Newsletter 2017-1 June 20, 2017
SUMMER IS HERE!
Dear Alumni and Friends,
We have had an amazing spring, full of accomplishments, awards, and recognitions for our students and faculty. This newsletter continues to demonstrate the strong impact of your contributions on the education and professional development of our dedicated students. Thank you for your continued support of the Department!
Bob Thacker, Chair
|At the 2017 Commencement (left to right): Chair Bob Thacker, M.A. graduate Mariah Donohue, B.S. graduate Faraj Lakhana, and M.A. graduate Alicia Lamb.
Please send any alumni news for the next newsletter to
Honors, Awards, Events, Passages
Krishna Veeramah and
Mike Bell have just been awarded an NIH grant to study the role of standing genetic variation in strong episodes of natural selection under field conditions in stickleback populations. They will be characterizing allele frequency trajectories by sequencing the whole genomes from a time-series of Threespine Stickleback from recently colonized freshwater lakes in Alaska.This 1.95 million dollar award will support them for 5 years.
has recently received a grant from the Leakey Foundation. Our Congratulations to Brenna!
The Ecology and Evolution Department continues to be a major center for texts in our field.
Doug Futuyma has just produced a new 4th edition of his important text,
Evolution, published by Sinauer Associates. With this edition he has brought Mark Kirkpatrick on board as a coauthor. Congratulations Doug.
Jeff Levinton has also produced a new 5th edition of his text
Marine Biology: Function, Biodiversity, Ecology, which will be in print July 15, published by Oxford University Press.
student of Liliana Davalos
has won a highly competitive AAUW Graduate Fellowship.
Liliana Davalos has her research on estimations of recovery rate of endangered bat populations highlighted on the NSF Web Site.
, student of
has just received tenure at Union College, Schenactady, New York. Roman is a theoretical and field population geneticist.
The Council of the American Genetic Association has awarded Marisa Lim a 2017 Evolutionary, Ecological, or Conservation Genomics (EECG) Research Award for $8,000 to support her project, "Molecular basis of hummingbird distributions in the high Andes". Marisa is a student of Catherine Graham.
Cedric Wesley, former student of
Walter Eanes is Co-Founder of Assured Science Exchange, Inc.
, former student of
, has gone on to a distinguished career in conservation of coral reefs, and is now thick in the fight to save National Monuments including the enormous NW Hawaiian Islands preserve. He is Director of the Kewalo Marine Lab in Oahu.
Here is his plea for more marine protection
, after Bob visited one of his old sites in the Caribbean and discovered the devastation of the reef.
Melissa Cohen, our dedicated Graduate Program Coordinator, has been awarded the Dean's Award for Excellence in Service to Graduate Education by a Graduate Program Coordinator!!! Our warm congratulations to Melissa!
Laurel Yohe, student of
Liliana Davalos has just successfully defended her Ph.D. Thesis. Laurel has also received the President's Award to Distinguished Doctoral Students!! Congrats Laurel! Well deserved!!
|Melissa Cohen (left) and Laurel Yohe (right) receive their awards from the Graduate School.
Alyssa Liguori, student of
Dianna Padilla, r
eceived The Crustacean Society best poster presentation at the recent Crustacean Society Meeting held in conjunction with SICB, entitled "Multigenerational responses to lowered pH in the copepod
Tigriopus californicus". Alyssa was also awarded $1000 from the American Microscopical Society for her research on the effects of ocean acidification on copepods.
Emily Rollinson, student of
Jessica Gurevitch, has accepted a tenure track position at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. Emily got her Ph.D. from our department last year and has been working in a research position at Applied Biomathematics in conservation ecology . ESU is an undergraduate-centered university that is part of the Pennsylvania State University system, and this is exactly the kind of academic position Emily was hoping for. Congratulations to Emily!
Elise Lauterbur and
Laurel Yohe received travel awards to the International Mammalogical Congress in Perth!, both students of
Liliana Davalos. They received 2 of the 4 travel awards available on campus and competed with 69 other applicants!
