Bart De Stasio

Tag: Bart De Stasio

$1.5 Million Gift Establishes Endowed Professorship in Biological Sciences

An abiding belief in the value of education and the importance of the biological sciences in the liberal arts curriculum has led a former Lawrence University biology major and her husband — Charlot and Dennis Singleton of Atherton, Calif. — to establish a new endowed professorship at the college with a $1.5 million gift.

Bart De Stasio '82

Professor of Biology Bart De Stasio has been named the first holder of the Singleton Professorship in the Biological Sciences. Appointments to endowed professorships are made in recognition of academic and artistic distinction through teaching excellence and/or scholarly achievement.

“Bart’s outstanding research record and his exemplary work in teaching and mentoring students represent the qualities that the donors of the chair wish to support through their wonderful gift,” said Lawrence President Jill Beck in announcing the appointment.

The Singleton Professorship is the fourth endowed professorship established during Lawrence’s six-year, $150 million “More Light” campaign, which concludes in October.

“I’m very honored to be the named to the Singleton Professorship in the Biological Sciences,” said De Stasio, a 1982 Lawrence graduate who returned to his alma mater as a faculty member in 1992. “This generous gift will allow us to continue to provide excellent learning and research opportunities for our students. I look forward to sharing the successes and achievements of our students with the Singletons.”

The gift includes an annual allowance to pursue innovative initiatives and activities related to teaching or research.

Charlot Singleton, a native of Duluth, Minn., graduated from Lawrence in 1967 with a major in biology and completed graduate work at California State University-San Jose.

Charlot '67 and Dennis Singleton

A life-long advocate of education, both as a teacher and through her own tutoring business, she has served on the boards of many civic and charitable organizations in the greater San Francisco area that focus on children’s education and health, including board chair of a public school education foundation. She also has a long record of volunteer service to Packard Children’s Hospital in Stanford, Calif., including serving on its board of directors for 12 years. She was appointed to Lawrence’s Board of Trustees in 2006.

Dennis Singleton, who graduated from Lehigh University and earned an MBA from Harvard University, enjoyed a highly successful career in commercial real estate investment. He was appointed to the Lehigh University Board of Trustees in 2000 and was named vice chairman in 2008.

In addition to the professorship, the Singletons established the Dennis and Charlot Nelson Singleton Scholarship, which was awarded for the first time this year.

De Stasio earned his Ph.D. in ecology and evolution from Cornell University and his scholarship interests include aquatic biology and predator-prey interactions. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, De Stasio co-directs the Lawrence University Marine Biology Program, during which students and faculty spend two weeks studying coral reef biodiversity on Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean Sea. He also conducts research with students on the impacts of invasive species such as zebra mussels on the ecology of Lake Winnebago and Green Bay.

He has been the recipient of more than $279,000 in research grants, including awards from the U.S. Dept. of Energy, the National Science Foundation and the Wisconsin Sea Grant program for his studies of the potential effects of climate change on lakes.

His research on topics ranging from dormancy in aquatic organisms and its impact on the ecology and evolution of lake communities to temperature and climatic change as a driving factor in lake ecology and water temperatures needed to kill invasive species that might be attached to boats crossing locks in the Fox River has been published in a variety of scholarly publications, including the Encyclopedia of Inland Waters as well as chapters of books.

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,520 students from 44 states and 56 countries.

Lawrence University Biologist Awarded $200,000 Grant for Zebra Mussel Study

The impact of the exploding non-native zebra mussel population on the ecosystem of the bay of Green Bay will be the focus of a three-year study conducted by Lawrence University associate professor of biology Bart De Stasio starting in March 2005. The research project will be funded by a $206,000 grant De Stasio was awarded by the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Program.

A specialist in aquatic biology, especially predator-prey interactions, De Stasio will combine advanced computer modeling with field study research to determine the effects the exotic invader is having in Green Bay on the populations of phytoplankton, benthos, zooplankton and fish species.

Widely considered one of the most productive fisheries in the Great Lakes, Green Bay had been studied extensively prior to the invasion by zebra mussels. But De Stasio’s study will be the first to explore the dramatic changes the coastal ecosystem of Green Bay has undergone since zebra mussels were first discovered there in 1992 and only the third of its kind on the entire Great Lakes basin.

The research project will have three main objectives. One will be to identify information gaps in existing data by conducting field studies on key components of the lower food web at sites that were investigated extensively prior to the zebra mussel invasion as well as analyzing unpublished data from that time period.

The research project will have three main objectives. One will be to identify information gaps in existing data by conducting field studies on key components of the lower food web at sites that were investigated extensively prior to the zebra mussel invasion as well as analyzing unpublished data from that time period.

The study’s third objective will involve the construction of a dynamic energy/mass balance-flow ecosystem model of Green Bay that can be used for comparison with current modeling efforts done for the Bay of Quinte on Lake Ontario and Oneida Lake in New York.

“Green Bay is an ideal site for this project because of the abundance of good data that had been collected by other scientists and researchers prior to the arrival of the zebra mussel,” De Stasio said. “This study will provide a great opportunity to collect new data and create ecosystems models that will be invaluable to others who are also studying this problem. We want to establish collaborations with researchers at Cornell University and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources so we can determine the impact the zebra mussel is having on similar ecosystems not just in northeast Wisconsin but throughout the entire Great Lakes region.”

The grant will enable two Lawrence students to join De Statio as technicians and summer research assistants each year of the study as well as support one graduate student at UW-Green Bay.

With the support of a 1995 National Science Foundation grant, De Stasio previously established a baseline data set for ecological and genetic dynamics to measure the impact of zebra mussels on the Lake Winnebago watershed.

Native to the Caspian Sea region of Asia, the fingernail-sized zebra mussels are believed to have arrived in the Great Lakes via ballast water discharged from a transoceanic vessel into Lake St. Clair, near Detroit in 1988. Since their discovery, they have spread rapidly to all of the Great Lakes and waterways in many states, as well as Ontario and Quebec. By 1998, they had reached Lake Winnebago.

While most of the biological impacts of zebra mussels in North America are not yet known, information from Europe suggests zebra mussels have the potential to severely impact native mussels by interfering with their feeding, growth, locomotion, respiration and reproduction. They are notorious for their capabilities to colonize water supply pipes of power plants, public water supply plants and other industrial facilities, constricting flow and reducing the intake capacity in heat exchangers, condensers, fire fighting equipment and air conditioning and cooling systems.

A 1982 Lawrence graduate, De Stasio earned his Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University. He joined the Lawrence biology department in 1992 and was named a recipient of the Appleton Joint Rotary Clubs’ 1998 “Cutting Edge” award for leadership and innovation in education.