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Student Researcher Conducting Study at a West Michigan Biological Field Station l Pierce Cedar Creek Institute l For Environmental Education

Past Undergraduate and Graduate Research Projects and Reports

The following is a list of our past research projects with detailed descriptions and citations for review. For any questions or concerns, please contact Dr. Sara Parr Syswerda, education director, at (269) 721-4434.

Peer-Reviewed Publication List

List of Student and Faculty Presentations


Ajala, O., Zuhorski, A., and Swanson, B. 2015. The factors affecting infestation of Canada thistle by Urophora cardui. Central Michigan University.


Bradke, D., Kudla, N., Bartman, J., Breitenbach, S., and Moore, J. 2015. 2015 Abundance and Density Estimates of Eastern Massasaugas at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Grand Valley State University. Report.


Breitenbach, S. 2015. Snake fungal disease. Plainwell High School.

Christoffersen, H., and Krieger, P. 2015. Knock, Knock, Who’s There? Gordon Art Fellow Report. Grand Rapids Community College. Report.


Cooley, O., Preville, N., and Snyder, E. 2015. A post dam-removal aquatic assessment of High Bank Creek in comparison to Cedar Creek. Grand Valley State University. Report.  

D’Addario, T., and Childress, S. 2015. Cedar Creek: A series of linked short stories. Nature in Words Fellow. Hope College. Report

Lambert, W., Lozon, D., and Keys, R. 2015. The influence of habitat and landscape associations on breeding birds in managed grasslands of Southwest Michigan. Cornerstone University. Report.  

Kinney, A., and Siebers, A.M. 2015. Children in Nature: An Exploration. Nature in Words Fellow. Western Michigan University. Report

Simon, N., Swets, J., and Laureto, P. 2015. The effects of purple loosestrife on wetland biodiversity and the impacts of biocontrol insects. Grand Rapids Community College. Report.  

Smit, K., Tubergen, P., and Dornbos, D. 2015. The influence of autumn olive on its rhizosphere soil chemistry and neighboring plant community composition. Calvin College. Report.  

Stoller, P., and Bugajski, K. 2015. How predator presence influences blow fly oviposition through chemical and visual cues. Valparaiso University. Report.


Bartman, J., Kudla, N., and Moore, J. 2014. Mark recapture population study of the eastern massasauga rattlesnake: Effects of prey abundance on habitat use. Grand Valley State University. Report.  

Buehler, D., Buehler, M., and Prendeville, H. 2014. Examining the Comparative Fitness of the American Bellflower (Campanulastrum americanum) in a Novel Environment. Western Michigan University, Hastings High School, and University of Virginia. Report.  

Cnossen, L., and Douglas, M. 2014. The biodiversity of aquatic, semi-aquatic, and near-shore bugs at the Institute to compare their grooming and cleaning behavior. Grand Rapids Community College.  

Cunningham-Rhoads, B., Gribbin, W., and Girdler, B. 2014. Anything but Knaptime—A Study of Invasive Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea stoebe Asteraceae). Kalamazoo College. Report.  

Ellison, S., and Swanson, B. 2014. Estimated raccoon (Procyon lotor) density with track-plate foot-printing. Central Michigan University. Report.  

Grady, M., and Douglas, M. 2014. Biodiversity Survey of Spiders at PCCI and Study of Sexual Size Dimorphism in Order Araneae. Grand Rapids Community College. Report  

Hallinen, M., and Seuss, D. 2014. Understory Science: Poems and Brief Essays. Nature in Words Fellow. Kalamazoo College. Report.

Jensen, J., and Laureto, P. 2014. Ordination and Classification of Mesic Hardwood Forests at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Grand Rapids Community College. Report

Kemper, J., Bayha, A., and Fraser, A. 2014. Assessing the impacts of European honeybees (Apis mellifera) on native bees in prairie ecosystems. Kalamazoo College. Report.  

Ruso, C., and Krieger, P. 2014. The Beauty Beneath. Gordon Art Fellow. Grand Rapids Community College. Report.  

Schlutt, P., and Dail Whiting, P. 2014. Communion in the Wilderness. Nature in Words Fellow. Aquinas College. Report.  

Sterling, D., Poyner, C., and Swanson, B. 2014. Distribution, rate of expansion and subspecific make-up of Phragmites australis at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Central Michigan University. Report.   

Taylor, H., Bennett, S., Locher, A., and Aschenbach, T. 2014. Modeling the Presence of Exotic Invasive Shrubs in West Michigan Forests Based on Habitat Characteristics. Grand Valley State University. 