Lei ChenTseh Zhu, student of
Walt Eanes, has taken a position at Monsanto. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
, student of
has had an influential career in spatial statistics, risk analysis, and community epidemiology. Sadly he has early onset Alzheimer's Disease. We remember him at Stony Brook as a brilliant student and a fighter for environmental causes by use of his statistical talents. To see the deep impact of his work
see this link
Mary Alldred, a student of
Stephen Baines, who graduated in May 2015, just accepted a tenure track position as Assistant Professor at SUNY Plattsburgh.She's walking into a fully outfitted lab for doing wetland chemistry and biogeochemisty. Mary was a wonderful student, teacher and citizen of the department. Now she is a treasured colleague and a great source of pride. Congratulations Mary!!!
, student of
has been recently highlighted.
The piece relates to her research on developing DNA methylation measures of age. Congratulations Shyamie.
Keffy Kehrli, a Graduate Genetics Program student of
Josh Rest, has been awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Congratulations to Keffy!
We very sadly have lost former faculty member
Ted Battley and Ph.D. alumnus
Irv Kornfield. See our tributes below.
Your Contributions Do So Much!
In this ever tightening time for research funding, our friends and alumni do so much by supporting our Graduate Student Research Funds. The Lawrence B. Slobodkin fund supports graduate student research in ecology. The Robert R. Sokal fund supports studies in evolution and biometry. The George C. Williams fund supports research in behavior and evolutionary studies. Your contributions have funded many students this past year. Here are a few vignettes.
Marisa Lim, George C. Williams Award
This year, I received a George C. Williams Award, which has helped me to collect genomic data for my last dissertation chapters. The focus
of my dissertation is to investigate the genetic basis for high altitude adaptation in Andean hummingbirds. At first look, the harsh physical conditions of the Andes and demanding physiological constraints of hummingbirds seem at odds with the wide distribution and abundance of hummingbird species at high altitudes. However, several studies suggest that highland species are well adapted to these challenges. In particular, new genomic methods are revealing specific amino acid changes, genes, and pathways involved in adaptation to survival in high altitude environments. I have been fortunate to receive the Williams Award twice since coming to E&E. Last year, the award funded my travels to the North American Ornithological Conference in Washington DC to present dissertation research.
This year, my Williams Award is contributing towards the cost of collecting high-throughput DNA sequencing data for low and high altitude populations of four Peruvian hummingbird species. I have previously gathered sequence data for 12 hummingbird species, but needed to expand my research to examine population genetic structure across an elevational gradient. As the scale of my sampling grew, so did the cost of this type of labwork. The Williams Award was certainly an essential source of funds to make these chapters possible! With this dataset, I am testing for genetic adaptation to high altitude in Andean hummingbird populations accounting for demographic history and parallel evolution across populations that independently colonized the highlands. These findings will have applications for other highland species that evolved under similar environmental circumstances in other parts of the world, and also form a foundation for my own future research - thus, the gift keeps on giving! Investigating how organisms evolved to live under challenging conditions, such as high altitudes, advances our knowledge of the mechanisms of evolution and the units on which evolution acts, in addition to providing targets for future research on highland system physiology, ecology, and evolution.
Casey Youngflesh, Robert R. Sokal Award
My dissertation research is focused on understanding how shifting environmental conditions are impacting the Southern Ocean ecosystem. The majority of this work seeks to better understand the role that physical forcing plays in seabird breeding phenology, population processes, and food web dynamics. In the Antarctic, even among relatively well-researched species, such as Pygoscelis penguins, a detailed understanding of trophic interactions remains elusive.
With the support supplied by the Stony Brook University Department of Ecology and Evolution Sokal Award for Statistical Biology, I and my labmate Michael Schrimpf are working to resolve some of these current knowledge gaps in Antarctic ecology. Using DNA metabarcoding techniques, we are working to quantify the diet of Antarctic seabirds, principally gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) and Antarctic shags (Phalacrocorax atriceps). This will help determine how seabird diet varies across the Antarctic Peninsula region, and how this variation might be related to oceanographic conditions. Answers to these questions could help us better understand how physical environmental change in the region may be impacting food web dynamics.
To quantify diet in these Antarctic indicator species, Youngflesh and Schrimpf have extracted DNA from a large number of guano samples collected from the field. This DNA will be sent off to a lab and sequenced using next-generation technology. The idea behind the DNA metabarcoding approach is to sequence all prey species DNA present in these guano samples. This information can then be used to identify which prey species these birds are eating and in what proportions. These data can then be used to determine which areas certain prey items are most common, and if character displacement is occurring where multiple species are breeding in the same location. DNA metabarcoding provides a minimally invasive, cost-effective way of quantifying diet over large geographic areas, which the team hopes will help them better resolve high-level trophic interactions in the Antarctic Peninsula region. We are now preparing the extracted DNA for sequencing and hope to have everything sent to the lab by the end of the month.
