Faculty News

Artist rendering what the shrimp-like Cambrian species may have looked like. Illustration by Xiaodong Wang

Micro-CT lets scientists see telling 3D details in arthropod evolution

September 14, 2020

For the past five years, Prof Javier Ortega-Hernández and Prof. Yu Liu, Yunnan University, China have collaborated to learn more about arthropod evolution by using micro-CT scanning to create 3D models of fossils and view details that would be impossible to see otherwise. Their work was recently covered by the Harvard Gazette...

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JEB Cover Photo by Roy and Marie Battell

Mallard ducks' vertical takeoff requires different hindlimb kinematics and muscle function

September 10, 2020

Mallard ducks are capable of performing a wide range of behaviors including nearly vertical takeoffs from both land and water. The hindlimb plays a key role during takeoffs for both; however, the amount of force needed differs in fluid and solid environments. In a new paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology, recent graduate Kari Taylor-Burt (PhD '20) and Prof. Andrew Biewener hypothesize that hindlimb joint motion and muscle shortening are faster...

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Ballerini and Kramer_PNAS Cover Art

POPOVICH gene controlling development of nectar spurs in Aquilegia

August 26, 2020

The evolution of novel features - traits such as wings or eyes - helps organisms make the most use of their environment and promotes increased diversification among species. Understanding the underlying genetic and developmental mechanisms involved in the origin of these traits is of great interest to evolutionary biologists.

The flowering plant Aquilegia, a genus of 60-70 species found in temperate meadows, woodlands and mountain tops around the world, is known for a novel feature - the nectar spur, which is important for pollination, and for the ecology and...

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Special Commendation for Extraordinary Teaching in Extraordinary Times

August 21, 2020

Congratulations to OEB professors and PhD candidates awarded Special Commendation for Extraordinary Teaching in Extraordinary Times in Spring 2020from Dean Claybaugh:

Scott Edwards (Faculty, OEB 190), Philip Fahn-Lai (TF, OEB 126), Dave Matthews (TF, OEB 53), Jacob Suissa (TF, OEB 52), Inbar Maayan (TF, OEB 167), James Hanken (Faculty, OEB 167) and Jenni Austiff (TF, OEB 167).

Minioterus-wilsoni by Piotr Naskrecki

New Bat Species Named After E.O. Wilson

August 12, 2020

A new study in Acta Chiropterologica (22:1) has described a new bat species in southern Africa named Wilson’s Long-fingered Bat, Miniopterus wilsoni, after Faculty Emeritus Edward O. Wilson.

The new species, which is found on Mount Gorongosa in Mozambique and in the mountains of central and northern Mozambique and southern Malawi, was collected as part of the E.O. Wilson Laboratory at...

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Scott Edwards courtesy of James Deshler

Scott Edwards fulfills a lifelong dream while also raising awareness

July 5, 2020

When COVID-19 sent students home and halted lab research, Scott Edwards, Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Curator of Ornithology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, decided to fulfill his lifelong dream of cycling from the Atlantic to Pacific. Two weeks before his departure on June 6, nationwide protests broke out over the murder of George Floyd by a police officer. On the same day a video of a racist encounter in Central Park involving a Black birder and white woman went viral. As a result of that incident, a group of Black birders and naturalists launched...

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