Researchers Link Fungicides, Bumblebee Decline

Several bumblebee species have seen their ranges contract and some may face extinction due to several combined stressors, say ecologists Lynn Adler, professor of biology, and her former postdoctoral fellow Scott McArt, with others. Their recent analysis, one of the few to explore the relative importance of multiple factors, found unexpectedly that greater use of fungicides was the strongest predictor of range contraction in declining bumblebee species.

Crosby, Irschick Co-Direct New UMass Center for Evolutionary Materials

Polymer scientist Al Crosby and functional biologist Duncan Irschick, the inventors of the gecko-inspired adhesive, Geckskin, are co-directors of a new, system-wide UMass Center for Evolutionary Materials. It is intended to be a home for researchers from many fields who are interested in pursuing bio-inspired technologies to create new designs and products to benefit people and the environment.

Irschick explains that he and Crosby, inspired by the scientific and intellectual richness of their own collaboration and the success of Geckskin, want to see a center that will “engage people on a deep level of bio-inspiration, not as a buzz word but as a kind of intellectual playground for unstructured creativity. Such centers can be useful to foster collaborations.”

Normark comments on new findings on asexual reproduction

Benjamin Normark, Biology, was interviewed by media about a new study on Diploscapter pachys, a tiny roundworm has developed an asexual way to copy its genes that also leads to enough minute mutations to allow it to adapt but not cause crippling defects.

Podos elected President of the Animal Behavior Society

Jeff Podos was elected to serve as 2017-18 President of the Animal Behavior Society (ABS), which is the principal scientific society for this discipline in the Western Hemisphere. The Animal Behavior Society, together with its European sister society, the Association for the Study of Behavior, edits and publishes the discipline’s flagship journal, Animal Behaviour. The main duty of the ABS President is to chair the society’s executive committee, which is responsible for arranging the annual ABS conference, running student research and travel award competitions, selecting distinguished researchers for society awards, and supporting society members across the hemisphere in research, education, and outreach.

Fritz-Laylin Featured in Year in Cell Biology: 2017

Dr. Lillian Fritz-Laylin's paper WASP and SCAR are evolutionarily conserved in actin-filled pseudopod-based motility was highlighted by the Journal of Cell Biology in their Year in Cell Biology:2017. Ten research papers were identified that most captured the attention and interest of readers, based on number of requests for PDFs and full-text HTML versions of an article in the three months after its initial publication.