Bento Goncalves, Robert R. Sokal Award
My Sokal Award for Research in Statistical Biology for this year helped me to acquire a last generation graphics processor unit (GPU) to assist with the computational end of my thesis work on remote Antarctic pack ice seal detection with deep learning algorithms. Pack ice seals are key predators in the Southern Ocean (SO), one of the most productive regions in the planet. Especially relevant with recent climate change, the SO acts as a massive biological pump, sinking copious amounts of carbon and heat.
The functionality of the SO biological pump depends heavily on the ability of primary consumers to track sporadic algal blooms. Amongst those consumers, a small crustacean, Antarctic Krill (Euphausia superba) is especially important; krill is the main trophic link between primary producers and a wide range of upper tier consumers, from fish and penguins to seals and whales.
Tracking Antarctic krill remains one of the main problems of Antarctic ecology. Challenging our efforts to track Antarctic krill, however, is its small size and patchy distribution. One way to circumvent those difficulties is to use krill predator abundances as a proxy for krill abundance. Antarctic pack-ice seals, a group of four species of true seals (Phocidae), are a promising vehicle to gauge krill stocks for they are not only a key krill consumer but are also tied to land for breeding and molting and are large enough to be manually counted with high-resolution satellite imagery. A comprehensive pack-ice seal census would fill in a major gap in Antarctic ecology and provide key information to understand how the SO ecosystem will react to threats like sea ice loss and increasing krill fisheries.
Not surprisingly, using remote sensing imagery to manually count every seal in Antarctica is tremendously laborious, urging for the development automated solutions such as deep learning algorithms. Deep learning algorithms, or deep neural networks (DNNs), are special kinds of artificial neural networks (ANNs), with the caveat that DNNs have much more layers than a regular ANN. ANNs are a family of supervised learning models originally inspired by the functionality of brains - or however people thought brains worked in the early 40s - and have been successfully employed in tasks such as speech recognition and spam filtering. ANNs work by passing an input through a series of connected units stacked in layers (i.e. neurons), modifying the input as it runs down the stack and reaching a collective decision by the end of the stack; each neuron has a set of weights, which need to be progressively adjusted (i.e. trained) using a performance metric and group of labelled examples (training set).
Powered by the rise of GPUs and increasingly large datasets, deep learning is now at the forefront of artificial intelligence solutions, most notably, it represents the state of the art for computer vision algorithms. Curiously enough, this ascent of deep learning algorithms is largely accidental - GPUs were conceived to render 3D graphics for videogames, a task that involves a series of simple operations such as matrix multiplications. Though GPUs are increasingly more common in computational solutions, they are chiefly associated with the videogame industry. The fact that I could allocate my Sokal award to buy a last generation GPU showcases the flexibility, and importance, of the award to enable unorthodox projects such as mine.
NOW IS THE TIME TO GIVE A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE CONTRIBUTION TO ONE OF OUR GRADUATE STUDENT FUNDS
Thank you so much for considering this! See the contribution panel below.
Alumni and friends we hope you remember how important an early financial boost was in your graduate research.
donate to the
Lawrence Slobodkin Fund for Ecological Research
Give to the
George Williams Fund for Student Research
Ecology and Evolution Award for Student Excellence
How much? Suggested donations. Full professors: >= $250, Associate Professors: >= $100, Assistant Professors and Postdocs: >= $50 Please get used to giving annually. We need your help. Thanks so much!!
EE Alumni Spotlight
Toni Lynn Morelli
After Toni Lyn Morelli
nter and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Her research focuses on understanding the impacts of climate change on and developing climate adaptation strategies for wildlife and natural ecosystems, including projects focused on small and large mammals, forests, meadows, and invasive species, primarily in montane ecosystems. She has published nearly 40 scientific articles and her research has been featured on numerous media outlets, including NPR and Mother Jones. Learn more about her current work.