Wing, A.J., Isles, K., and Kourtev, P. 2014. The relationship between ecosystem diversity and function focused on the leaves of the northern pitcher plant (S. purpurea) as a model system. Central Michigan University. Report.


Bishop, T., and Davis, B. 2013. Gordon Art Fellow. Western Michigan University. Presentation and Report.


Bradke, D., Kiel, B., and Moore, J. 2013. Population Demography of Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes in Relation to Habitat Management. Grand Valley State University. Report.


Burnsvold, S., Marley, K., and Aljobeh, Z. 2013. Dynamic Water Quality Model for Brewster Lake—Simulation Phase. Valparaiso University. Report.


Cushman, D., Johnson, T., and Keys, R. 2013. Using Electronic Field Recordings to Increase the Accuracy of Point Counts by Field Observers. Cornerstone University. Report.


DeVries, C., and Laureto, P. 2013. A Study of Invasive Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea stoebe Asteraceae) in the Restored Prairies at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Grand Rapids Community College. Report.


Faydenko, J., Butler, L., and Swanson, B. 2013. Interconnectedness of Nymphal and Adult Dragonfly Populations. Central Michigan University. Presentation and Report.


Finch, E., and Proppe, D. 2013. Temporal Modification of Songbird Singing Behavior in the Presence of Punctuated Noise Events. Calvin College.


Gabriel, L., and Swanson, B. 2013. Impact of Anthropogenic Disturbance on Snake Population Structure. Central Michigan University. Report.


Gilginas, J., Harvey, M., Jacquot, J., and Keenlance, P. 2013. Spatial Ecology of Raccoons at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, in Relation to Raccoon Latrine Sites Know Foci for the Spread of Baylisascaris procyonis, Raccoon Roundworm. Grand Valley State University. Presentation and Report.


Harris, D., Geleynse, K., and Dornbos, D. 2013. Development of a GIS Model to Optimize the Gross Primary Productivity of Terrestrial Plant Communities and the Potential to Store Carbon in Soils at PCCI. Calvin College. Report.


Jacobs, C., and Hendershott-Kraetzer, K. 2013. Nature, Global Justice, and the Creative Writer. Nature in Words Fellow. Olivet College. Report.


Leonard, S., Meppelink, J., Keenlance, P., and Jacquot, J. 2013. Distribution and prevalence of Baylisascaris procyonis in Raccoon Populations in Allegan and Barry Counties. Grand Valley State University. Report.


Argueta, G., and Aljobeh, Z. 2012. Dynamic Water Quality Model Development for Brewster Lake. Valparaiso University. Report.


Belew, K., and Seuss, D. 2012. But That Was In A Different Life. Nature in Words Fellow. Kalamazoo College. Report.


Betts, J., and Dornbos, D. 2012. Productivity of gramineae species from nitrogen produced by autumn olive and cowpea grown in soils of differing quality. Calvin College. Report.


DeMuro, M., Rossi, M., Jacquot, J., and Keenlance, P. 2012. Prevalence and Distribution of Baylisascarsis procyonis in Raccoon Populations at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Barry County, MI. Grand Valley State University. Report.


Faydenko, J., McVay, T., and Swanson, B. 2012. Population structure of the dragonfly Sympetrum obtrusum at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Central Michigan University. Report.


Graeff, A., Huisman, K., and Laureto, P. 2012. Hybridization dynamics of invasive cattail (Typhaceae) stands at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute: A molecular analysis. 2012. Grand Rapids Community College. Report.


Guiliani, L., and Davis, B. 2012. Hijacking nature: When little things add up. Gordon Art Fellow. Western Michigan University. Presentation.


Kalmbach, C., and Fanning, R. 2012. Nature in Words Fellow. Central Michigan University. Report.


Oosterhouse, J.D., Vander Geld, A.L., and Keys, R. 2012. Analysis of vegetative structure in the choice of nesting habitat by midwestern songbirds. Cornerstone University. Report.


Sheikh, E., and Douglas, M. 2012. Biodiversity, phenology, and thermoregulatory strategies of odonates at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Grand Rapids Community College. Report.


Smith, N.C., and Fraser, A. 2012. Detection of iridoids in snapdragons and methods to observe effects of toxic nectar on pollination behavior of bumblebees. Kalamazoo College. Report.


Wald, M., and Fraser, A. 2012. Effects of simulated herbivory on cardenolide levels in Asclepias syriaca and consequences for butterfly pollinators. Kalamazoo College. Report.

