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Cox has success at SICB meeting

Suzanne Cox, PhD Student in the lab of Gary Gillis, had a successful time at this January's Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology annual meeting. Not only was she runner up in this year's Best Student Paper contest in the Division of Comparative Biomechanics, she also received the best Oral Presentation Award by The Crustacean Society. Congratulations!

February Science Café: Mortal Combat

Black throated blue warbler

Mortal Combat: Bird Song and Territory Defense

This month's Science Café will be Monday, February 3rd at 6:00 pm at Eseslon Cafe. Dave Hof, a PhD candidate in OEB, will talk about his work investigating song function and aggression in songbirds, and how they use song to settle conflicts.

For information on the spring Science Café series, see oebsciencecafe.org or click on the Science Cafe mug.

Lin's work on mole locomotion featured in NY Times

Mole

Yi-Fen Lin, a doctoral candidate in Betsy Dumont's lab, reported at a recent meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology that moles seem to swim through the earth, and that the stroke they use allows them to pack a lot of power behind their shovel-like paws. Lin has collaborated with researchers at Brown University to record x-ray videos of moles tunneling. Her work is featured in Uncovering the Secrets of Mole Motion, New York Times.

Cleared: The Art of Science

Butterfly Ray

The Seattle Aquarium is currently hosting Cleared: The Art of Science, an exhibit of photographs by Adam Summers. The show features mesmerizing images of fish that have been specially treated to make the stained skeletal tissues visible through the skin and flesh. The technique, developed by Dr. Summers, uses dyes, hydrogen peroxide, a digestive enzyme and glycerin to make the flesh seem to disappear.

Adam Summers was one of OEB's first PhD recipients, receiving his degree in 1999. He is currently a Professor at the University of Washington and Associate Director at Friday Harbor Laboratories. Between 2000 and 2008, he wrote columns on biomechanics for Natural History magazine.

2014 Darwin Fellow Search

A search for a new Darwin Fellow is underway. The Darwin Fellow Program, founded in 1995, brings promising young postdoctoral researchers to UMASS Amherst. The two-year position provides a unique combination of teaching and research responsibilities and is excellent preparation for academic positions. The fellowship program embodies the interdepartmental collaboration that characterizes the OEB Graduate Program. Darwin Fellows are active participants in OEB, acting as mentors to graduate students, conducting research, leading seminar courses, and teaching courses in the Biology Department. The position will start in August 2014. Details on the position and the application procedure can be found here .

Search update: four candidates have been invited for interviews in February.

Goodwin wins Best Presentation award at LSGRS

Sarah Goodwin won the Best Presentation award for her talk "Shift of song frequencies in response to masking tones" at this year's Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium. OEB was well represented, with five students giving talks. Congratulations!

PUBLICATION HIGHLIGHT: Scott Schneider

Melissotarsus weissi and diaspidids

Old McDonald Was an Ant?

It’s a common sight… ants and aphids crawling around together on rose stems. Sometimes they appear to be interacting, but it’s not always clear what’s going on. Even if you haven’t seen it yourself, perhaps you know the story. Many species of ants and aphids have mutually beneficial relationships. The ants act as bodyguards for the aphids, protecting them from predators, and the aphids reward the ants with a honeydew that they produce from plant sap. This mutualistic relationship centered around food, called trophobiosis, also occurs between ants and other insects, such as some butterfly larvae, treehoppers, and scale insects, though the reward isn’t always honeydew. But what’s occurring when ants are providing protection for species that don’t provide honeydew? What’s the reward? Scott Schneider, joint OEB/Entomology PhD Candidate at UMass Amherst, believes the reward for protection from ants is sometimes something much more macabre.

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Five OEB students presenting at Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium

Sarah Goodwin, Caroline Curtis, Melissa Ha, Dina Navon and Skye Long will all be presenting their research at the 3rd annual Life Science Graduate Research Symposium. The all day symposium, featuring a total of 18 presentations by students in nine UMass grad programs, takes place in Campus Center 101 on Friday, November 22. Following the talks, a poster session and reception takes place on the 11th Floor of the Campus Center from 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. Awards for best talk and best poster will be presented at the end of the reception. Symposium details can be found here.

Lexi Brown Dissertation Defense

12:00 noon
Monday November 4, 2013
319 Morrill 2 (OEB Seminar Room)
Dissertation Title: How yellow is your belly? Honesty and carotenoids in a pigmented female fish
Advisor: Ethan Clotfelter

Sinauer Associates Lecture: Scott Gilbert

Gilbert and turtle shell

Dr. Scott Gilbert will give this fall’s Sinauer Associates Lecture on October 18 at 3:00 in 222 Morrill 2. His talk Extending Lynn's view: A new symbiotic biology combines his interest in developmental biology, evolution and the history of science. Dr. Gilbert is a professor of Biology at Swarthmore College and the University of Helsinki. He has written several textbooks, and is currently investigating a remarkable evolutionary novelty: how the turtle got its shell. Following the lecture, there will be a reception at the University Club.

The Sinauer Lecture series is sponsored by Sinauer Associates, Inc., publisher of college texts in biology, psychology and neuroscience.

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