obtained her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution in 2007, focusing on lemur ecology and behavior, studying under Pat Wright. She was awarded an NSF Bioinformatics Postdoctoral Fellowship, based at UC Berkeley. There she was part of the Grinnell Resurvey Project, surveying mammal population shifts in the Sierra Nevada over the last century. She has also worked for the U.S. Forest Service, both as a Research Ecologist in California and as the Central Africa Technical Advisor in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her current role is as USGS Research Ecologist with the Northeast Climate Science Ce
EE Alumni Spotlight
Daniel Martinez Pursues the Secret of Immortality
Daniel Martinez worked as a student of Jeff Levinton, proving that a worm that reproduced asexually was mortal. He then analyzed a classic data set on planaria and showed that this organism, also, was mortal (in contrast to the author's interpretation). He then set on a major journey to uncover the mystery of immortality in
story is recounted in a wonderful cartoon video
produced by NPR, but here below is his story in his own words. His career is truly unique. He has taught at an elite undergraduate institution, while maintaining a career as a front-line researcher with major grants from NSF and NIH. One of his first papers was co-authored with Pomona undergraduates showing a strong difference in Hox genes in Cnidaria from other animals, and published in
Nature. Here is his "immortal" story:
"This is my 20th year as a biology professor at Pomona College. It is hard to believe that so many years have passed since I defended my dissertation at E&E! And I really mean defending, because that unforgettable afternoon in May of 1993, my dissertation committee-the dream team-grilled me for almost two hours while my mind wondered about the celebration party brewing outside that office. It was very scary to be probed by a group of notables: Jeff Levinton (my advisor and mentor), Doug Futuyma, Larry Slobodkin, James Thomson, George Williams, and Daniel Promislow.
I did not know it at the time, but that afternoon we were discussing the future of my research. My thesis included a chapter with data on the extremely low mortality rates of hydra and the very timid suggestion that hydra may be able to escape aging. Most of us in that room knew and accepted the established dogma: all animals age; no exceptions. Sir Peter Medawar had said it; George Williams had said it; and William D. Hamilton had provided the equations confirming that the force of selection declines with time since birth so aging was bound to e
volve. But my data (limited at
the time) seemed to be singing a different song and the committee wanted me explain such subversion. Was there anything special about the hydra? What did we know about it?
Larry Slobodkin-the person who taught me how to find hydra in the wild and keep it in the lab-had done ecological studies on hydra. There were also more than 100 years of experimental biology done with the tiny cnidarian. Pioneer studies on regeneration and animal tissue grafting had been carried out on the hydra. Many studies on endosymbiosis used green hydra as the model organism. The concept of the "organizer", a tissue with inductive properties like the dorsal blastopore lip of frog embryos, had been first discovered by Ethel Brown in the hydra. A lot was known about the creature but none of it seemed enough to justify hydra's defiance of the "laws of nature". I had no answer for my committee; but the data were there. I also remember being asked about the evolutionary history of hydra. Did I know anything about it? Not much.
I was finally released to my waiting friends and after a few minutes Jeff informed me that I had successfully "defended" my dissertation. I was now a Ph.D. and, luckily, there was an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship waiting for me for a postdoc at the University of California at Irvine. My plan was to cross the country in a U-Haul truck with all my belongings. There was, however, a major decision to make. Should I continue the hydra experiment? After feeding and washing more than 150 individual hydra every other day (including weekends) for a year and a half, I had become attached to my critters. I knew I did not have enough for a paper so the answer seemed obvious. I should bring the hydra with me on the truck. This decision represented a bit of logistical nightmare. Hydra had to be kept cool, well fed, clean, and most importantly alive! I would need a cooler, many gallons of water (Millipore-filtered Swan Pond water), and a way to hatch brine shrimp in the truck to feed the hydra. To make a long story short, with the help of my brother who came from Argentina, we successfully transported the hydra from New York to California through the hot deserts of the South West in a truck without air conditioner. We were camping along the way, so the hydra were fed at picnic tables in several national parks.
They all survived the trip; truly immortal! In 1998, I published a paper (Martínez, Exp. Geront. 33: 217) suggesting that hydra did not seem to age. Years later, my lab embarked in a collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, to carry out a long term study of the mortality and fecundity trajectories of several cohorts of hydra. Two years ago, we published a paper with 8 years of data confirming my original results that hydra seems to experience negligible senescence (Schaible et al. 2015 PNAS 112:15701). These hydra are now more than 10 years old and are still thriving! With the support of an NIH RO1 from the National Institute on Aging, my lab has extended the hydra research into molecular aspects of aging. In collaboration with Diane Bridge (Elizabethtown College), we have studied the FOXO pathway in hydra. Nuclear localization of the transcription factor FOXO results in the extension of the lifespan of several animal models (e.g. drosophila, nematodes, and mice). We showed that hydra FOXO is present in the stem cells of hydra and that the protein responds to the insulin-like growth factor pathway and the JNK-mediated stress pathway (Bridge at al, PLoS ONE 5: e11686 ).
