were selected in the same year," says Gary Machlis, a National Parks Service
visiting senior scientist and coordinator of the Canon program.
Machlis says 110 scholarship proposals were winnowed down in a scientific review
"equivalent to a very competitive National Science Foundation grant." The American
Association for the Advancement of Science recruited more than 40 scientists from through-
out the Americas to serve as volunteer reviewers, with the top proposals sent to AAAS
headquarters in Washington, D.C. for a two-day final review.
"The criteria are scientific merit, scientific creativity and application to park conserva-
tion," Machlis says. "While at least some of the research has to be done in a national park,
the value to the park is not the only priority. We also want these students to use our national
parks as laboratories to expand human knowledge. It's very much science for parks and parks
for science."

Raised in Alabama, Ashley Morris earned her bachelor's degree from the University of the
South in Sewanee, Tenn., and her master's degree from the University of Tennessee, and she
says feels "a special connection" with Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
"It is an amazing place, with a diversity that is almost as great as the tropics," Morris says
of the thickly forested park that encompasses 800 square miles along the Tennessee-North
Carolina border.
Now Morris is using her beloved mountains as a living laboratory to study the effect
global warming may have on forests throughout the eastern United States.
Morris was one of a handful of students who followed botanists Doug and Pam Soltis to
the University of Florida from Washington State University to establish a new program in
plant genetics.
She says she developed an interest in quaternary paleoecology -the study of Ice Age
ecosystems and environments -while working on her master's degree at the University of
Tennessee. Two professors there, Paul and Hazel Delcourt, had conducted significant
research on the historic ranges of modern trees using pollen found in core samples from the
bottom of lakes.
But this approach worked only for species whose pollen is abundant and wind-borne.
Pines, for example, are well represented in the fossil pollen record, but orchids, which rely on
insects to spread their pollen, are not.
Another obstacle to the pollen approach is that the samples can be gathered only from
old, deep lakes.


"The Smokies are very diverse,
floristically," Morris says, "but there is
very little fossil pollen data from this
region because there are very few, if any,
of the deep, still lakes that you need to
get the core samples. Most of the water
in the Smokies is in rocky, fast-moving
So Morris is applying her expertise
in population genetics to try to confirm
what the pollen record shows and to
develop a method of extending
understanding of ancient ecosystems to
more species in more areas.
By performing DNA sequencing on
samples of four species of trees that are
common across the eastern United
States American beech, witch-hazel,
anise and sweetgum -Morris hopes to
create a genetic "family tree of trees."
It is a massive data-collection effort.
Morris has mapped the ranges of the
four species and selected 30 to 50
evenly distributed sites across the
eastern United States. She intends to
collect and analyze up to 30 samples for
each of the four species from each of
the sites.
"How I collect samples will affect
results," she says. "This is a particu-
larly comprehensive undertaking.
Usually, the availability of samples
drives where they are collected from.
The researcher relies on people to
send them samples from various
In the laboratory the DNA in
Morris' samples is reflected on her
computer in a seemingly endless
progression of the letters A, G, T and
C -the initials for the four base
nucleotides that make up DNA:
adenine, guanine, thymine and
Fifty years after James Watson and
Francis Crick used a Tinkertoy-like
model with pieces labeled A, G, T

and C to create the double-helix
structure of DNA, Morris employs
sophisticated computer software to
compare the DNA of different samples
and highlight where they differ.
"If I sequence enough samples, and
get enough variation from region to
region, I can get structure to the data,"
she says. "I can create a phylogenetic
tree and determine which individuals
came first. Ultimately you can show
the progression of changes."
Morris pulls out a grid that looks
just like the one genealogists use to map
a family's history, but instead of
grandma's name on one line and great-
grandma's on the next, it has different
variations of beech tree DNA.
The samples with less genetic
variation are assumed to be from
younger populations that haven't had
time to diversify as much as older
"By getting sequences from across
the country, we are actually retracing

