Welcome to Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Congratulations to Sharon Billings, associate professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and associate scientist for the Kansas Biological Survey has recently been awarded a five-year, $545,520 grant from NSF to participate in the establishment of a “Critical Zone Observatory” in Union, S.C. to study how an ecosystem that once was transformed for agricultural production continues to be influenced by that usage long after the activity has ceased. The work will take place at the Calhoun Experimental Forest. The Calhoun CZO will be one in a larger network established by NSF to coordinate study of the interaction of water, ecosystems, and the atmosphere between the top of the bedrock underground to the treetops aboveground. Billings’ will lead KU’s contribution to the project focusing on how a forested ecosystem recovers from human induced disturbance, and putting it into a context of continual ecological change over the past two centuries.
Theoretical Ecologist search
The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Kansas Biological Survey are currently searching for a theoretical ecologist. The position is at the advanced assistant/associate professor rank, but exceptional postdocs may also apply. For full details, please see: http://jobs.brassring.com/1033/ASP/TG/cim_jobdetail.asp?partnerid=25752&siteid=5447&AReq=36BR
Congratulations to Bryan Foster (P.I.), Sharon Billings, and Val Smith (co-PIs) who were recently awarded an NSF Facilities grant for high-speed internet to the KU Field Station. The project will involve routing fiber-optic cable from a terminus in north Lawrence to the Field Station as well as providing linkages to various facilities at the field station. The grant will greatly enhance research and teaching activities at the Field Station.
Dr. Jim Bever and Dr. Peggy Schultz (both at Indiana University) will be spending the spring 2014 semester at KU. Dr. Bever will have a Visiting Professorship at KU; he is an expert in microbial ecology and studies interactions between soil fungi and plants. Dr. Schultz is a microbial ecologist and also is active in environmental outreach and education. Both are currently conducting a field experiment at multiple grassland sites to determine the degree to which mycorrhizal fungi alter plant community composition and restoration of tallgrass prairies. In addition to their research activities, Dr. Bever will be coteaching a graduate seminar in spring 2014 in microbial ecology with Dr. Ben Sikes.
Dr. Brown, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and curator-in-charge of the herpetology division of the Biodiversity Institute is featured in the article, Taxonomy: The spy who loved frogs, http://www.nature.com/news/taxonomy-the-spy-who-loved-frogs-1.13710. The article reflects on Brown's connection with his predecessor, Edward Taylor, who logged 23 years in the field collecting more than 75,000 specimens around the world and naming hundreds of new species. Dr. Taylor's work included extensive collections of lizards in the Philippines; of special interest was the Philippine parachute gecko, an unusual lizard that could glide from the tree tops. Driven by curiosity, Brown learned that Taylor collected the first known example, the type specimen, of this strange lizard in the town of Bunawan in 1912; but many of Taylor's specimens were lost or destroyed during World War II. Brown found the parachute lizard in the field and designated a type specimen to replace the original. This is one example of Brown's following in his mentor's footsteps by studying biodiversity in the Philippines and searching for Taylor's 'lost' species. Over the years, Brown has rebuilt some of Taylor's collection and resurrected many of his species. Following Taylor's trail has given Brown cause for optimism. "A lot of things people thought were extinct," he said, "if you go right where Taylor said to go, you can find them." Taylor's fascinating personal characteristics are woven into the story of his scientific contributions, as are his activities as a spy during two world wars.
Rob Moyle, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Associate Curator for the Biodiversity Research Center, and KU doctoral student, Carl Oliveros is featured as the lead story on KU Today for July 18, 2013. Moyle and Oliveros were part of a team of scientists organized by the New York City-based Wildlife Conservation Society for their expertise in tailorbird genetics to sequence DNA from a new species in midst of an Asian metropolis.
Congratulations to Dr.Paulyn Cartwright who has been selected to receive a National Science Foundation IOS Collaboration grant. Dr. Cartwright’s submission, entitled, “ICOB: Molecular and morphological characterization of polar capsules in the parasitic Myxozoa” was selected for an award of $249,943. Dr. Cartwright will work as Co-Principle Investigator with Professor Dorothee Huchon, from Tel Aviv University. Dr. Huchon will receive the same award through the Binational Science Foundation.
Rafe Brown’s research project funded by the National Science Foundation was featured in KU Today’s Headlines for June 13, 2013. Dr. Brown, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and curator-in-charge of the herpetology division of the Biodiversity Institute is featured in the article, Digitizing the calls of the wild which describes the importance of sounds to biologists in determining species. The $200,000 funded project will digitize, archive and make available thousands of field recordings of animal sounds at KU, and tie them with the specific specimens that were recorded. KU is one of 11 research institutions to digitize audio recordings through this effort. For full story go to: https://news.ku.edu/2013/06/06/project-will-digitize-archive-animal-sounds
Congratulation to Ms. Marianna Simoes (mentor: Caroline Chaboo) has been awarded an Ernst Mayr Fellowship to study specimens, including types, in several European museums this summer. This award along with grants from the Panorama and Entomology endowment funds, will permit travel to entomological collections in Manchester Museum (UK), Paris, and Stokholm.
Rafe Brown and Rob Moyle learned recently that their proposal "Phylogenomics of Adaptive Radiations in Island Archipelagos of the Pacific" has received funding from the Research Investment Council (RIC Level II award) of the Office of the Provost. RIC awards are intended to invest in multidisciplinary collaborations that increase synergy, enhance intellectual interactions, and boost competitiveness for extramural funding at KU. Brown and Moyle will use their $50,000 award to train a cohort of EEB, BI, MB, and ITTC researchers and students in an emerging new approach of Next-Generation DNA sequencing data capture and analysis of via the UltraConserved Elements (UCE) strategy. The majority of the award will be used to support EEB students on research assistantships during their training and subsequent dissemination of information to the wider KU research community. For details, see:http://ultraconserved.org/.
Congratulation to Jamie Oaks who was awarded the 2013 Graduate Studies Summer Research Fellowship for his research proposal “Improving methods for testing models of shared evolutionary history.” The award provides Jamie with a $5000.00 stipend to support his research during the summer semester. Jamie is co-advised by Rafe Brown and Mark Holder.
Daphne Fautin's research project funded by the National Science Foundation is featured as the lead story on KU Today for April 26, 2013. Her project shows that a greater number of sea anemone species live at the planet’s mid-latitudes, roughly the position of California, Virginia, Portugal, or New South Wales, and less diversity is apparent within the anemones’ group toward the equator and poles. According to the news article, Fautin’s research will appear in the May issue of The Biological Bulletin, vol. 224, no. 2. Her peer-reviewed paper is co-authored by KU colleagues Lacey Malarky and Jorge Soberon.
The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology has been awarded an NSF funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) beginning summer 2013. The program directed by Dr. Jennifer Gleason will bring 10 undergraduate students to the KU campus for 10 weeks to provide professional training and hands-on research experience. Primarily biology and mathematics majors, the students will participate in independent biology research under the supervision of KU faculty members in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. The REU program in EEB joins four other programs at KU funded by the National Science Foundation.
This Week's Seminar
Bold Aspirations Lecture: Dr. K. Christopher Beard, Mary R. Dawson Chair of Vertebrate Paleontology
10 December, 2013