Romi Lynn Burks

Romi Lynn Burks
Southwestern University · Department of Biology

Ph.D. Aquatic Ecology, Notre Dame

About

50
Publications
14,366
Reads
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Introduction
My lab focuses on investigating the basic life history and ecology of native and exotic populations of apple snails, largely within the genus Pomacea. I work primarily with undergraduate students on lab experiments, basic molecular ecology analyses, field collections and international collaborations to better understand why these snails succeed as exotic invasive species.
Additional affiliations
January 2005 - December 2012
Southwestern University
January 2002 - present
Rhodes College
May 1995 - December 2000
University of Notre Dame
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (50)
Article
Genetic variation facilitates both natural range expansions and anthropogenic invasions. Contrary to expectations, hybridization does not always impact negatively on biodiversity. Increasing evidence indicates advantageous roles for introgressive hybridization in maintaining standing genetic variation. Hypothesizing that hybridization may contribut...
Article
Full-text available
Guiding undergraduates through the ecological research process can be incredibly rewarding and present opportunities to break down barriers to inclusion and diversity in scientific disciplines. At the same time, mentoring undergraduate researchers is a complicated process that requires time and flexibility. While many academics receive extensive gu...
Chapter
Full-text available
Established populations of introduced Pomacea maculata, a highly fecund, large species of apple snail native to South America, now occur throughout southeast Asia, in Spain and extensively across the southern United States. Substantial research on non-native apple snails takes place in Southeast Asia and has frequently identified apple snails as P....
Article
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Resacas, or oxbow lakes, form from old river channels. In the Rio Grande, resacas provide habitat for diverse wildlife, including native and non-native species. Biologists unexpectedly found pink egg masses on emergent vegetation (November 2015) and later adult apple snails (May 2016) within a resaca at a former fish hatchery in Brownsville, Texas....
Article
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Climate change has dramatically altered freshwater ecosystems and will continue to affect them further. As water-level fluctuations increase in frequency and intensity, the tolerance of aquatic organisms to abiotic stressors will become critical determinants of survival. Apple snail species in the genus Pomacea (Ampullariidae) live in freshwater th...
Article
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Two Cipangopaludina snails were discovered in Harris County, Texas, USA, during routine fieldwork in October 2015. Dissection yielded one male and one female containing 52 offspring in her brood pouch. Phylogenetic analysis of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene confirmed both individuals to be Cipangopaludina japonica (von Martens, 1861)...
Article
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With limited funding and increased job competition, STEM professionals face a growing need to communicate their science. In this study, conservation biology faculty and practitioners from across the United States designed classroom exercises and teaching interventions intended to bolster oral communication skills. Through repeated oral presentation...
Article
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Apple snails (Ampullariidae) are among the largest and most ecologically important freshwater snails. The introduction of multiple species has reinvigorated the field and spurred a burgeoning body of research since the early 1990s, particularly regarding two species introduced to Asian wetlands and elsewhere, where they have become serious agricult...
Conference Paper
Invasive species negatively impact ecosystems by competing with native taxa, altering habitats and facilitating the introduction of parasites. Pomacea maculata (Ampullariidae) is a rapidly spreading non-native snail species that threatens native biodiversity, agriculture and public health. Fundamental questions investigated through an integrative a...
Article
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Our public schools need more STEM infusion. Simultane-ously, civic engagement in higher education opens a window for colleges to partner with local communities to inject science into affordable afterschool programs. We offer a description, reflection and preliminary assessment of an enrichment pro-gram, "SMArTeams" at Southwestern University (Georg...
Article