time," she says. "As I tell my mother,
we are retracing the footsteps of these
Perhaps most exciting to Morris, the
National Park Service has agreed to
incorporate her work into ongoing
research it is performing on the effects
of temperature change on species
"The theory is that during the last
Ice Age, many of these species were
limited to river valleys, where there
were slightly different microclimates,
Morris says. "If that's true, everything
we have today came from those refugial
"By surveying the Smokies, where
we don't have good fossil data, we can
help to support or refute this theory,"
she adds. "If we can show that the river
canyons of the Smoky Mountains
served as glacial refuges, so may they
serve as greenhouse refuges as the Earth
heats up."
"The National Park Service has
already done research on what they
think would happen as temperatures
increase, but it is based on the
average habitat requirements of the
trees," Morris says. "By incorporat-
ing genetic data into their models,
we should be able to get a lot more
realistic picture of the effects of
global warming."
And a more accurate picture
could lead to better management
"For the National Park Service
and the Forest Service to make
management decisions, they have to
know how much diversity there will
be," Morris says. "If we can predict
Beech trees, for example, will be
limited as temperatures increase, we
may want to bank their genes for
future use.


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So far, NOAA has produced benthic
habitat maps for most of the Florida
Keys and the U.S. Virgin Islands, an
area Grober-Dunsmore knows well
after spending several years there with
the U.S. Geological Service's Biological
Resources Division. During that time,
and since she started her doctoral work
at UF Grober-Dunsmore has sampled
42 reefs around the island of St. John,
spending hundreds of hours underwater
counting the number of snapper,
grouper and grunt.
Her research has shown some
correlation between the abundance of
sea grass and the abundance offish, but
she adds that the number of fish around
St. John has been so depressed by
fishing, development and other stresses
that when she tried to apply her
theories to 22 other reefs, "my statistical
power to detect relationships was
Now she is looking to the less-
developed Turks and Caicos Islands
southeast of the Bahamas, an area she
says is just now being discovered as a
tourist destination.
"I was absolutely blown away by the
abundance of fish in the Turks and
Caicos compared to the Virgin Islands,"
Grober-Dunsmore says. "They have
more protected marine area per acre of
land than any other nation on Earth,
but their national park system is
threatened as development pressures
may cause legislators to take land out of
protection or ease restrictions.
Because benthic habitat maps do not
yet exist for the Turks and Caicos,
Grober-Dunsmore is having to create
them herself from aerial photographs.
She has to conduct fish surveys of the
area, as well.
"I couldn't do this research without
this scholarship," Grober-Dunsmore
says. "Boats, gas, air -all cost money.
"Marine protected areas are thought
by many to be an essential means of
conserving threatened marine species
and/or their habitats. Unfortunately,
there is a great deal of debate concern-

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Art Beyond Canvas
I. :M

For lly Cobb, art involves much more than nng a flat an It about
fabric, object and expressons From aon degn and u a construction to
multimedia entht corporate deo and a nt ound, Cobb mnoyo anr ambing
her talents in creanve and unique ways
'ItCs essential for atnsts to kno how to build something" say Cobb, a send year
mater's student in sculpture fom Athens, Ga Lately Cobb ham spent mud, of her
ninme focung on this principle, teaching a class on sculptue and ba joinery
techniques to Up art students
Cobb, who received her bachelor degree in textiles fom he Maryland Intute
College of Art, came to Up r pace to UF for a pae to work away om theatre and fashion At U
I have the freedom to be creative and explore my own idea," Cobb say, "not to
mennon that the weather here is wonderfi
This past samm er, Cobb was given the oppor nity to work with Up a Professor
April Flanders on Dlip./bsothrum Lru, asculpture of an oversized paper tapeworm
that addresses mnsmenm and its impact on the mironment She 60-oot-long
Ssculpore, which contains layers of imagery pulled from catalogs and hasFlanders
own store receipts sewn into the body, interacts with the viewer through an artist
book that relates the lifecycle of the tapeworm to he activities of consume er culture
'Much of my work on the project involved bringing the pages of he artit book
into space, says Cobb, who also drew upon her epernse in t ean to construct a oft
room' that surrounds the sculptue In the future, Cobb wonts DLp~y/psbotiLvum btr
to incorporate elements beyond the visual and tactile
I have already done some preliminary audi work for he project, experimenting
wi t he sounds of digestion and eanng says Cobb
Some of Cobbs other pro ects include Dstde ~io ofdHmsns, an audiovisul
showcase that respontonds tothe decontruction of home, and A Shot PppetP&y
G@thrg a oAkorgs, Barbamcra c mdHuw a puppet performance for which she
designed the costumes and sets After fishing he sculpture prom here in 204,
Cobb plans to find a teaching poston in art




