Postdoc News

Enrico Strocchi- Lisbon Oceanarium on Flickr

Comparing shark skin surface and biomimetic models

August 25, 2022

Many marine organisms have been an inspiration for the design of bioinspired robots and other structures. Shark skin is one such organism due to its role in reducing drag and enhancing thrust. Researchers believe these properties are due to the textured surface composed of ridges on the surface of individual tooth-like scales, called denticles. Understanding the desing of shark skin can assist in developing bioinspired materials to the hulls of both surface and underwater vehicles to reduce the energetic cost of moving through water.

Attempts to replicate the...

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Artistic reconstruction of the reptile adaptive radiation in a terrestrial ecosystem during the warmest period in Earth's history by Henry Sharpe

Global warming spawned the age of reptiles

August 19, 2022

Studying climate change-induced mass extinctions in the deep geological past allows researchers to explore the impact of environmental crises on organismal evolution. One principal example is the Permian-Triassic climatic crises, a series of climatic shifts driven by global warming that occurred between the Middle Permian (265 million years ago) and Middle Triassic (230 million years ago). These climatic shifts caused two of the largest mass extinctions in the history of life at the end of the Permian, the first at...

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Isobel Ronai

Isobel Roani awarded the American Australian Association Fellowship

June 15, 2022

Postdoctoral Fellow, Isobel Ronai (Extavour Lab) has been awarded the American Australian Association Postdoctoral Fellowship for her project, "How a highly invasive tick reproduces without mating."

The fellowship was established in 2002 to provide support to American and Australian individuals to study and research in each other's countries respectively.

 

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Rachel Harris selected to serve on the NASA-ESA Mars Sample Return Campaign Science Group

Rachel Harris selected to serve on the NASA-ESA Mars Sample Return Campaign Science Group

June 14, 2022

Postdoctoral Fellow, Rachel Harris (Girguis Lab) has been selected as one of 16 scientists to serve on the NASA-ESA (European Space Agency) Mars Sample Return Campaign Science Group

The 16 scientists, from the U.S., Europe, Canada, and Japan, will function as a science resource for the campaign’s project teams as...

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Leeches floating in ethanol in vial

Researchers use leeches to map biodiversity

April 6, 2022

Researchers in Professor Naomi Pierce's lab teamed with researchers at the Kunming Institute, China, in a new study that used DNA samples extracted from the blood meals of leeches to map which animals live where in the Ailaoshan Nature Reserve in Yunnan, China. The study, published in Nature Communications, showed that the DNA samples can be used to find out which wild animals are present across large, protected areas such as national parks...

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Henry-Tuatara Southland by Larry Koester on flickr.com

New study shows modern tuatara are little changed from 190 million year old ancestors

March 6, 2022

The modern tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus) found in New Zealand may look like a lizard, but it is actually the last remnant of a mysterious and ancient order of reptiles known as the Rhynchocephalians. The Rhynchocephalians peaked in the Jurassic period and then mostly vanished from the fossil record. These odd creatures with jaws that slide back and forth and a third eye on the top of their heads can live for more than a century, and they prefer a chilly climate.

The decline following the Jurassic period created a patchy fossil record making it difficult for...

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Aquilegia by Amanda Slater on flickr

New study reveals novel interactions in the key processes that establish floral morphology

February 17, 2022

A new study in Development reveals novel interactions between cell division and cell expansion in the key process that establish floral morphology.

The study, led the PhD candidate Ya Min and co-author Stephanie J. Conway, postdoctoral fellow, and senior author Professor Elena M. Kramer, used a newly developed live-...

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Artistic reconstruction of Utaurora comosa by F. Anthony

A century later, International team of researchers describe second opabiniid ever discovered

February 9, 2022

In his book Wonderful Life the late Stephen Jay Gould, former professor in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard, popularized the “weird wonder” stem-group arthropods Opabinia and Anomalocaris, discovered in the Cambrian Burgess Shale, turning them into icons in popular culture. While the “terror of the Cambrian" Anomalocaris – with its radial mouth and spiny grasping appendages – is a radiodont with many relatives, the five-eyed Opabinia – with its distinctive...

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horseshoe crabs copulating during low tide in Cape Cod. Gonzalo Giribet

New study suggests horseshoe crabs colonized the sea from a land ancestor

February 8, 2022

A new study in Molecular Biology and Evolution led by Professor Gonzalo Giribet's lab disproves the monophyly (a group composed of only one ancestor) of Arachnida, suggesting horseshoe crabs colonized the sea from a land ancestor.

Chelicerata (Arachnids, horseshoe crabs, and their kindred taxa) are one of the two major branches of arthropods. They have long been considered a diverse group with many Paleozoic marine fossils. For instance, the horseshoe crabs is considered...

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