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Winning the war against invasive species requires early detection of invasions. Compared to terrestrial invaders, aquatic species often thrive undetected under water and do not garner notice until too late for early action. However, fortunately for managers, apple snails (Family Ampullariidae, Genus Pomacea) provide their own conspicuous sign of in...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background / Purpose: This talk relayed the results of a multi-institution look at how to bolster oral communication skills in conservation biology-oriented courses. Main conclusion: Students improved skills over the course of a semester with repeated practice but added reflection resulted in higher gains. Content gains occurred alongside skil...
Conference Paper
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Background/Question/Methods The effective preservation and sustainable use of ecosystems is a complex endeavor that requires proficiency in skills of critical thinking, data analysis, oral communication, broad synthesis of information and teamwork across diverse groups. However, there is concern that US undergraduate science students do not curre...
Article
Full-text available
Most aquatic snails derive their energy by grazing periphyton. However, certain species, including the invasive island apple snail, Pomacea insularum, readily consume aquatic macrophytes. These snails often overlap in their distribution with other exotic, invasive plants. We sought to discover if juvenile P. insularum could survive and grow when fe...
Article
Full-text available
While difficult to prevent introductions, scientific research can help guide control efforts of exotic, invasive species. South American island apple snails Pomacea insularum have quickly spread across the United States Gulf Coast and few control measures exist to delay their spread. Usually occupying cryptic benthic habitats, female apple snails c...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background/Question/Methods Understanding and conserving the biosphere increasingly requires proficiency in skills including critical thinking, data analysis, oral communication, broad synthesis of information and teamwork across diverse groups. However, a real concern exists that US undergraduate science students do not currently develop these i...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods To invade on a larger landscape scale, exotic species must establish reproducing populations within their introduced habitat. In many cases, exotic species successfully exploit unique, well delineated habitats with a particular range of environmental conditions that do not vary substantially. Such habitat stability all...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Exotic invasive mollusks often cause severe environmental damage. South American apple snails Pomacea canaliculata and insularum invaded and have caused widespread environmental damage throughout Southeastern Asia. Recently, these invaders established populations in North America. Despite the necessity of monitoring th...
Article
Full-text available
Oviposition of non-calcareous or thinly shelled eggs represents an important life stage of many insects, amphibians, and several gastropods. A recently identified invasive species of apple snail, Pomacea insularum, exhibits alarming invasive characteristics of high reproductive rates and generalist consumption patterns. This snail takes the opposit...
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This Teaching Resource emphasizes the value of publishing with undergraduates and may be particularly helpful to incoming faculty who are new to the process of working with students. Beyond simply extolling the virtues of undergraduate research, we examine how such deep learning experiences for students can translate into unique opportunities for t...
Article
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*_Background/Question/Methods_* Exotic invaders routinely move faster than scientific publication processes. Lacking aerial dispersal stages, snails generally match descriptions of slow colonizers. However, reminiscent of the pace with which zebra mussels gained notoriety, a growing sense of urgency has emerged from management communities regarding...
Article
Full-text available
Although invaders come in all shapes and sizes, several mollusks have recently achieved notoriety as both economically and ecologically costly invaders. Applesnails of the genus Pomacea get their name from reaching the size of an apple. Native to South America, the species P. insularum has recently established reproducing, and potentially invasive,...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Scholarship expectations at primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs) vary, but may hint at a “publish or perish” mantra, although limited. Regardless, ecologists at PUIs come from competitive graduate programs where publishing existed as part of daily life. Our publication aspirations do not just cease with the move...
Article
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International trade frequently moves mollusks around the globe, thereby increasing their opportunity to cause ecological and economic damage. Recent genetic studies have confirmed the identity of South American applesnails (Pomacea insularum) in the southeastern US, but limited literature exists on this species. Understanding fecundity provides dir...
Article