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Passion Leads Doctoral

Candidate To Explore

Slave Life

After earning a bachelor's degree in
computer science from Ohio State
University and an MBA from Xavier
University, Antoinette Jackson had a
promising career as a business manager
with Lucent Technologies/AT&T.
But when she was recruited to pursue a
doctorate in business, Jackson realized that
she didn't want to spend the rest of her life
in the business world.
told me you have
to have a passion
for your subject to
pursue a Ph.D. and I
just didn't have that
passion for business,"
Jackson says. "The
more I thought about it, however, I realized that I
did have that passion for anthropology"
During the last four years, Jackson has pursued her passion initially sparked by an
interest in the Gullah/Geechee culture of South Carolina and Georgia by examining
African communities in plantation spaces beyond "slave" life portraits. She has specifically
focused on descendants of enslaved Africans and others associated with Snee Farm Plantation
in South Carolina and the Kingsley Plantation community in Jacksonville, Florida.
Jackson, who is also a McKnight Fellow, says she has always been interested in plantation
life from the African perspective, so she was thrilled when she got an opportunity to study
African communities associated with Snee Farm Plantation, a former rice plantation cur-
rently maintained by the National Park Service as the Charles Pinckney National Historic
Site in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
When the National Park Service wanted someone to do an ethnographic study of the
Kingsley Plantation, they contacted the University of Florida's anthropology department
based on previous research done at the site, most notably by archaeologist Charles Fairbanks,
and tapped Jackson's expertise based on her work in South Carolina.
"There has been considerable archaeological research done at the Kingsley Plantation,"
Jackson says, "but very little has been done with families in the community who are descen-
dents of the Kingsleys and persons they enslaved."
Jackson's research revolves around Anna Kingsley and her descendants. Anna, or Anta
Majigeen Ndiaye, was enslaved and purchased by Zephaniah Kingsley in Cuba in 1806 when


she was 13 years old. By the time she
arrived in Florida, she was pregnant
with the first of four children she was
to have with Zephaniah Kingsley.
"The central theme of the
Zephaniah Kingsley story is his
acknowledged spousal relationship
with Anta Majigeen Ndiaye, a West
African woman described as being of
royal lineage from the country of
Senegal," Jackson writes in a paper
about the Kingsleys. "According to
Zephaniah's own accounts, he married
Anna in accordance with her 'native'
customs and established a home with
her at his plantations in East Florida."
During this period Florida was still
under Spanish rule, which encouraged
the freeing of slaves and offered slaves
and free blacks considerably more
rights and privileges than in the
United States. After Zephaniah
Kingsley freed Anna Kingsley and
their children from slavery in 1811,
she managed much of the family's
interests and even owned slaves herself.
After Florida became a United
States territory in 1821, treatment of
slaves and former slaves became
increasingly oppressive. To protect his
family and his business interests,
Zephaniah Kingsley moved Anna, the
children and most of his plantation
operations to Haiti around 1837.
Zephaniah Kingsley died in 1843
and, after a series of legal challenges to
his will launched by European family
members, Anna and her family
inherited what remained of his
considerably depleted estate. She
returned to Florida in the 1850s, living
in the Jacksonville area until her death
in 1870.
"Anna's story is much different
from the Thomas Jefferson/Sally
Hemmings drama that has come to
typify master/slave/mistress relation-
ships of the time," Jackson says. "She
understood power very well, and more

Antoinette Jackson at the Kingsley Plantation on

Fort George Island near Jacksonville.

importantly she understood how to
manipulate power. Anna consciously
used her knowledge, her beauty and her
position to secure a future for herself
and her children."
Jackson says her research, much of it
oral history, reveals that Anna Kingsley
"left a very precious legacy. She left
children and grandchildren who have
gone on to contribute much to Florida
life, history and culture, and much to
the history of Africans in America."
The Kingsley plantation community
today, Jackson says, "is embedded in the
fabric of everyday life in Jacksonville and
the surrounding communities in
northeast Florida. It extends well
beyond the Fort George Island site to
include all the places where Kingsleys
descendents or others associated with
the Kingsley community live or have
migrated to."
Among the many prominent
descendents of Zephaniah and Anna
Kingsley was Mary F Sammis-Lewis, a
great granddaughter who married
Abraham Lincoln Lewis in 1884. A.L.

