Postdoc, Elsa Ordway (Paul Moorcroft Lab) teamed with Greg Asner, Director of Arizona State University's Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science to investigate the impact of edge effects on forest structure and tree canopy characteristics along boundaries between lowland rainforests and oil palm plantations in Malaysian Borneo. One of the many consequences of tropical deforestation includes forest fragmentation, a process that involves dividing forests into smaller and smaller pieces, creating new borders between habitats. These borders are exposed to different...
Postdoc, Katrina Jones and Prof. Stephanie Pierce teamed with the Field Museum of Natural History to find how and when changes happened in the spine of mammals during evolution. Jones says the study, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, tries to answer a fundamental evolutionary question, "How does a relatively simple structure evolve into a complex one that can do lots of different things?"
New research by Bence Ölvecsky and Postdoc, Ashesh Dhawale, suggests errors resulting from variability in motor function is a feature, not a bug, of our nervous system and play a critical role in learning. The study published in Current Biology addresses the issue of how the brain regulates variability, which is necessary for learning, but not useful when a successful...
Stephanie Pierce and Postdoc Katrina Jones tackle the question of biological complexity using the complex mammalian spine as an evolutionary example. Using phylogenetic modeling, Pierce and Jones were able to discover why the mammalian vertebral column became more complex over time. The data published in Nature Communications shows major shifts in spine complexity are associated with increases in aerobic capacity, thus supporting the hypothesis for...
Congratulations to Javier Ortega-Hernández and Rudy-Lerosey Aubril (Research Associate, Ortega-Hernández lab) awarded the William F. Milton Fund for their project, "Revealing the nearshore cradle of animal evolution: a new exceptionally preserved soft-bodied fossil biota from the early Cambrian of British Columbia."
Species from widely divergent taxa can experience similar changes in traits. What underlying genetic drivers cause these parallel changes remains an open question. Scott Edwards, Tim Sackton (Director of Bioinformatics and former Postdoc) and PhD student Phil Grayson used a new method developed by collaborators in the Harvard Statistics Department to look across groups of birds that have repeatedly lost flight. The team showed there is convergence in the regulatory regions associated with genes related to flight, but not within the protein coding regions.
In a study in the March 15 issue of Science Magazine, Mansi Srivastava and lab members Andrew Gehrke, Emily Neverett, Yi-Jyun Luo, Lorenzo Ricci (Postdocs) and Ryan Hulett (PhD student) shed light on how some animals have the amazing ability to regenerate and uncovered a number of DNA switches that appear to control genes for whole-body regeneration.
Postdoc, Valentina Di Santo (Lauder Lab) examined the effect of ocean acidification and warming on mineralization of fish skeleton. Previous studies have focused on the effect of these climate-related stressors on calcification rates of the exoskeleton, or shell of marine invertebrates, as well as the ear stone of fishes. However, Di Santo's study, published in Proceedings of the...
Scientists have long assumed that the hundreds of species of salamanders that lack lungs breathe instead through their skin and the lining of the mouth. However, a new study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B led by postdoc Zachary Lewis (Hanken Lab) and Prof. Jim Hanken provides the first concrete evidence for how the lungless salamanders do "breathe".
HarvardOEBCongratulations to Peter Girguis, recipient of the 2020 Petra Shattuck Excellence in Teaching Award!
The award was established by the Harvard Extension School in memory of Petra T. Shattuck, a distinguished and… t.co/GYJBD3AbOC
HarvardOEBRewan Abdelwahab, Integrative Biology (IB) concentrator in OEB, says the four trips to five countries during her years at Harvard helped define and shape who she is
As a first-year student, Rewan visited… t.co/eqA06qPrQp