Randall J. Bendis (R.J.)
RJ Bendis is currently a fifth year Ph.D. student in the lab of Dr. Rick Relyea and is a recent transfer from the University of Pittsburgh. RJ was a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh in 2008 where he performed undergraduate research that was largely focused on comparative bacteriophage genomics. RJ’s career as an environmental scientist began in 2010 when he joined the Relyea lab as a first year graduate student. He has since passed his candidacy exams and is preparing to defend his thesis in the spring of 2015. Currently, RJ is a visiting scientist at RPI.
RJ’s dissertation research focuses on the evolution of resistance to anthropogenic stressors (i.e. pesticides) in non-target organisms, primarily zooplankton. Research has shown that zooplankton assemblages are critical for the proper functioning of aquatic communities and that extremely low, environmentally-relevant concentrations of insecticides can have cascading effects throughout aquatic food webs due to the sensitivity of zooplankton to these chemicals. RJ examines natural variation in insecticide resistance among zooplankton assemblages and then utilizes community experiments to see how this natural variation can impact the structure and functioning of these communities.
RJ enjoys running, swimming, going to the gym, hiking, snowboarding and skydiving. He also loves watching movies, playing video games and going to trivia competitions.
He is also involved with a number of collaborative efforts with the Blaustein lab at Oregon State University. These studies examine the interactive effects of pesticide and chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis or Bd) exposure on a number of amphibian species from both the western and eastern US. RJ is also involved in a separate study that attempts to either prove or debunk the hypothesis that bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus), which are considered an invasive species in the western US, can overwinter with Bd and potentially infect spring-breeding amphibians.
Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies