Congratulations to Elin Videvall for earning a highly competitive SRC Starting Grant to join the faculty and open her lab at Uppsala University! Elin plans to lead projects involving the microbiomes of wildlife in a changing world. Elin joined the lab with a Swedish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2021 and we are so proud to have had a small part in her journey.
The lab is thrilled to welcome Joselyne Chavez and Montana Stone to Brown! Both are keen to use combine ecological field experiments in with genomic lab technologies and computational approaches to advance our understanding of biology in a major way while also contributing to meaningful conservation. We couldn't be happier about the time we will get to have working with these top-notch scientists--they are both off to a great start!
The lab is incredibly excited to welcome Mary Burak! Mary is joining the lab as a Fulbright Scholar based in Kenya followed by an IBES Voss Postdoctoral Fellowship. Together these prestigious awards will support Mary for three years both in Kenya and at Brown. Mary will collaborate with a number of major NGOs as well as scholars at the University of Nairobi, the National Museums of Kenya, and Mpala Research Centre to address critical data needs for the conservation of large carnivores and herbivores across Kenya.
Mary completed a PhD in Os Schmitz's lab at Yale University in 2023. She is a star and we are so keen to learn from her and collaborate with her over the next few years and beyond!
An exciting paper from the lab on lizard behavior, let by (former) undergraduate all-star Thomas Patti, appears today in Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. The "Bite and Seek" paper focuses on the exploratory behaviors and bite force of the Podarcis lizard colony that we had on campus. Thomas and the team tested an extensive series of hypotheses about the relationship between behaviors observed in populations of this non-native lizard species and the recency of population establishment. All else equal, propensity for exploration might be expected to facilitate the establishment of new populations -- lizards have to explore at least a little to get somewhere new -- and thus recently founded populations should comprise groups of explorers. Not so in nature, Thomas reports, and this requires us to take a more nuanced view of behavioral 'syndromes' as sets of traits and behaviors that may be associated with invasion potential and success in non-native species. Great work Thomas, Colin, Andy, and Caroline!
Senior all-star Caroline Dressler won the 2023 Kidwell Prize! This is the top senior prize in our area of biology. Caroline was recognized for outstanding academics, a top-notch Honors thesis, consistent leadership at Brown, and a community-minded commitment to education. It was an honor to contribute to her journey -- we look forward to publishing more papers together and following her journey for years to come. Congrats, Caroline!
Congratulations to Andy Luo for a 2023 Fulbright Scholarship! On top of completing his Honors thesis and preparing to graduate, Andy can look forward to joining the amazing community of Fulbright scholars. During his program, Andy plans to teach English in Taiwan -- an amazing opportunity for a top-notch student.
Brown is typically among the top Fulbright-producing universities and Andy is the third Honors student from the lab to earn one. Amazing!
Congratulations to Robert Ang'ila for publishing a paper based on his Masters research in African Journal of Ecology! Robert's paper reports on spatial associations between the abundance and diversity of wildlife and understory plant communities across the massive CTFS-ForestGEO plot at Mpala Research Centre in Kenya. The work highlights how fine-scale variation in soil and topography can shape plant-herbivore interaction networks that play out over much broader scales. Great work, Robert!
Courtney has successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation! The dissertation is a complication of manuscripts that barely scratches the surface of the breadth of Courtney's wide-raging interests in mammalogy, ecology, functional morphology, and experimental biology! This summer, Courtney plans to leave Providence and begin an exciting postdoc at UC Santa Barbara in the lab of Deron Burkepile. Congratulations Courtney!!
Congratulations to Maddy for being one of only two undergraduates to be recognized with a prestigious Caleel '87 Memorial Undergraduate Biology Research Fellowship from the Division of Biology and Medicine at Brown in 2023! To prepare for her senior thesis next year, Maddy plans to spend the summer studying the health and nutrition of sloths in Costa Rica where she'll be based at La Selva. Exciting work will come from this incredible opportunity ahead!