A great way to end the summer of 2022 -- major success for two postdocs in the lab!
Colin Donihue, Voss Postdoc in IBES, accepted a full-time position as a Data Analyst at the Brown Division of Campus Life. We are so happy to know that we will get to keep seeing Colin around campus! Colin has been an amazing collaborator, lab mate, and mentor to a number of undergraduates who are completing theses and coauthoring papers. Students at Brown are lucky that he will now be applying his research creativity and skillsets toward a data-driven opportunity to improve quality of life on campus! Woohoo!
Ezequiel Vanderhoeven, CONICET International Postdoc in EEOB, was awarded an Organization for Tropical Studies Early Career Fellowship! This award is an honor and a unique opportunity to join a storied community of field ecologists. Eze's project is titled "Health and nutrition of anteaters, armadillos, and sloths (Order Xenarthra)" and it will be carried out at La Selva Research Station. Fantastic opportunities lie ahead for Eze -- well deserved!
It feels good to have more of the lab getting back into the swing of fieldwork after the worst years of the early pandemic!
The lab has always maintained some field activity throughout the pandemic. Ezequiel has been remote from field sites across Argentina, Robert and Peter have been keeping active at Mpala in Kenya, and Colin (and the lizard team) as well as Amanda (and the terrapin team) had managed to keep active around the northeastern US. But a lot of us had to cut back or go it alone more than we would have liked. The tide is turning, though!
This summer we have had a group led by Beth (postdoc), Hannah (incoming grad student), and Maddy (UTRA student) at Yellowstone -- collecting dung, surveying plants, coordinating with collaborators -- with support from our scientific partners at the National Park Service and the Brown University Herbarium. Amidst the ongoing recovery from disastrous flooding along the Yellowstone River, we were able to get out into the field together to advance a number of priority projects for the lab.
We are super grateful to funders: NSF (CAREER & EPSCoR award), Department of Interior (Cooperative Agreement), Brown University (UTRA & IBES).
The quintessential group photo of the team:
Congratulations to Elin Videvall on her talk at the Revolution 2022 conference in Uppsala. Elin's presentation focused on interesting results from analyses of giraffe diets and microbiomes across Kenya. It was voted the *BEST TALK* of the entire conference!! What an amazing researcher and science communicator -- we are so fortunate to have Elin in the lab :)
Congratulations to Courtney Reed on new awards! We're not even a week into the new year and Courtney has already landed two major awards for student research, including a SICB Fellowship of Graduate Student Travel and an IBES Graduate Research, Training, and Travel Award. That's another $6,000 for Courtney's amazing research on small mammals -- bridging fieldwork in Kenya, functional morphology analyses of museum specimens, and DNA-based lab work. Well done!
Congratulations to Dr. Ezequiel Vanderhoeven for your Rufford Foundation Grant! Ezequiel plans to study infectious diseases circulating in populations of armadillo species native to the Argentinian Chaco. The goal of the study is to understand how diseases impact populations of these species for the benefit of conservation and to support local governments and communities in the adoption of environmental practices that minimize the risk of spillover. It is an extremely important and ambitious project. The Rufford award not only provides crucial financial support, but also represents a valuable endorsement of the work from a leading international authority on applied conservation biology.
Congratulations to Courtney Reed on winning the 2021 American Society of Mammalogist's James L. Patton Award. This prestigious award was presented today at the annual ASM conference, which was held online today. The support will enable Courtney to pursue exciting research on how gerbils evolved to be shaped in the diverse way that they are -- can't wait to see what she discovers!
Congratulations to Bianca for completing all requirements for her PhD yesterday! Bianca's dissertation was a pleasure to read and her presentation was full of stunning visuals. The work is going to change the way people think about the microbiome soon. After this, Bianca will start a prestigious NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Vanessa Ezenwa's lab at Yale!
I am very pleased and honored to know that the lab will be funded by an NSF CAREER Award (DEB-2046797). The award will support ongoing collaborations with Yellowstone National Park for the next five years! During this time we will use dietary DNA metabarcoding to analyze the diets and microbiomes of migratory large mammals and connect this information with what we learn from ecological field experiments to better understand plant-herbivore interactions in this amazing ecosystem. We are excited to support many, many students and early career researchers in the classroom, laboratory, and at Yellowstone in ways that foster growth and improve representation in the field. This award complements and extends what we hope to accomplish through our ongoing NSF EPCSCoR (OIA-2033823) award and increases our current level of NSF support to four active awards.
I will post information about the first new opportunities to join the lab and work on projects like this one over the course of this summer.
While everyone in the lab continues to be impacted by the global pandemic, we also pause to appreciate our increased opportunity to begin resuming research and to extend our welcome to the new lab members who are joining us this summer.
We are fortunate once again to have had an opportunity to work with some AMAZING researchers who are now graduating.
Congratulations to Amanda Lyons '20 Honors '21 MSc for completing her 5th year Master's degree! Amanda has been leading the northeastern terrapin genetics project in our lab for the past few years. Amanda's Honors thesis included some really insightful RADseq data obtained in collaboration with a whole host of governmental, non-profit, and academic partners. We expect the output to have a significant impact on conservation strategies and priorities for the turtle in the region.
Congratulations to Camille Tulloss '21 for earning Honors and a Senior Biology Prize for her graduation! Camille's thesis focused on the microbiomes of wild bison migrating across Yellowstone National Park. The work was a scientific and visual masterpiece, that seamlessly melded Camille's passion for research, scientific education, and illustration. We look forward to collaborating with Camille on this topic for years to come.
A quick note about our posts: Our lab's response to the pandemic was to focus in on supporting ourselves and one another. As a result, I have not been very good about publicly posting these sorts of milestones and accomplishments for the amazing people in the lab this year. The situation is still fluid, both locally and globally, but I aspire to post more regular updates going forward.