More Shouts

It’s been a good week for the Wares Lab. Christine Ewers passed her oral examinations on Tuesday and is now a Ph.D. candidate; her fortune came through wildly the next day when she found out that - having entered one of the numerous drawings that they hold at product shows - she won an $8000ish ABI thermal cycler! We haven’t figured out the details on this prize yet but obviously a pretty exciting win.

Also, doctoral student Meredith Meyers just (probably) landed her second publication in the last two months as she just got word from Journal of Heredity that only very minor revisions are necessary for her paper on fluorescent protein sequence evolution in the coral genus Agaricia. This is exciting not just because it is a publication, but this was the most technically punishing paper that she and I have had to work on and it touches on the boundaries of what we know as molecular evolution folk. When there are multiple copies of a gene in a group of organisms (and I suppose it is also possible that those species are hybridizing!), that means that the variation that is present in what we can survey represents allelic variation at a locus, the divergence of gene copies, and the divergence of gene copies in different species. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to tell where to draw the lines between these different ‘containers’ of diversity, but Meredith did a very good job examining the problem and I’ll post publication details when they are available.

Finally, long-time Wares Lab associate Jamie Winternitz (Altizer Lab, Odum School of Ecology) defends her dissertation today. Fantastic, difficult work on the interaction of immune system evolution and parasite load in montane voles. Looking forward to hoisting a beer in her honor later today.

You should be nervous for us. Please note the number of chickens I’ve counted before they’ve hatched in this post!