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.
Postdoctoral 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.
Congratulations 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.
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.
Itzue and Sima are almost finished with an exciting new species delimitation paper. They are submitting the paper in about one week. They already started blowing up balloons in anticipation of their celebration.
Getting ready for the party.