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Christy Leppanen

Research Assistant Professor


Research Interest

Invasion biology, environmental toxicology, sustainability

Education

Ph.D. Biological Sciences, University of Maine

M.S. Biology, University of Memphis

B.S. Biology and Chemistry, University of Memphis

Biography

I come from a multidisciplinary background coalescing around environmental toxicology, pest management, and conservation biology problems and practices important to human health and the environment. I studied environmental chemistry, freshwater ecology, and zoology during my undergraduate (1993) and Master’s (1997) programs, then worked from 1997 to 2004 in regulatory and management fields with risk assessment, invasive species, and threatened and endangered species. I continued this work alongside my Ph.D. studies, adding expertise in pest ecology and pest control, then returned to invasive species and pest management when I finished my degree in 2009. In 2015, I returned to academia and have since aimed to use my collective expertise to inform solutions at the interface between environmental toxicology, pest management, and conservation biology. Our dependence on resources impaired by our activities increases as our activities expand. I am interested in progressive and collaborative resource and pest management, particularly prevention and practices that minimize non-target impacts.


Research

I am interested in the impacts and management of disturbance in ecological systems. Disturbance as a result of biological (e.g., invasive species or disease), physical (e.g., tree removal), or chemical (e.g., pesticide drift) perturbations may lead to impacts that we determine require management. The complexity of ecological systems, unfortunately, means that management often does not incorporate comprehensive information about mechanisms underlying impacts or proposed solutions. Because understanding these mechanisms is essential to focus successful research and management, I am interested in learning how to better identify and determine how direct interactions (e.g., competition, mutualism, and amensalism) and indirect interactions (e.g., exploitative competition, keystone predation, and habitat facilitation) influence the effects of disturbance. I am also interested in how variability in these interactions in undisturbed systems translates to disturbed systems (and vice versa), particularly when considering the effects of climate change. For example, interactions, as well as variability in those interactions, in the native range of a species may differ markedly in its introduced range, particularly when both populations are differentially subjected to variable effects of climate change. Such variability has implications for managing these populations when knowledge is transferred from one system to another.

I am studying the impacts and management of a plant-feeding insect, the hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae, Hemiptera: Adelgidae) where it is native and where it has been introduced. Transplanted from its native range in Japan to a very different system in the eastern United States, this insect has heavily impacted eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana) populations in its new range. Identifying and comparing important interactions and variability in those interactions in communities in the adelgid’s native and introduced ranges may hold promise for mitigating the effects of this devastating pest.


Professional Service

Courses Taught:

  • Environmental Toxicology
  • Invasion Biology

Publications

RESEARCH AND MANAGEMENT PUBLICATIONS
(Former surname: Finlayson)


• Simberloff D, Leppanen C (2018) Plant somatic mutations in nature conferring insect and herbicide resistance. Pest Management Science https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.5157

• Leppanen C, Frank DM, Lockyer LJ, Fellhoelter CJ, Cameron AK, Hardy BA, Smith LJ, Clevenger MR, Simberloff D (2018) Media representation of hemlock woolly adelgid management risks: a case study of science communication and invasive species control. Biological Invasions https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-018-1850-9

• Leppanen C, Simberloff D (2018) The multicolored Asian lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), disperses the hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae (Annand) (Hemiptera: Adelgidae). The Coleopterists Bulletin 72: 612-613

• Henning J, Leppanen C, Bush J, Sheldon K, Gotelli N, Gravel D, Strauss S, Simberloff D, Wilson EO (2017) A pioneering adventure becomes an ecological classic. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 98: 269-277 https://doi.org/10.1002/bes2.1345, https://doi.org/10.1002/bes2.1350, https://doi.org/10.1002/bes2.1347

• Welch JN, Leppanen C (2017) The threat of invasive species to bats: A review. Mammal Review 47: 277-290 https://doi.org/10.1111/mam.12099

• Leppanen C, Simberloff D (2017) Implications of early production in an invasive forest pest. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 19: 217-224 https://doi.org/10.1111/afe.12198

• Leppanen C, Simberloff D (2016) Considering small potatoes: Can cumulative minor interactions in different locations explain variable impacts of an invasive species? Proceedings of the 27th USDA Interagency Research Forum on Invasive Species, 12-15 January 2016, Annapolis, MD.