Armagost, J.E., Johnson, A.C., and Malcolm, S. 2011. Temporal and spatial changes in monarch butterfly population synchrony in Michigan and density-dependent influences on the incidence of the protozoan parasite, Ophryocystis elektroscirrha. Western Michigan University. 


Berigan, K., Poirer, B., and Bajema, R. 2011. Comparison of ant (Lasius neoniger and Prenolepis imparis) nesting sites at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute and the influence of temperature on L. neoniger activity. 2011. Aquinas College. Report.


Brand, R., and Davis, B. 2011. Near Nature. Gordon Art Fellow. Western Michigan University. Report.


Cannan, M.J., Hillman, T.L., Keenlance, P., Jacquot, J., and Henshaw, M.T. 2011. Southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) den site selection and genetic relatedness of summer nesting groups. Grand Valley State University. Report.


Egerer, M., and Girdler, B. 2011. On the Edge: Imperiled butterfly monitoring in Southwest Michigan. Kalamazoo College. Report.


Herakovich, H., and Eberhardt, L. 2011. The quantification of autumn olive’s (Elaeagnus umbellata) structure and its effect on bird behavior. Valparaiso University. Report.

Menz, S., and Wendt, M. 2011. A Creative and Critical Study of the Natural World. Nature in Words Fellow. Alma College. Report.


Messenger, J., Freeman, A., and Douglas, M. 2011. Butterfly insect parasitoid fauna at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Grand Rapids Community College. Report.


Rowe, L., Stevens, J., and Malcolm, S. 2011. Hostplant-derived cardenolide fingerprints as labels of spring migration strategy and a test of the “oogenesis-flight syndrome” in monarch butterfly arrivals to Michigan. Western Michigan University. Report.


Sefton, L, McColl, C., and Swanson, B. 2011. Species diversity and richness of prairies at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Central Michigan University. Report.


VanderGeld, A., Oosterhouse, J., and Keys, R. 2011. The effects of trophic cascading by Odocoileus virginianus on breeding songbird populations. Cornerstone University. Report.




Alverson, D., Crane, S., and Sotherland, P. 2010. Variation of roost site selection observed in Myotis lucifugus at PCCI. Kalamazoo College. Report.


Auer, D., Kuipers, D., Woolnough, D., and Zanatta, D. 2010. Pelecypod and gastropod communities at PCCI: variation in understudied organisms. Central Michigan University. Report.

Bayci, M., Fraser, A., and Sotherland, P. 2010. Effects of a neonicotinoid insecticide on eggs and larval stages of the green frog. Kalamazoo College. Report.


Cummings, A., Williams, J., and Gill, S. 2010. Understanding the behavioral and physiological consequences of life in the city: A comparison of urban and rural chipping sparrows. Western Michigan University. Report.


Engerer, K., Aljobeh, Y., and Aljobeh, Z. 2010. Autumn olive impacts on the soil and water quality of the PCCI ecosystem. 2010. Valparaiso University. Report.

Gibson, A., Villalobos, L., and Snyder, E. 2010. Ecosystem responses to dam removal: assessment of algae, macroinvertebrates, fish, community metabolism, and physical habitat recovery 1 year post-removal. Grand Valley State University. Report.

Kauff, R., and Colley, B. 2010. Drawing from the Land. Gordon Art Fellow. Grand Valley State University.


MacLeod, A., Snyder, C., and Koretsky, C. 2010. Comparison of urban/suburban lakes and rural lakes for eutrophication and salinity. Western Michigan University. Report.

Oldenkamp, R., and Douglas, M. 2010. Arthropod defense communities of the bracken fern, Pteridium aquilinum. Grand Rapids Community College. Report.

Redemsky, R., and Wilterding, J. 2010. Biological inventory of macro moths of PCCI (Lepidoptera noctuioidea). Olivet College. Report.


Rentschler, S., Bouma, C., and Dornbos, D. 2010. Relationship between nitrogen fixation rate, apparent photosynthesis rate, and chlorophyll content of autumn olive and potential impacts on the competitiveness of cohabitating native plant species. Calvin College. Report .


Boersma, S., Wiersma, A., and Dornbos, D. 2009. Carbon assimilation and its variation among plant communities. Calvin College. Report.


Borek, K., and Silvieus, S. 2009. DNA barcoding of Quercus sp. at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute using the matK gene. Aquinas College. Report.