Lewis was one of the founders of the
Afro-American Life Insurance Com-
pany and became one of the richest
men in Florida during the 1920s.
Other descendents include Dr.
Johnnetta Betsch Cole, a great grand-
daughter of Mary F Sammis-Lewis,
and the former president of Spelman
College in Adanta, and her sister,
MaVynee Betsch, a prominent Florida
It obviously is a profoundly moving
story," Johnnetta Betsch Cole told
Jackson. "It's also a story which in my
view has extraordinary complexity and
Jackson says she hopes "to inform
people, and make the plantation more
real" through her research, which she
hopes will result in a book and an
interpretive display at the Kingsley
Plantation site.
"It's great to have a research project
that can be used toward my disserta-
tion and that I can get funded for
also," she says.



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Pet Lovers More


Loving an animal can actually bring
out the finer, more altruistic side of your
nature, a new University of Florida study
People with a close attachment to
their pets indicated a greater willingness
to help other people than owners who
kept their animals at arm's length, said
Frederic Desmond, a UF graduate
student who did the research for his
doctoral dissertation in psychology.
"Pet owners often are very adept at
knowing the difference between their
pet's various needs," said Desmond, who
teaches math and science at Lincoln
Middle School in Gainesville. "They
know when the pet has to go to the
bathroom as opposed to when it is
hungry or scared.

"It's a lot like what mothers do with
young children," Desmond said. "They
learn very quickly what their baby is
thinking and feeling based on the baby's
body language and the way the baby
cries. Many mothers can instantly tell
the difference between a cry of frustra-
tion and a cry of pain."
The study is important because it
gives people another good reason to
adopt a pet from organizations such as
the Humane Society. It also provides
additional support for having pets in the
household and teaching children how to
care for animals, he said.
Desmond surveyed 174 students
enrolled in three large undergraduate UF
psychology classes about their experiences
with pets, asking detailed questions about
each respondent's closest pet relationship
and how it affected their attitudes,
feelings and behavior.

Although the study found a moderate
connection between close relationships
with pets and increased tendency toward
helping others, a major aim of the study
was to examine how and why this
increased helpfulness comes about.
"Understanding your pet's view of the
world gives you warm feelings toward
the animal -but you're not going to
stop with those feelings," he said. "You're
going to follow through with some kind
of action such as feeding it, taking it for
a walk or comforting it if it is upset."
Desmond believes that same pattern
of feeling empathy toward a pet and then
acting to help the animal carries over to
relationships with other humans.
"We see someone who needs help,
empathize with their plight and then
assist them," he said.



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Creating Stewards of the Discipline
While there are many reasons to offer Ph.D. training, one of the major purposes should be
to create "stewards of the discipline." The Carnegie Foundation Initiative on the Doctorate
describes such a person as one who can "creatively generate new knowledge, critically conserve
valuable and useful ideas, and responsibly transform those understandings through writing,
teaching, and application."
Stewards must also understand how a discipline fits into the intellectual and technological
environment of contemporary society. They must have a reasonable understanding of the
important questions and paradigms of other disciplines and how these disciplines interface with
their own. Occasionally one discipline develops new understanding and insights or develops a
new technology that outpaces other disciplines. The challenge for scientists and scholars is to
stay abreast of developments in other disciplines and to apply them when appropriate to their
field of study.
Although the doctorate is the paramount degree, the University of Florida hopes that all of
its graduate students will be stewards of their disciplines. Doctoral and master's students
contribute in countless ways to the research and teaching enterprise of the institution, and
obtain critical knowledge and skills they then use to enrich the lives of the people they serve.
The texture of the university is seen by its many degrees and disciplines, but its strength
comes from the students and the faculty who represent them.

Kenneth J. Gerhardt, Ph.D.
Associate Dean

U 1 UNIVERSITY OF Non-profit
S 4F a LOI Organization
F-onoring the past, shaping the future U.S. Postage
E News For & About PAID
University of Florida Gainesville, FL
SEXL Graduate Students Permit No. 94

Box 115515
Gainesville, FL 32611-5515

Kris Col lna.n
I ",th1 1-' 1
'p i r i r. .
1.11, [I 1 .11
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