One of the coolest aspects of being a faculty member is getting to design new courses. This fall, I had the absolute privilege of leading a new course: Life in the Anthropocene. We talked about all the ways in which humans have changed selective pressures in the environment, and how those selective pressures impact organisms. It was a total blast! Honestly, I can’t thank the students enough for the thoughtful discussion and the pure joy of this course. Today was the last day and students discussed their term papers. Undergraduate Nathan Clark brought in his own products of human-induced selection: Ultra hot peppers! They were so hot he needed to wear gloves. I’ll miss this class so much!
This past week, we had the privilege of hosting Dr. Will Ratcliff for our EEB seminar series. Dr. Ratcliff’s work bridges evolution, microbiology, and cellular/molecular biology to address a core question in biology: How does multicellularity evolve? Thanks again to Will, who gave a rocking talk and was a wonderful visitor.
Hosted by Dr. David Blackburn, Martha recently visited the University of Florida to give seminar. During her visit, she was able to tour the Caribbean archaeology collections and visit nearby swamps. Thanks to everyone in Biology and the Museum of Natural History for such a memorable visit!
The Muñoz lab went to the Southeast regional SICB meeting on November 10 hosted at Clemson University. Dr. Muñoz and Henry both gave talks titled “A physiological test of the island effect in the adaptive radiation of anole” and “Functional consequences of morphological variation between locally adapted populations” respectively.
PhD student Brooke Bodensteiner will be giving a talk at the Division of Phylogenetics and Comparative Biology (DPCB) Best Student Paper: Wake Award at the Society of Comparative and Integrative Biology (SICB) conference in January in Tampa, FL. She will be discussing recent research exploring multidimensional phenotypes involved in the adaptive radiation of anoles in the Dominican Republic.
Dr. Martha Muñoz started started as an assistant professor in the department of biological science at Virginia Tech in August 2017. Dr. Muñoz has brought on a postdoctoral researcher, Dr. Vincent Farallo, and Ph.D. Student, Brooke Bodensteiner to help get her lab up and running. Check out the article from VT News welcoming Dr. Muñoz to the university. Research in the lab is already off to a great start, look out for updates in the near future!