Helping Marsh Harbour recover from Hurricane Dorian

Category 5 hurricane Dorian pummeled Marsh Harbour, Abaco, The Bahamas for several days last week. Marsh Harbour was the base of operations for our pulsed subsidies research, and we have numerous friends and colleagues there. We’ve been able to learn that most of the people we know personally are shaken but okay, but fear that losses will continue to mount as the recovery efforts go forward. Marsh Harbour is a small town, and the damage we’ve seen in photos and videos is devastating. There are lots of ways to help – here is one:


Welcome, Tracie!

We are very excited that Tracie Hayes will be joining the lab this year! Tracie recently received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and will be a Ph.D. student in the Population Biology Graduate Group starting in the fall. Yay!

Welcome, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Postema arrived on campus for her first day of grad school today! We got her some keys, did a little safety orientation, and scheduled our weekly lab meeting. And so it begins…

Marshall McMunn receives an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology

Marshall McMunn received a 2018 NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology for his proposal to examine how temperature change affects bacteria that live within the gut of a desert ant. His abstract says, “Many animal guts contain bacteria that aid in digestion, but the bacteria within Cephalotes rohweri (the Arizona turtle ant) are unusual in two important ways 1) the bacteria help the ant acquire nitrogen, a key nutrient in growth and development, and 2) the bacteria survive extremely hot temperatures. The fellow will perform several experiments to determine if this bacterial community provides benefits to its ant host despite extreme heat exposure. The research improves scientific understanding of how animals can cope with a changing environment through shifts in their bacterial partners. The research broadly informs current industrial and commercial efforts to manipulate bacteria associated with animals and plants to improve food production. As a part of this research the fellow will develop a set of software tools to enable visually impaired scientists to interact with data through the sense of touch.” Marshall will be advised in this postdoc by Stacy Philpott (UC Santa Cruz) and Rachel Vanette (UC Davis).


The Yang Lab 2.0

Hello, world. This is the new Yang Lab website, updated for the first time since 2009. Back then, I spent a couple weeks over the holidays learning how to cobble together some Dreamweaver HTML, Flash and Spry elements in order to represent our lab to the world. Since then, the lab has changed, the world has changed and web design has changed. So, we were long overdue for an updated website.

Our new lab website is simpler, and I hope it will be easier for me to keep it up-to-date, and to have other folks in the lab contribute as well. We are using a content management system this time around. While I had to give up the joy of hacking whatever I want into the code, I think we gain a lot. Hello, world! The times they are a-changing.

Meredith Cenzer receives 2018 American Naturalist Student Paper Award

Meredith Cenzer received the 2018 American Naturalist Student Paper Award for her impressive paper “Maladaptive Plasticity Masks the Effects of Natural Selection in the Red-Shouldered Soapberry Bug” (Am Nat 190:521-533). The award committee said, “In this work, Dr. Cenzer leveraged a unique opportunity to quantify maladaptive plasticity and explore its consequences; she designed and executed difficult experiments and capitalized on an unexpected result to draw big and convincing conclusions. We particularly appreciated how her study incorporates measures of selection, population effects (presumably genetic), and common-garden rearing to quantify plasticity. We found her paper to be an elegant combination of ecology, evolution, behavior, and natural history. While it focuses on a single system, maladaptive plasticity is so rarely investigated that we became convinced that hers will come to be considered a landmark study. It is particularly sophisticated work for a single-authored graduate student publication. (Read her summary here:”