The Graduate Program in


Andrew Smith awarded DDIG

Andy Smith, OEB doctoral candidate in Betsy Dumont's lab, has been awarded a $20,131 Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant from NSF's DEB for his project "The role of integration in driving the morphological diversity of mammalian jaws." Congratulations to Andy and Betsy!

TLDG Schedule and Readings

The theme for this spring's Thursday Lunch Discussion Group (TLDG) is Interesting papers by upcoming seminar speakers. The schedule and readings are posted here. TLDG meets every Thursday from 12 noon - 1 p.m. in the OEB Seminar Room (319 MOR 2) and, as always, lunch is provided. The full OEB community is invited to join in discussions.

Spring 2015 Science Café

OEB Science Cafe's are back with our Spring Series! Science Cafe's have moved to Amherst Brewing Company and are now on Tuesday nights. The events are free, open to the public, and start at 6 p.m.

February 3
Neighborhood watch: Social eavesdropping in birds, with Sarah Goodwin

March 3
Deja vu: Repeated forms in evolution, with Dr. Daniel Moen

April 7
Developing diversity: The role of nature and nurture in evolution, with Dr. Kara Powder

May 5
Nature knows best: Biologically inspired technology, with Drs. Duncan Irschick and Al Crosby

Schneider's work on ant's farming armored scale insects featured in BBC Earth

Melissotarsus weissi

Scott Schneider, joint OEB/Entomology PhD Candidate, studies the interactions between the Afrotropical ant genus Melissotarsus and the armoured scale insects from the family Diaspididae. His work on ant farmers is featured in Amazing animal farmers that grow their own food. For more information, check out Casey Gilman's story on Schneider's interesting discovery.

Search for Darwin Fellow underway

Our current Darwin Postdoctoral Fellow, Dan Moen, has accepted a position at Oklahoma State University and will be leaving at the end of his first year. A search for a new Darwin Fellow is now underway. Details can be found HERE. Applications are due by January 26, 2015.

Alcott's research featured in local papers

Herring & snapping turtle

Derrick Alcott, first year OEB doctoral student, is already garnering press for his work on Cape Cod river herring. Alcott studies alewives (Alosa pseudoharengus) and blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis) and is particularly interested in how the various impediments in the Herring River valley affect the herring’s ability to migrate. His work was recently featured in several Cape publications, including Wicked Local Wellfleet.

Stengle's work featured on Jeff Corwin's 'Ocean Mysteries'

Timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

OEB PhD candidate Anne Stengle's timber rattlesnake research was recently featured on Jeff Corwin's 'Ocean Mysteries'. Stengle studies habitat selection, connectivity, and viability of the endangered timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) metapopulation in southwestern Massachusetts. Watch as Stengle and Corwin visit one of Stengle's field sites.

Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium

The 4th annual UMass Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium will be held on Friday, November 21. The event brings together graduate students from all areas of life sciences research at UMass to present their work in both talks (9:30 am-4:00 pm, Campus Center 163) and a poster session/reception (4:30-6:00 pm, Campus Center 11th floor). This event is open to everyone who wants to learn about the fantastic life sciences work going on at UMass! The schedule for presentations is available on the LSGRC website. Four OEB students will be giving talks (Emily Fusco, Caroline Curtis, Dina Navon and Yong Zhang) and three will be presenting posters (Derrick Alcott, Kit Straley, and Hannah Broadley).

OEB faculty awarded UMass Industry-Academic Grant to support OEB students

A UMass Industry-Academic Grant with New England Biolabs, submitted by a trio of OEB faculty (Jeff Blanchard, Kristen DeAngelis and David Sela), has been funded by the UMass Grad School. The grant will provide significant research and mentoring experiences in the private sector for a trio of OEB students (Grace Pold, William Rodriguez and Lauren Alteio) as they conduct their global warming projects at Harvard Forest.

Fall schedule for OEB Science Cafés announced

Monday, September 8
In search of the genes that make us human, with Dr. Courtney Babbitt
Adults drinking milk, complex thought, paying taxes, and other uniquely human activities.

Monday, October 6
Builders, farmers, and relationship cultivators: how ants are more like us than you think, with Scott Schneider
They were farming long before we even began drawing in caves.

Monday, November 3
A bat’s guide to strange sex, with Dr. Teri Orr
Sperm storage, penis spines, and other oddities of mammalian reproduction.

Monday, December 8
Bird brain: the science of learning songs, with Dr. Luke Remage-Healey
Neural circuits on steroids!

Science Cafés, organized by OEB grad students, are held at Esselon Café on Route 9 in Hadley on Monday nights. All events start at 6:00pm. For more info, check the Science Café website or click on the mug below.