Monday, April 11: Factors Affecting Foraging Microhabitat Selection by Wading Birds at an Artificial Weir


Topic: Factors Affecting Foraging Microhabitat Selection by Wading Birds at an Artificial Weir

Speaker: Rachel C. Renken

Date/Time: Monday, April 11; 7:30 pm

Location: The Donut Whole 1720 E Douglas


Factors Affecting Foraging Microhabitat Selection by Wading Birds at an Artificial Weir

Rachel C. Renken, Jeane A. Thompson, and Alan D. Maccarone

Biology Department, Friends University, 2100 University, Wichita, Kansas, 67213, USA

Abstract.—-To better understand how different species of long-legged wading birds select among foraging microhabitats that show spatial and temporal heterogeneity, a 100-m-long concrete weir located at the terminus of the Little Arkansas River in Wichita, Kansas, was divided into patches based on water depth. Black-crowned Night-Herons, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and Great Blue Herons were observed feeding during 60 1-h periods from 12 June-29 July 2015. The independent variables collected before each session included date, time of day, water level, water clarity, and flow velocity. We recorded weir attendance, species-specific patch use, behavioral interactions, and feeding activity. Only time of day and water level predicted of the number of birds at the weir. A total of 348 fish were captured, of which 108 were large (> 3/4 bill length). Wading bird species differed in capture efficiency, lengths of captured fish, and patch use. Great Blue Herons and Black-crowned Night-Herons captured large fish toward the center of the weir. Great Egrets captured both large and small fish, and Snowy Egrets captured small fish (minnows) at the ends of the weir. Total aggression correlated with the number of large fish caught but not with total fish. Per capita aggression correlated with the number of birds at the weir.

Rachel, originally from Downs in North Central Kansas, has lived in Wichita for 5 years. She attended Friends University where she graduated with a degree in Field Biology in 2014. She has been doing bird behavioral research with Dr. Alan Maccarone for the past two summers and has plans to travel to Maine with a group to carry out a study on great blue herons in June.

Monday, March 14th: Making a Makerspace



Topic: Making a Makerspace

Speaker: Dominic Canare

Location: The Donut Whole (1720 E. Douglas)

Date/Time: Monday, March 14; 7:30pm


The presentation will include information about the maker culture, the history of MakeICT, what it’s been like to create and operate a nonprofit, and current offerings.


Dominic Canare is a founding member and the current President of MakeICT. He is also a technology consultant, former adjunct engineering instructor at Wichita State University, and current student pursuing a PhD in Human Factors Psychology. He holds BS and MS degrees in computer science from Pittsburgh State and Wichita State, respectively. In addition, he is a philanthropist, entrepreneur, and community volunteer and leader, earning him the designation of 2014 Newsmaker from the Wichita Business Journal. Currently, Dominic is a full-time volunteer for local nonprofits.

Monday, February 8: Do field biologists really do experiments? How WSU’s Field Station helps us understand, manage, and conserve Kansas ecosystems

YMR Overlook

Speaker: Dr. Greg Houseman

Topic: Do field biologists really do experiments? How WSU’s Field Station helps us understand, manage, and conserve Kansas ecosystems

Date/Time/Location: Monday, February 8; 7:30pm; The Donut Whole (1720 E Douglas)


Greg Houseman received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at KU before coming to Wichita State University in 2008.  He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and is the point person for activities at the WSU Biological Field Station sites.  He teaches courses in plant ecology and ecosystem management. Currently, he has grants from the National Science Foundation to study factors that control plant diversity in restored prairies and from USDA to address control of an invasive plant in the Flint Hills.

Monday, January 11: Opening the Academy – Why Research Results Should be Accessible


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Speaker: Dr. A. Townsend Peterson

Date/Time: Monday, January 11th; 7:30 pm

Location: The Donut Whole (1720 E. Douglas)

Scientific research costs money to carry out, and much of this money comes from the federal state governments. As such, one might expect that research outcomes would be viewed as a public good, and would be openly available to all people. Such is not the case, unfortunately: rather, scientific research has increasingly been published in commercial journals that are not easily available to the broader public. The result is that the general public is shut out entirely, and even the academic community has increasing problems to access the results of its own research! I outline the origins and advance of the open access movement, which aims to remedy these access gaps, and give some ideas and views into the future of scientific communication.

Town Peterson is a researcher in systematics, biogeography, and ecology at the University of Kansas, based in the Biodiversity Institute and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His research extends broadly from basic biodiversity informatics through ecological niche modeling and distributional ecology to biogeography. He works with tropical birds worldwide, as well as with diverse organisms that fit well with specific questions; he also works with the biogeography and ecology of diseases, which leads to development of transmission risk maps for diverse disease systems. Finally, in recent years, he has focused on developing open educational resources for biodiversity informatics (see His lab page can be seen at, and a summary of his publications at

Monday December 14: Bird Watchers, Birders, or just ‘Kooks’


Topic: Bird Watchers, Birders, or just ‘Kooks’

Speaker: Harry Gregory

Date/Time: Monday, December 14 at 7:30pm

Location: The Donut Whole (1720 E Douglas)


