Funding for science pretty dry right now, so I'm delighted to make two announcements.
First, my Ph.D. student Maggie Hantak received an Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation! This is good funding, and a HUGE honor. Most graduate students apply for one of these grants, but few ever get one. Great work, Maggie!!!
Second, my Ph.D. student Charlene Hopkins received funding the Ohio Department of Transportation. This will fund her for two years, and is a large amount of money (posting would feel like bragging, but many professors have never received a grant this big!). Yea for Charlene!!!!
So, congratulations to Maggie and Charlene! We are all very proud of both of you.
It turns out I'm not an adept blogger, so I'm slow to get this posted, but there is big news! Merri Collins did a masterful job of defending her Masters thesis! I now dub her Master Merri, not to be confused with Merry from Lord of the Rings, or my dog Merry, The title of her thesis was "Searching for a Salamander: Distribution and Habitat of the Common Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus) in Southeast Ohio Using Environmental DNA." I like this title, but Merri did more than look at eDNA; she also did a ton of field sampling for salamanders and macroinvertebrates, and did studies of stream chemistry and stream morphology. A very complete project, and all done in 2 years. Amazing work!
Merri got a job right away, and is working as a Wildlife Research Technician at Iowa State University.
Way to go, Merri!
I'm a bit late posting this, but on Friday, March 17th Kaili Boarman successfully defended her Masters thesis, "Trade-offs in Natural and Sexual Selection on Wing Traits of the Banded Demoiselle, Calopteryx splendens." This represents a massive amount of work on her part, including three years of field work (but in glorious Sweden!). Intellectually, it is a Ph.D. level project, including geometric morphometrics to measure shape, and estimates of both predator-mediated natural selection and sexual selection in the wild. An amazing accomplishment! And, yes, she did document trade-offs between natural selection and sexual selection. Way to go, Kaili!!!
A couple of weeks ago, Isabel Fisk-Baruque left us and returned to Belgium. We loved having her here, and definitely appreciated her help on our reptiles & roads work.
The graduate students in the EEB group had a going-away party for Isabelle. It was great fun, but I couldn't help but marvel at how wonderful a group of graduate students we have. Being a graduate student means that one is generally underpaid and overworked, so it should at least be fun, with lots of love, friends, and bonding. In some institutions the graduate students are not so happy, so I am delighted to see that here at Ohio University our graduate students truly love each other. And they do kick-ass teaching and research! It's a win-win.
On Tuesday, August 30th my student Tom Radomski successfully defended his masters thesis!!! He gave a great talk on biogeography and niche evolution in the Eastern Red-backed Salamander, Plethodon cinereus. One of his committee members noted this was Ph.D. quality work, and I agree.
I am always happy to see a student graduate and move on to the next challenge in life, but I am also sad to see them go. Tom is loved by everyone, and we already miss his spritely energy.
On Thursday, July 21st my student (co-advised with Willem Roosenburg) Paul Converse successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis. Congratulations, Paul!!!! Paul produced a scholarly work that blends hard-core population genetics with real population ecology. A surprisingly rare and highly integrative achievement!
Title: The Population Biology, Molecular Ecology, and Phylogeography of the Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)