Bayesian Phylogenetics Workshop

A new workshop on Bayesian phylogenetic analysis using the program RevBayes is happening August 25-31, 2014 at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) in Durham, NC.  The course will cover a lot of useful material, including probability theory, divergence dating, species trees, biogeography, phylodynamics, comparative methods, and fully integrative Bayesian inference of phylogenetic parameters.  The course instructors are awesome too:
Bastien Boussau, LBBE, Lyon, France
Tracy Heath, UC Berkeley & U Kansas
Sebastian Höhna, UC Davis & UC Berkeley
John Huelsenbeck, UC Berkeley
Michael Landis, UC Berkeley
Nicolas Lartillot, LBBE, Lyon, France
Brian Moore, UC Davis
Fredrik Ronquist, NRM Stockholm
Tanja Stadler, ETH Zürich

They expect a lot of competition for space, so get your application in early.

Also, dress will be very casual, with a good chance of thunderstorms.

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New Postdoc. Andreas Chavez Joins the Lab!

A new postdoctoral researcher recently joined the lab. Dr. Andreas Chavez is a recent graduate from UW Biology. He is a mammalogist who specializes in phylogenetics, phylogeography, and hybrid zones. Andreas will only be with us until Summer, and then he’s moving to UC Berkeley to start work on a new postdoctoral research position at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. While he’s still here, Andreas is going to learn how to work with next-generation sequence data, including library preparation for RADseq and sequence capture approaches, data management, bioinformatics, and also phylogenetic analysis. Welcome to the lab!

Dr. Andreas Chavez

Dr. Andreas Chavez

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Anaconda Boxcavation

Last week at the annual Burke Museum Behind the Scenes Night we excavated the skeleton of a yellow anaconda. We acquired the anaconda from the Woodland Park Zoo, and we skinned the snake at the 2013 Behind the Scenes Night.

Anaconda boxcavation. Photo by Mike Etnier.

Anaconda boxcavation. Photo by Mike Etnier.

Mike Etnier from Boxcavations helped with the logistics, which involved burying the snake in a box of sand and storing it for the last year. You can watch the entire excavation process on youtube

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In the long run, herpetologist Tyrone Hayes beats big industry

A new article in the New Yorker tells the incredible story of UC Berkeley professor Tyrone Hayes, and his long fight against industry giant Syngenta’s herbicide (and frogicide) atrazine. To put the story in Star Wars terms, Syngenta is the “Evil Empire”, and the Tyrone Hayes lab is the “Rebel Alliance.”  The Empire seems to have unlimited resources at their disposal for lobbying and pushing their agenda. Meanwhile, scientific studies continue to paint a dismal picture for the impacts of atrizine on the environment.

Hayes has devoted the past fifteen years to studying atrazine, a widely used herbicide made by Syngenta. The company’s notes reveal that it struggled to make sense of him, and plotted ways to discredit him. Photograph by Dan Winters.

Hayes has devoted the past fifteen years to studying atrazine, a widely used herbicide made by Syngenta. The company’s notes reveal that it struggled to make sense of him, and plotted ways to discredit him. Photograph by Dan Winters.

 

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Salamander migration

Ambystoma gracile. Photo by Jared Grummer.

Ambystoma gracile. Photo by Jared Grummer.

Graduate student Jared Grummer was recently interviewed by the Sammamish Review to discuss salamander breeding and migrations, particularly in rural Seattle areas.

Highlights of the article include the following quotes (not necessarily from Jared):
– “Salamanders, as it happens, are kind of dumb.”
– “There’s nothing more irritating (for other drivers) than when you stop your car to go pick up a salamander,”
– “The males drop a sperm packet, which the females scoop up, and then – voila – there are fertilized eggs.”

You can find the original article here.

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