Graduate News

European roe deer courtesy of Nathan Ranc

From One Animal to an Ecosystem

June 21, 2019

At 45 pounds and just over two feet tall, adult European roe deer are much smaller than American deer and closer in size to a greyhound. And unlike their cousin species, red deer or elk, roe deer like to be solitary, spending most of their lives within a range of one square kilometer.  PhD student, Nathan Ranc (Paul Moorcroft lab) want to know the reason for this mystery. In the Alps of northern Italy, Nathan and colleagues are trying to build a model that explains the factors determining why particular deer choose to live where they do. His work with roe deer...

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Illustrations for McCoy Proceedings of Royal Society B Paper

Structurally Assisted Super Black in Colourful Peacock Spiders

May 15, 2019

Peacock spiders, known for their elaborate mating dances, use incredibly dark, “super black” patches on their body to enhance nearby colors. This makes colors look impossibly bright, or even glowing, an optical illusion also used by birds-of-paradise.The spider evolved microlenses on its body surface, which manipulate light in the same way human-made materials do.

PhD Student, Dakota McCoy (David Haig Lab) documents a remarkable convergence of form, between nature and engineering, and function, between two groups of highly ornate, sexually selected animals,...

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southern cassowary Luke Seitz

Convergent Regulatory Evolution and Loss of Flight in Paleognathous Birds

April 5, 2019

Species from widely divergent taxa can experience similar changes in traits. What underlying genetic drivers cause these parallel changes remains an open question. Tim Sackton (Director of Bioinformatics and former postdoc in Scott Edwards Lab), PhD student, Phil Grayson and Prof. Scott Edwards 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.
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Mansi Srivastava and Andrew Gehrke with specimens in the laboratory. Courtesy of Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

The Genetics of Regeneration

March 15, 2019

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.

The team used three-banded panther worms to test the process and discovered...

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Derek Bok Center

OEB Graduate Students Receive Fall 2018 Derek Bok Center Certificate of Distinction in Teaching

March 12, 2019

Congratulations to OEB graduate students awarded the Fall 2018 Derek Bok Center Certificates of Distinction in Teaching!

Nicole Bedford (OEB 145); Catherine Chamberlain (SCILIVSY 12); Samuel Church (OEB 155R); Jessica Gersony (OEB 120); Kadeem Gilbert (OEB 114); Benjamin Goulet (OEB 50); Eadaoin Harney (OEB 252); Alyssa Hernandez (OEB 10); Ryan Hulett...

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Bee Sensor courtesy of Jacob Peters

How Honey Bees Keep the Hive Cool on Hot Days

February 5, 2019

Postdoc, Jacob Peters (PhD '18) and Prof. L. Mahadevan have developed a framework that explains how bees use environmental signals to collectively cluster and continuously ventilate the hive. The study published in Journal of the Royal Society Interface looked at European honey bees (Apis mellifera), which live in large congested nest cavities with a single opening that limits...

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Golden Jackal by Koshy Koshy on Flickr

Rise of the Golden Jackal

January 14, 2019

PhD student, Nathan Ranc (Moorcroft Lab) studies wildlife movement ecology. Nathan's work - supported by the Edmund Mach Foundation in Italy - follows the staggering expansion of the golden jackal. Ranc and Miha Krofel, a conservation biologist at the University of Ljubljana, lead 37 volunteers — scientists and naturalists — in monitoring the golden jackal throughout Europe. Ranc and Krofel's research was recently covered by the ...

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