Full-text available
Research on aquatic snails usually examines consumption of periphyton, but emergence of large, invasive aquatic snails that prefer macrophytes has necessitated a new understanding about snail herbivory. Ample research exists detailing invasive potential of certain species of applesnails, such as Pomacea canaliculata , to successfully invade aquatic...
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Chapter
Hydrophilic, or water-loving, macrophytes characterize wetland ecosystems, indicating prerequisite conditions of hydric soils and sufficient hydrology. The presence of such macrophytes is a key descriptor in multiple wetland definitions (Lewis 2001a) and macrophytes may be further used to actually describe particular types of wetlands, such as catt...
Article
In native habitats, channeled applesnails (Pomacea canaliculata) graze periphyton. However, casual observations from introduced populations suggest these invaders show variation in feeding ecology, predator response and life history strategies. Attempts to predict this consumer influence on ecosystem function suffer from a lack of basic data. We te...
Article
Full-text available
Students of biology must learn the scientific method for generating information in the field. Concurrently, they should learn how information is reported and accessed. We developed a progressive set of exercises for the undergraduate introductory biology laboratory that combine these objectives. Pre- and postassessments of approximately 100 student...
Article
1. Zebra mussels aggregate to form dense colonies where, depending on the flow rate, individuals in different vertical locations within the colony may experience restricted food availability. 2. Using 32P-labelled Chlamydomonas angulosa, we found ingestion rates of individual mussels located at the surface to exceed those in the bottom of a 6 cm th...
Article
Full-text available
We focus this mini-review on how naturally occurring chemical cues mediate ecological interactions, especially interspecific competition and predation in freshwater communities. Although freshwater chemical ecology lags behind terrestrial and marine chemical ecology, we identify recent progress toward: (1) identifying the chemical composition of cu...
Article
1. In some shallow lakes, Daphnia and other important pelagic consumers of phytoplankton undergo diel horizontal migration (DHM) into macrophytes or other structures in the littoral zone. Some authors have suggested that DHM reduces predation by fishes on Daphnia and other cladocerans, resulting in a lower phytoplankton biomass in shallow lakes tha...
Article
Full-text available
Vertical gradients in interstitial water quality may develop within densely organized assemblages of sessile aquatic organisms. These gradients may compromise the survival of individ- uals. We examined whether a vertical gradient of interstitial water chemistry (NO3-N, NH4-N, and dissolved oxygen (DO)) would develop within dense zebra mussel (Dreis...
Article
Interactions between benthic predators and pelagic prey, such as larval odonates and Daphnia, are often used to describe classic predator–prey relationships in laboratory studies. However, few field studies explore the potential impact of benthic predators on pelagic prey. Recent studies of cladocerans document diel horizontal migration (DHM), wher...
Article
The assumption that macrophytes can provide zooplankton a daytime refuge against fish predation is central to the diel horizontal migration hypothesis. However, previous observations and experiments have shown that large- bodied zooplankton avoid macrophytes. To directly test these contrasting roles of macrophytes, we measured the reaction of Daphn...
Article
Daphnids undergoing diel horizontal migration (DHM) to seek daytime refuge in the littoral zones of shallow lakes are likely to confront chemical cues from littoral-associated predators and macrophytes. In field experiments, we investigated how the natural suite of chemicals occurring in a wholly vegetated lake as well as within plant-free mesocosm...
Article
Recent studies document diel horizontal migration by large zooplankton in eutrophic shallow lakes. Risk of predation from planktivorous fishes could induce such behaviour. We studied diel horizontal distribution of cladocerans in 31 mainly shallow oligotrophic and mesotrophic New Zealand (NZ) and North American (NA) temperate lakes. In terms of wei...
Article
SUMMARY 1. In some shallow lakes, Daphnia and other important pelagic consumers of phyto- plankton undergo diel horizontal migration (DHM) into macrophytes or other structures in the littoral zone. Some authors have suggested that DHM reduces predation by fishes on Daphnia and other cladocerans, resulting in a lower phytoplankton biomass in shallow...
Article
SUMMARY 1. Zebra mussels aggregate to form dense colonies where, depending on the flow rate, individuals in different vertical locations within the colony may experience restricted food availability. 2. Using 32P-labelled Chlamydomonas angulosa, we found ingestion rates of individual mussels located at the surface to exceed those in the bottom of a...

Projects