Boroski, K., and Aljobeh, Z. 2009. Impacts of the invasive species Elaeagnus umbellata on the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute ecosystem soil and water quality. Aquinas College. Report .


Caldwell, C., and Snyder, E. 2009. Response of chemicophysical variables and macroinvertebrate communities to the presence and drawdown of a low-head dam. Grand Valley State University. Report.


Houghton, D., Soley, C., and Eberhardt, L. 2009. The impacts of an invasive shrub, autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata), on behavior and nesting success of American robins (Turdus migratorius) and northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis). Valparaiso University. Report.


McLaughlin, L., Seeley, S., and Henshaw, M. 2009. Prey preferences in three species of Polistes found in Michigan: P. fuscatus, P. dominulus and P. metricus. Grand Valley State University. Report.


Mills, Z., and Dunn, J. 2009. Factors that determine distribution of butterflies within complex prairie habitats at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, Barry County, MI. Grand Valley State University. Report.

Powell, C., and Swanson, B. 2009. Effects of camera and bait type on a carnivore survey. Central Michigan University. Report.


Sindorf, V., Vande Zande, P., and Keys, R. 2009. The utilization of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) trails by vertebrates as a means of traversing gaps in landscape matrices. Cornerstone University. Report.


Vander Hyde, J., Fleser, A., and Bajema, R. 2009. Colonization of substrate in lotic ecosystems on the macro and micro scale. Aquinas College. Report.



Arnosky, S., and Fraser, A. 2008. Native bee diversity of Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Kalamazoo College. Report.


Baziari, F., and Cowan, D. 2008. Development and behavioral ecology of Tetrasticus jonsoni (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae). Western Michigan University. Report.


Burton, S., Weeks, D., Fouty, R., and Lodewyk, R. 2008. Factors influencing calling male green frogs at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Grand Valley State University, Western Michigan University, and Aquinas College.Report.


Fish, M., Menerey, M., and Bieneman, P. 2008. Nocturnal thermal stratification in selected valleys at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute and Conklin, Michigan. Aquinas College. Report.


Hesselink, R., and Dornbos, D. 2008. Characterization of the physiological competitiveness of autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata). Calvin College.Report.


Holderread, A., and Aljobeh, Z. 2008. Water quality and hydrology in the Cedar Creek watershed within the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute property. Valparaiso University. Report.

Hovey, J. 2008. A landscape history of Pierce Cedar Creek Institute from pre-Columbian times to the present. Western Michigan University. Report.

Krintz, M., and Eberhardt, L. 2008. The effects of autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) on breeding bird nest predation and activity at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Valparaiso University. Report.


Lodewyck, R., Fouty, R., Weeks, D., and Burton, S. 2008. Comparison of various population parameters for green frogs across three different wetland habitats at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Aquinas College, Western Michigan University, and Grand Valley State University. Report.


McMartin, K., and Malcolm, S. 2008. Defense expression in the aphid Myzocallis asclepiadis. Western Michigan University. Report.


Norris, R., and Jacquot, J. 2008. Morphological and habitat differentiation between Peromyscus leucopus and P. maniculatusReport.


Schumacher, K., and Swanson, B. 2008. Identifying hybrids of Peromyscus leucopus and P. maniculatus in Michigan using molecular genetics. Central Michigan University. Report.


Stephens, J., and McCurdy, D. 2008. Parasitism and stress levels in green frogs, Rana clamitans, in Western Michigan. Albion College. Report.



Dunham, T., and Rohrer, T. 2007. Impacts of acid precipitation and buffering on two lotic ecosystems. Central Michigan University. Report.

Converse, P., and Rowe, J. 2007. Activity, body temperature variation and movements of the midland painted turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata). Alma College. Report.


Edwards, K., and Dornbos, D. 2007. Characterization of the competitiveness of autumn olive in a mature forest. Calvin College. Report.


Emery, B., Taylor, M., and Morris, G. 2007. Ozone data analysis and source partitioning. Valparaiso University. Report.

Finger, J., and Eberhardt, L. 2007. Mapping and testing a possible control method for garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata). Valparaiso University. Report.


Ginnons, K., and Swanson, B. 2007. Effect of fragmentation on isolation of salamanders in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Central Michigan University. Report.


Hathaway, B., and Klatt, P. 2007. A survey of the breeding birds at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Ferris State University. Report.


Koperski, C., and Dunn, J. 2007. Lepidopterans and Hemipterans and their use as prairie bioindicators. Grand Valley State University. Report.


