OEB Thesis Seminar

2017 May 08

Kara Feilich Thesis Defense (Lauder Lab)

10:00am

Location: 

Biological Labs Lecture Hall, Room 1080, 16 Divinity Avenue

Title:  Disentangling the Roles of Form and Motion in Fish Swimming Performance

Abstract:  A central theme of comparative biomechanics is linking patterns of variation in morphology with variation in locomotor performance. This presents a unique challenge in fishes, given their extraordinary morphological diversity and their complex fluid-structure interactions. This challenge is compounded by the fact that fishes with varying anatomy also use different kinematics, making it difficult to disentangle the effects of morphology and kinematics on...

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2017 Apr 26

Jack Boyle Thesis Defense (Naomi Pierce Lab)

10:00am

Location: 

Harvard University Herbaria Seminar Room 125, 22 Divinity Avenue

Title:  Causes and Consequences of Coexistence in the Vachellia drepanolobium Ant-Plant Mutualism

Abstract:  This thesis focuses on a mutualism between the East African acacia tree Vachellia drepanolobium and the species of canopy-dwelling ants that inhabit it.  The tree provides the ants with nesting space in the canopy and extra-floral nectar, and in return the ants defend the tree from herbivores. Several different ant species compete vigorously with each other for this canopy nesting space.  Despite this,...

Read more about Jack Boyle Thesis Defense (Naomi Pierce Lab)
2017 Apr 26

Allison Shultz Thesis Defense (Edwards Lab)

2:00pm

Location: 

Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street

Title:  Comparative and Population Genomics of Host-Pathogen Co-Evolution in Birds

Abstract:  Infectious disease produces some of the strongest selective forces on natural populations across the tree of life. The signatures of pathogen-mediated evolution on host genomes have been described for several model organisms, but few studies of non-model organisms have detected such signatures beyond candidate loci such as MHC genes or toll-like receptors. In my dissertation I use population genomics and comparative genomics to study the dynamics of...

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2017 Apr 07

Glenna Clifton Thesis Defense (Biewener Lab)

11:00am

Location: 

Biological Labs Lecture Hall, 1080, 16 Divinity Avenue

Title:  Anatomical Patterns, Kinematics, and Propulsive Strategies of Foot-Based Swimming Birds

Abstract:  Within the diversity of birds, numerous lineages have colonized aquatic environments. Birds that swim by paddling with their feet must generate propulsive forces underwater using legs originally adapted for walking. Despite this challenge, foot-propelled swimming has evolved independently in at least six avian lineages (including in cormorants, grebes, and loons) and to varying degrees of specialization....

Read more about Glenna Clifton Thesis Defense (Biewener Lab)
2017 Mar 28

Ambika Kamath Thesis Defense (Losos Lab)

3:00pm

Location: 

Biological Labs Lecture Hall, Room 1080, 16 Divinity Avenue

Title:  Phenotypic Variation and the Behavioral Ecology of Lizards

Abstract:  Behavioral ecology is the study of how animal behavior evolves in the context of ecology, thus melding, by definition, investigations of how social, ecological, and evolutionary forces shape phenotypic variation within and across species.  Framed thus, it is apparent that behavioral ecology also aims to cut across temporal scales and levels of biological organization, seeking to explain the long-term evolutionary trajectory of populations and species by...

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2017 Jan 27

Daniel Rice Thesis Defense (Desai Lab)

10:00am

Location: 

Harvard Herbaria Seminar Room

Title:  Statistics and Dynamics of Adaptation from de novo Mutations

Abstract:  All living organisms are shaped by natural selection. Therefore, by studying natural selection as a generic process, we may gain insights into broad questions regarding the diversity of life, the fit of organisms to their environments, and the rate of evolutionary change. The process of natural selection consists of two steps. First, genetic mutations generate distinct genotypes within a population, which vary in their rates of survival and reproduction....

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2016 Dec 01

Pierre Baduel Thesis Defense (Bomblies Lab)

9:00am

Location: 

Biological Labs Main Lecture Hall, 16 Divinity Avenue

Title:  Patterns of Genome Evolution and Habitat Adaptation in Tetraploid Arabidopsis arenosa

Abstract:  Polyploidy occurs throughout eukaryotes, and is particularly prevalent among plants. Nearly 40\% of all vascular plant species are thought to be recent polyploids, including a number of invasive species and familiar crops. Despite the high incidence of polyploidy, most studies of its genetic attributes are based on crop and model systems that do not represent natural evolutionary models. Here, we make use of the natural diploid /...

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2016 Oct 20

James Crall Thesis Defense (Naomi Pierce Lab)

3:00pm

Location: 

William James Lecture Hall, B1, 33 Kirkland Street

Title:  Foraging in a Complex World: From Individual Flight Performance to Collective Behavior in Bumblebees (Bombus impatiens)

Abstract:  Foraging is a crucial and remarkably complex behavior that is key to survival.  For social insects such as bumblebees, successful foraging depends on a combination of individual traits (e.g. physiological and biomechanical performance of individual workers) and collective behavioral strategies for regulating food intake at the colony level.  Here, I use foraging...

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2016 Sep 06

Joel Nitta Thesis Defense (Davis Lab)

10:00am

Location: 

Harvard University Herbaria Seminar Room

Title:  Ecology and Evolution of the Ferns of Moorea and Tahiti, French Polynesia

Abstract:  Ferns are the only major clade of land plants with haploid (gametophyte) and diploid (sporophyte) stages that can grow separately from each other for extended periods. The ecology of fern gametophytes, which represent the sexual part of the life cycle, is very poorly known due to their small size and cryptic morphology. In contrast, the conspicuous...

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2016 Jul 19

Leandra King Thesis Defense (Wakeley Lab)

10:00am

Location: 

Haller Hall, 24 Oxford Street

Title: Estimating TMRCA, Modeling the Fixed Pedigree, and the Effect of the Y Chromosome on the Chromatin Landscape

Abstract:  This thesis consists of three different chapters on very different topics.

Chapter 1: We demonstrate the advantages of using information at many unlinked loci in order to better calibrate estimates of the time to the most recent common ancestor (TMRCA) at a...

Read more about Leandra King Thesis Defense (Wakeley Lab)
2016 Apr 26

Leonora Bittleston Thesis Defense (Naomi Pierce Lab)

12:00pm to 1:00pm

Location: 

Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St.

Title: Convergent interactions among pitcher plant microcosms in North America and Southeast Asia

Abstract: Ecosystems are composed of diverse suites of organisms whose interactions are mediated by both the biotic and abiotic constraints of their environments. The complexity of ecosystems makes them both resilient and difficult to understand. Analyzing the patterns and constraints of biodiversity...

Read more about Leonora Bittleston Thesis Defense (Naomi Pierce Lab)
2016 Apr 26

Kolea Zimmerman Thesis Defense (Hartl Lab)

9:00am

Location: 

Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St.

Title: The genetics of life history traits in the fungus Neurospora crassa

Abstract:  The study of life histories is fundamental to understanding why some organisms live for a very short time while others live for a long time, why some produce thousands of offspring while others produce one, or why some need a mate to reproduce while others can do it on their own. The life histories of many animals and plants are well known because we can easily walk into a forest or field and measure them. Fungi, on the other hand, are hard...

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