Natalie passed her oral exams today! From what I've heard, she did a wonderful job. Be sure to congratulate her next time you see her in the lab.
Chelsea, Paceyn and I did another short drive on March 2nd. We started in Sonoita, cut through the Patagonia Mountains to the border town of Lochiel, and made our way back to Sonoita via the Canelo Hills and Santa Cruz River Valley. It had rained the night before and we had a very nice drive in spite of some mud. I collected quite a few flies and I hear that the birding was also good....
Paceyn and I took a short hike in Florida Canyon this morning. The USFS trail guide said that this was a lightly used area but by the time we got to the trailhead, the parking lot was packed. There were license plates from 9 different states. We met lots of people on the trail and there was evidently some rare bird spotted in the area. So much for lightly used. We followed the main trail for about 1/2 mile then took a smaller one up the wash.
I had been here in 1995 or so and had collected a bunch of Scaptomyza. My goal for today was to see if they were still there and to try and collect some ephydrids as well. There was a surprising amount of water in the canyon and we ended up at a small dam that was packed with moss, algae and aquatic plants. The Scaptomyza were still there, as were some leaf mines. I got a good mixture of different flies including Scaptomyza, ephydrids, bibionids, tipulids and syrphids.
Paceyn was a great help. She loved scrambling around on rocks in the wash and collecting plants and rocks. We had a great picnic and made our way back to the car with plenty of time to explore the neighboring Madera Canyon. There weren't any opportunities of collect there but hopefully on a future trip I can find some good spots.
Chelsea, Paceyn and I did a short drive on Sunday out toward the town a Arivaca. Our first stop was the Longhorn Grill, just off I-19. Although this place is closed now, it still attracts a lot of attention and is good place to stretch your legs before heading west on the smaller roads. The road heads west from Arivaca Junction to the town of Arivaca. This is one of the oldest settlements in the area and has a great coffee place. The Buena Vista National Wildlife refuge is also just outside of town. From Arivaca, we took Ruby Road toward the ghost town of Ruby, AZ, the site of an extensive silver mine. We stopped for some collecting just past Ruby where California Gulch crossed the road. There was some water in the wash and I was able to collect ephydrids, dolichopodids, chironomids, chloropids and several other families of flies. It was a good trip and I hope that the ephydrids are useful in some of the biogeographic work I've started in the western US. Paceyn was a huge help spotting flies and "fishing" in the wash.
The lab has been collecting Hawaiian Diptera for over 15 years now and we have a large amount of unpublished data on species distributions, identification resources and new species of various fly groups. I decided to try a new journal as an outlet for these types of data. The Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ) is a peer-reviewed journal published by Pensoft. It offers a unique, online paper authoring and revision format that works very well with catalogs, species descriptions and identification keys. All distribution data is input in Darwin Core format and made available for download as CSV files. It is also ported to GBIF. BDJ is also a rapid outlet so papers can appear within a few weeks of initial submission.
My plan is to publish a series of papers on Hawaiiain Diptera. The first, a number of new island records for the endemic Hawaiian Asteia, was just published. Look for future papers on Limoniidae, Canacidae, Ephydridae and (of course) Drosophilidae.
Congratulations to Kari Goodman on her most recent publication. This will be the first in a series of papers comparing and contrasting the evolutionary dynamics of various groups of Hawaiian Diptera.
It's been several months since the lab blog post here. The summer has gone way too fast. There's lots of news to report and I've been pretty slow to get it all posted. I'm going to cover several things in a single post so I don't get swamped by all the things coming up this semester.
Evolution Meetings. Several lab members, including Lisa, Jessica, Natalie and Brian, attended the Snowbird Meetings. Lisa and Brian did wonderful jobs presenting their research. All three students (Lisa, Jessica and Natalie) received travel funds from the Spieth Award to attend this meeting. I also got to spend a day collecting insects with former graduate student Rick Lapoint.
Hawaii Trip. Jessica, Alli Quan from Mike Eisen's Lab and I went to Hawaii in July. In addition to our own lab collections for Drosophila and yeast, the goals of the trip were planning for our Dimensions in Biodiversity grant. We looked at various field sites and discussed specimen collecting methods and data organization. It was a huge group to manage but also a lot of fun. Other researchers on the grant included Rosie Gillespie, George Roderick, Dan Gruner, Kerry Shaw, Don Price, Diana Percy, Karl Magnacca, Michael Brewer, Kari Goodman, Curtis Ewing, Andy Rominger, Jon Lambert, Darko Cotoras, Elska and Kyle Roy.
It was while we were in Hawaii that we discovered that Lisa Marrack, also on the Big Island at the time, had made the press. Her research on climate change and its impacts on anchialine pools was featured in West Hawaii Today. You can read the article here.
Arizona. I also took a short trip to Tucson to visit my PhD advisor Margaret Kidwell. It was Margaret's 80th birthday and there was a reception for the establishment of a new endowment in her honor. Although it was a short trip, I had a great time and got to see many old friends. I'm looking forward to being back in Tucson for my upcoming sabbatical.
Jessica passed her oral exams this morning! If you weren't able to make it to the celebration, be sure to congratulate her next time you see her. We had a champagne toast in the lab, followed by lunch at Phil's Sliders
We have two pieces of good news on the Scaptomyza front this week. First, Rick's phylogeny paper was accepted by Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. It should be out sometime in 2013 but I'll post a link here when it becomes available online.
The second item is that our NSF preproposal was accepted for a full proposal. We'll be working on this over the course of the summer. Congratulations to Rick and Noah!!