These results are consistent with what has been observed in other animal models. More recently, we have been looking at a species of hydra that can be induced to age. We have discovered that some induced individuals are able to avoid aging, reverting to an "immortal" phenotype. We can predict the fate (aging versus non aging) of individual hydra early during the induction process, so we are currently comparing the transcriptomes of the two phenotypes. We have preliminary data suggesting that there is an up-regulation of transposable elements in young animals that will eventually age. The role of transposable elements in aging is currently a hot topic in aging research. My lab has also been involved in answering another question posed to me during my dissertation defense. How many species of hydra are there? After collecting more than 100 strains from six different continents, we published a paper (Martínez et al. 2010, MPE 57:403) indicating that there are at least 8 clear clades of hydra. Furthermore, we suggested that hydra evolved and radiated in Laurasia before colonizing the continents derived from Gondwana. We are now looking at the genomes of several hydra species to further understand their evolution.
It has been a fun journey since my arrival to Stony Brook with very rudimentary English and little knowledge of evolution 30 years ago. E&E was good to me. I complained and suffered, of course, but the learning environment provided by professors and fellow students was truly exceptional. I am thankful to all who made my career possible."
of Irv Kornfield (1945-2017)
Many of us remember Irv Kornfield, an extremely accomplished evolutionary geneticist who worked under Dick Koehn, back in the 1970s. Bright and focused he was an excellent scientist and a decent human being. We will always remember his gentle but down-to-earth personality. You can read his obituary here, but as he was declining, he wrote his own life story. Here it is.
BANGOR - Irving 'Irv' Leslie Kornfield, PhD, died April 4th, 2017, after a prolonged and spirited fight with cancer. I composed this obituary several days before my demise. I was born with my twin Jack on the Marine base in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where my father was, with many others, training for the invasion of Japan. We moved to Philadelphia and a year later my second brother Lawrence was born. The three of us enjoyed the pastime of all young boys including significant rough housing, but always protecting each other. As a child, my family moved frequently and I was a student in no fewer than eight schools before finally settling in Newton, MA. Along the way a third brother, Kenny, was born. From Newton High School
I attended Syracuse University where the first week of freshman year I met the love of my life, Tori. She has provided the continuous support, encouragement, and love that so enriched my life and made my professional career possible. I love her so. After graduation, I was a keeper at the Syracuse Zoo. Very small, but it had the requisite cats and ungulates. It was an awful lot of fun. Tori and I visited at night, feeding bananas to the baby chimps and attempting to ride the baby Elephant.
I attended graduate school in Ecology and Evolution at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. It was wonderful to learn molecular techniques to reconstruct the history of life, to identify cryptic organisms and to help to try to understand where species come from. My training prepared me exceptionally well for future research. Our first daughter Molly was born
Long Island during graduate study. After I received my PhD, I studied at the Smithsonian Institution, and subsequently at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
I was offered and accepted an assistant professorship in zoology at The University of Maine and with my family, moved to Bangor. My daughter Emily was born the second year of my academic career. At Orono I had a marvelous time developing and teaching courses for undergraduates and graduates including a very large course on forensics that had crime scenes replete with fake blood. My teaching and academic enterprises were acknowledged by awards including Carnegie Prof. of the Year, Distinguished Maine Professor, and the Presidential Teaching Award.
My research involved the evolutionary genetics and population biology of aquatic organisms. My students and I studied organisms around the world including South America, Africa and Asia. I was exceptionally fortunate that Tori tolerated the fieldwork and many research expeditions I organized. I circumnavigated the world with Tori and Emily as a Semester at Sea faculty member. Ports of call were diverse and I was fortunate to visit many Asian localities. My students and I sampled in India and identified a number of new marine species. My research honors included fellowships in the Smithsonian, Explorer's Club, AAAS, Dipl., FOL Intermé, and was topped by having a marine crustacean named after me, Austrocuma kornfieldi. In addition to fundamental research, with Deb Palman I established a lab for the Maine Warden Service using molecular techniques to identify poaching and other wildlife crimes. My students and I conducted casework for almost a decade, assisting prosecutors and testifying in court.