• Simberloff D, Leppanen C (2015) Coccinellids, imidacloprid, Lecanicillium, and the hemlock woolly adelgid keeps rolling along. Entomological Society of America 63rd Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN.

• Leppanen CJ (2012) A review of fortuitous and intentional biological control releases on Guam. Entomological Society of America 60th Annual Meeting, Knoxville, TN.

• Leppanen C, Alyokhin A, Gross S (2012) Competition for aphid prey between different lady beetle species in a laboratory arena. Psyche http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/890327

• Alyokhin A, Leppanen C (2012) Ecological interactions between non-native and native lady beetles in Maine, the United States. XXIV International Congress of Entomology, Daegu, Korea.

• (Leppanen) Finlayson C, Alyokhin A, Gross S, Porter E (2010) Differential consumption of four aphid species by four lady beetle species. Journal of Insect Science 10:31 https://doi.org/10.1673/031.010.3101

• (Leppanen) Finlayson CJ, Alyokhin AV, Porter EW (2009) Interactions of native and non-native lady beetle species with aphid-tending ants in laboratory arenas. Environmental Entomology 38: 836-845 https://doi.org/10.1603/022.038.0338

• (Leppanen) Finlayson CJ, Landry KM, Alyokhin AV (2008) Abundance of native and non-native lady beetles in different habitats in Maine. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 101: 1078-1087 https://doi.org/10.1603/0013-8746-101.6.1078

• (Leppanen) Finlayson CJ (2008) Excrement eaters: Relationships between invasive ants, treehoppers, and the invasive plant, golden crownbeard, on Midway Atoll. Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Midway Atoll, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

• Nedeau E, (Leppanen) Finlayson C (2003) Monitoring chemical contaminants in Gulf of Maine coastal waters. Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment, Maine State of Maine Planning Office, Augusta, ME.

• (Leppanen) Finlayson C (2003) Inventory of environmental monitoring programs in the Gulf of Maine and Long Island Sound. Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment, Maine State Planning Office, Augusta, ME.

• (Leppanen) Finlayson C, Finlayson T (2003) New odonate records in Washington County, Maine. Maine Damselfly and Dragonfly Survey Report, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Bangor, ME.

• Leppanen CJ, Stephens C (2000) 2000 ‘Alala (Hawaiian crow) breeding season summary, Maui facility. Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program, Makawao, HI.

• Leppanen CJ (1999) Christmas shearwater (Puffinus nativitatis) population monitoring and reproductive assessment summary report, Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge (1995 to 1999). Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Refuges Complex, Honolulu, HI.

• Leppanen CJ, Maier KJ (1999) A comparison of test endpoints (survival, weight, length) in sediment toxicity tests with Hyalella azteca and Chironomus tentans. Report provided to the Columbia Environmental Research Center, Columbia, MO, for development of sediment quality guidelines.

• Leppanen CJ, Maier KJ (1998) An inexpensive and efficient modular water-renewal system for bulk sediment toxicity testing. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 17: 969-971 https://doi.org/10.1002/etc.5620170528

• Leppanen CJ, Blanner P, Allan RS, Benson WH, Maier KJ (1998) Using a triad approach in the assessment of hazardous waste site leaching from a Superfund site to an adjacent stream. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 17: 2106-2113 https://doi.org/10.1002/etc.5620171029


EDUCATION AND OUTREACH PUBLICATIONS AND PRODUCTS
• Leppanen C (2017) Buried in their work! UT Ecology & Evolutionary Biology volunteers get dirty digging roots to help with invasive species research. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Website, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. http://eeb.utk.edu/buried-in-their-work/

• Leppanen C, Bush J (coordinators) (2016) Pioneering biologist to discuss regional invasive species, impact March 2. National Invasive Species Awareness Week Lecture, Community Outreach, and Charity Auction. McClung Museum of Natural History, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. http://tntoday.utk.edu/2016/02/24/pioneering-biologist-discuss-regional-invasive-species-impact-march-2/

• Olapo L, Leppanen C, Simberloff D (2016) Hemlock woolly adelgid winter activity possibly linked to climate change. Tennessee Today (online), News and Events for the UT Community. http://tntoday.utk.edu/2016/02/25/hemlock-woolly-adelgid-winter-activity-possibly-linked-climate-change/

• Leppanen C, Simberloff D (2016) First report of hemlock woolly adelgid eggs hatching in early winter, possibly linked to climate warming. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Website, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. http://eeb.utk.edu/hemlock-woolly-adelgid-press-release/

• Leppanen C, Simberloff D (2016) Eppley Foundation grant awarded for hemlock woolly adelgid research. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Website, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. http://eeb.utk.edu/eppley-foundation-grant-awarded-for-hemlock-woolly-adelgid-research/

• (Leppanen) Finlayson C (2010) Island observations. National Geographic School Publishing, Carmel, CA.

