Great news! Graduate student Natalie Stauffer has been awarded several fellowships in the past two weeks. She received a Resh Award for her research and an O&E summer student fellowship that will pay stipend for summer 2015. She was also just selected for a Berkeley Connect position for the 2015-2016 academic year. Excellent work Natalie!
Nina Pak has been admitted into the graduate program in the Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management! While she won't be changing labs, everyone is excited to have her stay in the lab as a PhD student.
She was also just awarded a summer research fellowship with the National Taiwan University. She'll spend the summer working in a research lab in Taiwan (and maybe collecting canacids and ephydrids) before coming back to Berkeley to start grad school in the fall. Congratulations!!
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!!
Lisa has been awarded the Colman Fellowship for 2013-2014. This is a highly competitive award that ESPM gives to graduate students working on watershed issues.
The lab has been funded as part of a large grant (led by Rosie Gillespie) to examine the origins of Hawaiian biodiversity. Here's a link to the announcement on the ESPM web page.
Not many people get paid to be twelve years old, at least not as adults, so I feel I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve been working on a project that lets me go to so some beautiful rivers and streams, flip over rocks, and look for aquatic insects. It kindles the fun and curiosity that I remember while doing that kind of thing when I was a kid. Now, of course, I have a research question in mind while I’m out there. Our lab has been conducting surveys of aquatic insects in a few representative Northern California watersheds to establish the composition of aquatic insect communities, create a DNA barcoding (see this blog, too) database of Norcal aquatics for more efficient biomonitoring in the future, link taxa to characteristics of the habitat, and, using landscape genetics, make predictions about how global change biology may affect our local rivers and streams.
Aquatic insects have been used in biomonitoring for about a century as a way to assess the health of riparian areas. Biomonitoring adds informative data to chemical testing of water. Chemical testing provides valuable information about a particular component, such as dissolved oxygen or the concentration of a pollutant, at one moment in time. Biomonitoring is a way to assess whether all of the components of a system are such that they support the surveyed organisms over their entire lifespan. Both chemical and biological surveys can be combined to give a fuller picture of ecosystem health. Biomonitoring of aquatic insects is now being used not only to assess current and past ecosystem health, but also to predict future changes, for example in response to climate change.
In recent years, concerns about the effects of human-driven climate change on riparian ecosystem have increased. Climate change is projected to alter precipitation patterns, the timing of seasonal transitions, and extremes of both heat and cold, among other effects. These changes will affect different members of biotic communities differently according to their ability to adapt to changing conditions or disperse to more favorable habitat. We can use species distribution modeling to identify key characteristics of favorable habitat, and use patterns we find today using landscape genetics to identify potential obstacles that could prevent taxa from shifting ranges.
We are fortunate to be doing this as part of a larger consortium on campus, the Berkeley Initiative in Global Change Biology, or BIGCB. With funding from the Vice Chancellor’s Office, the Moore Foundation and the Keck Foundation, the BIGCB is focused on global change forecasting for California ecosystems, using analyses of fossil, historic and current data to better understand California ecosystems responses to environmental change and make predictions of future ecosystem changes.
We were invited to submit a full NSF proposal on the ecology and phylogenetics of the genus Scaptomzya. We're working with Noah Whiteman and Rick Lapoint at the University of Arizona. This work will examine the biogeography and phylogeny of Scaptomyza in Hawaii and throughout the world.
Check for updates on our new project site: http://scaptomyza.drosophilaevolution.com/
First year graduate student Jessica Craft received honorable mention for her NSF GRFP and Ford Foundation proposals.
Second year graduate student Lisa Marrack was awarded a George Melendez Wright Climate Change Fellowship. More information on the program is here: http://coenv.washington.edu/students/melendez_wright/
The lab was just awarded a $3500 grant to do barcoding of aquatic insects in Northern California. Congrats to Brian for all his hard work on this project.