I felt singularly privileged to have been afforded the opportunity to teach and conduct research as a professor at the University of Maine. There simply is no better circumstance offering such unconstrained intellectual freedom. With this freedom, I was able to travel to remote areas that few outsiders have been privileged to visit. Most importantly, my position provided the opportunity to mentor many students and collaborate with many fine faculty and colleagues.
With continuous loving support from my wife Tori of nearly 50 years, I had an exceptional ride. Together we traveled extensively, saw the green flash at sea, witnessed the power of Egypt's artistry and Jerusalem's antiquities, and enjoyed adventures in the tradition of travelers of old. My gracious and caring daughters Molly and Emily, have continuously rewarded me with their love, and now four lovely grandchildren of the next generation. Molly and Emily are simply too sweet for words. I have a truly loving family. My brothers Laurence, Kenneth and Jack, exceptional individuals all, provided marvelous shared adventures from Morocco to Bali, including rare cuisines and connections with remarkable people. These times were extraordinarily special. To everyone here and all whom I have touched, thank you for all the love. I return it many times over. -Irv
of Ted Battley (1925-2017)
Edwin H. Battley, emeritus associate professor, died on May 18, 20
17 in Stony Brook at age 92. Known to friends and colleagues as Ted, he was among the founding faculty of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Hired in 1962 to join what was then the Biology Department, Ted was a committed researcher and teacher at Stony Brook for 36 years. He was also the first faculty master of the University's International Residential College.
After his retirement from the Ecology & Evolution Department in 1998 Ted remained professionally active, publishing ten more peer-reviewed single-author research articles in the field of microbial thermodynamics. The International Society of Biological Calorimetry recognized his scientific contributions with its Dubrunfaut Award in 1994 and Lavoisier Medal in 2010.
Ted served in the 75th Infantry Division during World War II, and saw combat in the Ardennes and the Battle of the Bulge. He was graduated from Harvard College in 1949, and completed his doctoral degree at Stanford University in 1956 with noted microbiologist C.B. Van Niel at the Hopkins Marine Station. He is survived by his wife Susan.
Here are excerpts from a tribute by Ron Atlas, former Stony Brook Undergraduate, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Louisville, and past President of the American Society for Microbiology
"As an undergraduate in the late 1960s when Stony Brook was first developing and when students like myself were caught up in the uncertainties of the times, Ted took me into to his lab and introduced me to what scientific research was about. OK I washed many test tubes during the week while spending weekends in the Village with Allen Ginsberg. The times were uncertain and as the song of the era said the Times they were a Changing.
At that time there were no microbiology courses taught at Stony Brook. The courses were broader. Ted though taught a course in the microbiology of wine making. It was not taught on campus but rather in the evening in his home. He was not yet married. I signed up for the course and discovered that each student was to make a presentation. I prepared all my notes--several typed sheets which I planned to use since I really was not ready to speak ad lib. As I sat there ready to make my presentation with my notes on my lap Ted's cat decided that was as good a place as any to sit--right on top of my notes. I was afraid of angering Ted by pushing the cat away and so I proceeded to speak without the aid of any notes. Maybe that experience helped set the stage for my later professional career.
As I neared graduation I was not sure where to go--what to do with my life. Ted spent time with me--talking about research opportunities and recommended that I consider applying to Rutgers .... And he was right. ... I got my PhD in 3.5 years and went on to a very successful academic career that would not have occurred if Ted had not steered me in the right direction.
Many years later, after I had been President of the American Society for Microbiology and had a very successful career I returned to Stony Brook to give the Provost's Distinguished Lecture. There was Ted in the audience. Afterwards Ted and I spent a few hours reminiscing--I knew that I owed him much but was surprised to learn that he had followed virtually every step of my career. He really will be missed...but his wisdom, influence, and caring will live on."
Robert Richmond, former Ph.D. student of Jeff Levinton, and now Director of Kewalo Marine Laboratory in Hawaii, was also helped greatly by Ted. He writes:
"I remember Ted as an excellent scientist and mentor, who was always generous in sharing his knowledge, wisdom and time with graduate students. He taught, mentored and guided many of us, and was a true role model. While he is no longer with us in body, he lives on through those of us fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to learn from him."