• University of Maine (2010) BIO 208 Lab Manual. Anatomy and Physiology Lab Manual. School of Biology and Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, ME. ISBN: 978-0-8400-0801-5 (Editor)

• (Leppanen) Finlayson C, Sheavly S (2008) Marine debris monitoring project update. Gooney Gazette II: Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Spring 2008 Newsletter. Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Milwaukie, OR. Pages 1-7.

• (Leppanen) Finlayson C, Alyokhin A (2007) Biological invasions: A review (Synthesis Document). Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners, Center for Biodiversity & Conservation, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY. 42 pages.

• Alyokhin A, (Leppanen) Finlayson C (2007) Biological invasions: A review (Presentation Module). Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners, Center for Biodiversity & Conservation, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY. 42 slides with notes.

• Alyokhin A, (Leppanen) Finlayson C (2007) Biological invasions: A review (Exercise Module). Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners, Center for Biodiversity & Conservation, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY. 9 pages.

• (Leppanen) Finlayson C (2007) Teaching Lesson: Management of an invasive plant, golden crownbeard (Verbesina encelioides), on Midway Atoll – YOU DECIDE. Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington DC. 11 pages.

• (Leppanen) Finlayson C (2007) Christmas comes early! (Grant Report) The Gooney Gazette II: Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Winter 2007 Newsletter. Page 1.

• (Leppanen) Finlayson C (2007) Building partnerships: Invasive plant project summary: 2006-2007. The Gooney Gazette II: Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Winter 2007 Newsletter. Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Milwaukie, OR. Pages 7-10.

• (Leppanen) Finlayson C (2007) Verbesina control program: Second group of FOMA volunteers reports on their experiences. The Gooney Gazette II: Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Summer 2007 Newsletter. Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Milwaukie, OR. Pages 3-8.

• (Leppanen) Finlayson C, Finlayson T (2007) Invasive plant threatens Midway Atoll seabirds. Brochure for distribution to visitors to Midway Atoll. American Bird Conservancy, The Plains, VA.

• (Leppanen) Finlayson C, Arnold J (2006) Top 20 most threatened bird habitats in the United States. Habitat Conservation Spotlight. Bird Conservation, Fall Edition. Page 25.

• (Leppanen) Finlayson C (2006) Invasive plant eradication and native plant restoration project. The Gooney Gazette II: Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Summer 2006 Newsletter. Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Milwaukie, OR. Pages 1-3.

• (Leppanen) Finlayson C (2006) Eight lessons about lady beetles: Using lady beetles to learn about insects, pest ecology, biocontrol, and biological invasions. National Science Foundation GK12 Teaching Fellows Program, University of Maine, Orono, ME. 55 pages.

• (Leppanen) Finlayson C (2006) Brewer High School students visit Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Streamside: The Newsletter of the Friends of Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge 23: 1-2

• (Leppanen) Finlayson C (2006) Grant awarded to help in the fight against invasive species. The Gooney Gazette II: Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, May 2006 Newsletter. Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Milwaukie, OR. Pages 4-5.

• Finlayson T, (Leppanen) Finlayson C (2005) The big-headed ant, Pheidole megacephala, far from home. The Gooney Gazette II: Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Fall 2005 Newsletter. Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Milwaukie, OR. Page 2.

• (Leppanen) Finlayson C (2002) Washington County damselfly and dragonfly Survey underway. The Downeast Coastal Press, Inc. Volume 14 (44): 23


FICTION (BOOK)

• Leppanen CJ (2014) Bulletin of ZOMBIE Research: Volume 1. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Charleston, SC. ISBN: 978-1-4995-7675-7. 184 pages. (Author, Editor, and Publisher) https://www.kirkusreviews.com/author/christy-j-leppanen/


Contact Information

  • 491 Dabney Hall
  • Mailing Address: 569 Dabney Hall, 1416 Circle Dr, Knoxville, TN 37996
  • Phone: 865-974-3065
  • Fax: 865-974-3067
  • E-mail: cleppane@utk.edu

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