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Showing posts from November, 2012

Grad Publication: Pat Lu-Irving

Congratulations to Pat for her recent publication! Make sure to check it out.

This paper is the first chapter of my dissertation. It's a broad overview, or "first pass", at revealing the phylogenetic history of a species-rich group of neotropical plants. The results show that the major evolutionary lineages within this group don't correspond well with what taxonomists have long thought them to be. Most notably, fleshy (animal-dispersed) fruits have evolved independently multiple times from dry-fruited ancestors. Because this group of plants is recently radiated, further untangling its evolutionary history is tricky, and subsequent chapters of my thesis (in preparation) will deal with this challenge by breaking the the tribe up into component clades, to examine each in more detail. This paper was an invited submission to a special volume of Bot J Linn Soc on neotropical botany, put together by the organizers of a symposium at the International Botanical Co…

Puerto Rican Switcheroo, Part I

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Earlier this year Pat Lu-Irving of the Olmstead lab and Matt McElroy of the Leaché lab crossed paths in the possible 51st State while conducting very different fieldwork. Here's Pat-the-botanist's take on her encounter with the herpetology crew and an overview of their work in her words. Look for Part II of the Puerto Rican Switcheroo, soon! ~BP

Here's Pat:

        It is Monday evening in late August. I meet Matt McElroy at a roadside cantina outside the town of Adjuntas in Puerto Rico’s Cordillera Central (central mountain range). We greet each other enthusiastically in the crowded dirt parking lot, beneath flapping signs advertising local beer; it is nice to see a familiar face – I have been in the field for a week and a half, having traveled through the threat of tropical storm Isaac from Miami and driven around Puerto Rico for a few days. Matt has been doing fieldwork in Puerto Rico for the last three weeks.
        Adjuntas has a reputation for experiencing s…

weekend links: under the sea

weekend links: innovative methods

The Forecast: Cloudy with a Chance of Lizards!

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We left Seattle for México with one plan in mind: to find three species of elusive horned lizards (genus Phrynosoma). Plans changed. We adapted. The trip evolved. Immediately after leaving the airport, a change in plans. We wanted to make a bee-line to our hotel to avoid México City traffic, some of the worst for any major city in the world. The moment we left the rental car parking lot with our wheels for the week, a seven-seater minivan, the GPS unit malfunctioned: “Lost satellite reception…recalculating”, became its mantra. This was going to be an interesting trip… Forty kilometers and three hours later, along potholed alleys and horrific traffic on the second longest avenue in the world (Avenida de los Insurgentes), we were at our México City hotel. In the morning, we would meet up with professors and students from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and go to the field to catch some lizards.
Horned lizards belong to the genus Phrynosoma, one of nine genera within …

weekend links: tasteful

Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

[We finally heard from Elli! Here's her commentary on being involved with the Seattle Times article we linked last week. I think the feature might have had more to do with merit than she claims, though! -- KMP] Not only is phenology (the study of seasonal events) all about perfect timing, but this summer I found myself in a serendipitously-timed visit from the Seattle Times. Two weeks into a 10-week, fast-paced field season Lynda Mapes, a science writer from the Seattle Times called me and expressed interest in my work. Happy to oblige and enthused that she found my research interesting, Lynda and photographer Mark Harrison joined me and wrote an article, articulating some of the hypotheses I am testing and explaining some of my preliminary results. I have always considered myself one of the luckiest people around but getting a full-page article on the front page of the Seattle Times must mean that I was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time! -- Elli J. Theobald