“Bird Watching” has been one of the most popular outdoor activities worldwide for the past few decades, but has recently taken on a new look among its most ardent participants. “Birders” are now engaging in some serious competitions to see who can see the most birds in all sorts of situations. This program will explain it all.
Mr. Gregory has a BS in Education and a MS in Biology from the University of Central Missouri. His career was split between teaching and zoo administration. He has been an active birder virtually his entire life, starting with observing a nest of House Wrens in the outhouse when he was 5 years old. He has served in several capacities on boards of four Audubon Societies as well as the president of the Burrough’s Audubon Society of Kansas City and the Missouri Audubon Society. He is currently a member of the Kansas Audubon Society, Kansas Ornithological Society and the American Birding Association. He has led wildlife observation (birding) trips to Kenya, Tanzania, India, Nepal and Mexico. His “Life Lists” include: World – 1169, USA – 530 and Kansas – 319 species and counting.

Next Science Cafe – December

There will be no Science Cafe in November.  We will resume in December.

Monday, October 12 – Water – From Macro to Local: A Look at the Issues Surrounding a Vital Resource


Speaker: Kay Drennen, Environmental Specialist Water Resources Conservation; employed by City of Wichita Public Works & Utilities Department, Environmental Health Division, W.A.T.E.R. Center

Location: The Donut Whole (1720 E. Douglas)

Date/Time: Monday, October 12; 7:30pm

Kay is a Wichita native who graduated from North High School. She has a degree in Biology from Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas, and post-graduate study in central plains ecology, resource management, hydrogeology, and landscape architecture and maintenance. Kay has spent the past 25 years working with all manner of water quality and water quantity issues for the City of Wichita.


Monday September 14 – How to Build a Scientist: STEM Education

september 2015

How to Build a Scientist: Stem Education by Dr. Jim Bann, Wichita State University Associate Professor

Location: The Donut Whole (1720 E. Douglas)

Date/Time: Monday, September 14, 7:30 pm


Approaches to improving STEM education hinge on students understanding of some basic  concepts (hypothesis versus prediction, for instance), and providing an environment that can cultivate a search for explaining the world around us.  We’ll explore how to successfully introduce these concepts starting in kindergarten, creating the building blocks for a lifelong love of science.


Dr. Bann received an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO (with honors), and a PhD from Oregon Health Sciences University (also in biochemistry).  He was a postdoc and research Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Washington University in St. Louis, and then moved to Wichita, where he is now Associate Professor of Chemistry.  He is also adjunct Associate Professor at KUMed-Wichita.  He has 6 kids – the oldest graduated Valedictorian from West Point and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in engineering at MIT, another is currently at West Point as a mathematics major, and the rest they are still guiding along.

Monday, May 11: Water Wars



Topic: Water Wars

When: Monday May 11, 7:30 pm

Where: The Donut Whole (1720 E Douglas)

Speaker: Alan D. Maccarone, Ph. D.; Professor of Biology; Friends University


Water is our most precious commodity in the sense that every living organism requires water for its reproduction and survival. Despite its apparent abundance on the earth, the type of water that is essential to life is actually a scarce resource. Due to increased global demand, its scarcity increases every year. This program will examine historical and current patterns of water use; explore the origins of the water crisis; present examples of local, national, and international conflicts that revolve around water availability and usage, and discuss how societies can address current and future water wars.


Originally from New York City, Alan has lived in Kansas since 1990.  Currently, he is a Professor of Biology at Friends University in Wichita.  For 13 years, he was the Director for the Zoo Science undergraduate program, and for 17 years he directed the Environmental Studies graduate program.  His graduate education includes a Master’s degree in Animal Behavior from Memorial University, in Newfoundland, Canada, and a doctorate in Zoology from Rutgers University, in New Jersey.  His areas of specialization include Ornithology, Animal Behavior, and Field Ecology, and Environmental Science.  Alan has been active in wading bird research since 1986. He sometimes views the importance of water quality and availability through the aquatic birds that he studies.  Also has published more than 50 journal articles and book chapters and given more than 80 scientific and popular presentations, most dealing with avian ecology, behavior, and the effects of pollution and disturbance on wading birds.  Alan has two children: a son, Dylan, a 19-year-old sophomore attending Hampshire College in Massachusetts, and a daughter, Ava, 14, who this Fall will be starting high school at the Northfield School for the Liberal Arts.

Monday, April 13: National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF) Update



Speaker: R.W. Trewyn; Assistant to the President and NBAF Liaison, Kansas State University

Date/Time: Monday, April 13, 2015 at 7:30 pm

Location: The Donut Whole (1720 E. Douglas)


Dr. Trewyn will fill us in on the status of the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility being built by the U.S. Departmetn of Homeland Security at Kansas State University.

Ron Trewyn was named Kansas State University’s full-time liaison to the National Bio and Agrodefense Facility (NBAF) August 03, 2014. Prior to that, he served as K-State’s vice president for research where he led the university’s multi-year efforts to bring the $1.25 billion federal research and development laboratory to Kansas. As assistant to the president and NBAF liaison, Trewyn works with the president and others within and outside the institution to facilitate and leverage NBAF-related opportunities for the university, the city and the state.