Congrats to Heidi on her NSF-GRFP!

Congratulations to Heidi Rockney! She was awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Heidi is going to graduate school at San Francisco State University this Fall to work with Dr. Vance Vredenburg on an amphibian conservation project.

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NSF Grants $671K for Genomic Biodiversity Research Led by UT Arlington

An announcement of our new NSF grant was posted today at GenomeWeb.

The National Science Foundation has awarded a three-year, $671,000 grant to researchers studying biodiversity in West and Central Africa.

The award will fund genomic approaches to discover the mechanisms that contribute to the high biodiversity of the area, specifically in reptiles and amphibians.

“By using genomic approaches, including high-throughput DNA sequencing, we will be able to rapidly assess the genetic diversity in several frog and lizard species, an endeavor with immediate conservation implications,” Matthew Fujita, an assistant professor of biology at the University of Texas at Arlington and principal investigator of the grant, said in a statement.

Advanced data collection and analysis allow for precise quantification of evolutionary histories, according to the grant abstract. First, the researchers will use genomic techniques to discover new species of reptiles and amphibians, and then look into phylogeny, gene flow, and historical population sizes to get insight into the idiosyncrasies of biodiversity. The researchers said they would also develop new computational tools for comparative biology.

Fujita was part of the Avian Phylogenomics Consortium, a collaboration which published landmark papers about the genomes of bird and crocodilian species in December in Science.

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Columbia River Gorge Herps

roryHerpsPostdoctoral researcher Rory Telemeco (Buckley Lab) recently visited the Columbia River Gorge. He found some interesting salamanders on the Oregon side, including Dunn’s Salamander (Plethodon dunni), a Cascade Torrent Salamander (Rhyacotriton cascadae), and a Larch Mountain Salamander (Plethodon larselli). He also ran across his favorite, a southern alligator lizard (Elgeria multicarinata), on the Washington side.

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Rebecca Receives British Ornithologists’ Union Research Grant

yellowWagtailCongratulations to Rebecca Harris for receiving a research grant from the BOU. The funds will support her dissertation work on the genomic structure of the Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava.

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Looks like a staged photo to me.

PIC BY ADITYA PERMANA / MERCURY PRESS / CATERS NEWS

PIC BY ADITYA PERMANA / MERCURY PRESS / CATERS NEWS

The Huffington Post recently contacted me about the authenticity of this photo that was circulating on the web. They wanted to get my opinion on whether or not a lizard could sit like this, and if the photo may have been staged. Contrary to popular belief, lizards do not “lounge” on their backs, and they certainly do not hold leaves and and play the leaf-guitar. You can find other funny lizard photos online if you search for terms like “lounge lizard”, or “funny lizard photo”. There seems to be some demand for photos of lizards doing funny things. This picture is a good example.

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