Paladino, A., and Keys, R. 2007. Effects of potential habitat fragmentation by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) on raccoon (Procyon lotor) home range. Cornerstone University. Report.


Roshanmanesh, J., and Swanson, R. 2007. An investigation into mouse-ear cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) flowering schedule and pollination mechanism. Valparaiso University. Report.


Soper, M., and Silveus, S. 2007. Formation of Pierce Cedar Creek Institute interactive tree key for common plants along trails. Aquinas College. Report.


Warren, D., and Jacquot, J. 2007. Home range dynamics of meadow jumping mice (Zapus hudsonius). Grand Valley State University. Report.


Weeks, D., and Burton, S. 2007. Is territorial behavior in green frogs (Rana clamitans) related to defending oviposition sites or protection from predators? Grand Valley State University. Report.


Wohlford, E., and Malcolm, S. 2007. Chemical defense dynamics in milkweed-aphid interactions. Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University. Report.


Weidenhaft, E., and Swarthout, D. 2007. Screening for drought tolerance in plant communities at PCCI. Hope College. Report.



Engers, W., and Bultman, T. 2006. Foraging habits of Neoantistea magna (Araneae: Hahniidae). Hope College. Report.


Fleischmann, E., and Keys, R. 2006. Effects of environmental variables on plant communities in a ravine system in Southwest Michigan. Cornerstone University. Report.


Gardner, D., and Bultman, T. 2006. Natural history and reproductive biology of a Hahniid spider in Southwestern Michigan. Hope College. Report.


Gleave, P., and Wilterding, J., III. 2006. Preliminary inventory of the moth fauna of the fen and cedar swamp complexes at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Olivet College. Report.


Goedhart, J., and Warners, D. 2006. Assessment of prairie pot transplants as a restoration tool. Calvin College. Report.


Griffiths, L, Sturm, R., and Jensen, E. 2006. An analytical study of heavy metal concentrations in soils at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Aquinas College. Report.

Heys, B., and Keys, R. 2006. The potential habitat fragmentation caused by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and its impact on nest predation. Albion College. Report.


Higgins, J., and Bajema, R. 2006. Characterizing the physical and biological environments of the lotic ecosystems of Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Aquinas College. Report.

Honsowitz, A., and Rohrer, T. 2006. Post-glacial palynology and paleoecology of the Brewster Lake basin, Barry County, Michigan as determined by evaluation of sediment cores. Central Michigan University. Report

Hunt, D., and Kohler, S. 2006. The effect of habitat condition on the abundance of freshwater copepods. Western Michigan University. Report.


Kammer, K., and Klatt, P. 2006. A survey of breeding birds present at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Ferris State University. Report.


Lupek, M., and McCurdy, D. 2006. Stress levels in green frogs in relation to colonization by a waterborne pathogen. Albion College. Report.


Ritsema, M., and Dornbos, D. 2006. Characterization of the photosynthetic competitiveness of autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata). Calvin College.Report.



Baylis, D., Van Strien, L., and Bajema, R. 2005. A survey of macroinvertebrates of the lentic and lotic ecosystems of Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Aquinas College. Report.


Broderick, M., and Jensen, E. 2005. Water Chemistry of Brewster Lake, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Aquinas College. Report.


DeWitt, D., and Bultman, T. 2005. A comparison of cursorial arachnofauna at the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute and Hope College nature preserve. Hope College. Report.


Haydon, J., and Jacquot, J. 2005. Effects of tree-of-heaven toxins on rodent herbivory. Grand Valley State University. Report.


Honsowitz, A., and Rohrer, T. 2005. Bathymetric mapping and baseline limnological study of Brewster Lake, Barry County, Michigan. Central Michigan University. Report.


Krum, K., and McCurdy, D. 2005. Prevalence of Aeromonas hydrophilia in frogs and toads at the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Albion College. Report.


McCarthy, P., and Rowe, J. 2005. Activity and movement of stinkpot turtles at Brewster Lake. Alma College. Report.

Muter, B., and Strasser, K. 2005. Effect of walking trails on the community of macroinvertebrates in grassland and forest habitats. Ferris State University. Report.

Sprague, K., and McCurdy, D. 2005. Microhabitat selection by Plethodontid salamanders at the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Albion College. Report.


Van Portfliet, M., and Denning, R. 2005. Pierce Cedar Creek Institute GIS development – final report. Grand Valley State University. Report.


Walker, C., and Keys, R. 2005. An analysis of habitat structure and corridor connectivity for wildlife at the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. Cornerstone University. Report.