Visiting Researcher Alejandra Panzera

Welcome to Alejandra Panzera, a visiting researcher from Universidad de Concepción, Chile. She is a PhD student working with Dr. Pedro Victoriano in the Laboratorio de Microevolución y Ecología de Vertebrados. She will be here for the next three months to learn how to collect sequence capture data for her dissertation research on Liolaemus lizards.  Alejandra is working on phylogeography and species delimitation in Liolaemus tennis, a species with a broad distribution across Chile. She is also collecting sequence capture data to resolve the phylogenetic relationships of a clade of Chilean Liolaemus species. Just this weekend she found her first salamander – congratulations!

Alejandra Panzera (and Leonard Jones)

Alejandra Panzera (& Leonard Jones)

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Undergraduate Research in Biodiversity Genomics

Four new undergraduate researchers have joined the lab! Welcome to Ricardo Sevilla, Sneha Krishnan, Abigail Tyrrell, and Gianni Aranoff.  These four students are part of our new annual summer research internship program aimed at recruiting motivated undergraduates at early stages of their academic careers into systematics and biodiversity research. They will work on projects related to genomic library preparation, developing scripts, and data analysis.
Thanks to Kevin Epperly (postbac. student, standing in photo) for his help with training. Over the next several months they will learn the lab basics before moving on to genomic library preparations.

New undergraduate researchers join the lab.

New undergraduate researchers join the lab.

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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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