I am super excited to announce that a new Science Café will be starting in the town of New Bedford, MA. I am thrilled to be a part of bringing this event to fruition. Science cafes are popping up all over the country and provide a great atmosphere to bridge the gap between scientific researchers and the public. As a scientist, I can say first-hand how easy it is to only share information with colleagues who speak the scientific language and value the same pursuits of knowledge. This isolationist attitude has contributed to a society in which many members cannot name a living scientist. Thus, it is as important as ever for scientists to step out of their comfort zone and engage with the public. The goal of the New Bedford Science Café is to provide a venue in which scientists and the public can share ideas, ask questions, and form new relationships. So, whether you are a scientist, a teacher, a nurse, a fisherman, an engineer, a stay-at-home parent, a writer, an artist, unemployed, self-employed, or any other -ployed, please, consider joining us for a beer and some great conversation. All are welcome!
Our first speaker will be Dr. Pingguo He, Associate Professor of Marine Science at the School of Marine and Science Technology, UMass-Dartmouth. His talk will focus on sustainable fishing practices. He will be speaking at the Waterfront Grill in downtown New Bedford on May 2nd, starting at 6pm.
After a brief hiatus to welcome my second daughter to the world, I'm back. I'm excited to announce that the lab is growing in more ways than one. We are pleased to welcome a new undergraduate, Madison, to the lab. Madison will be working on several projects related to the snail system, including further tests of temperature tolerance. We are also pleased to welcome graduate student, Harrison Tobi, to the lab. Harrison will officially join the lab in Spring 2017. He comes from an aquaculture background and will be working on a Master's thesis that investigate parasite ecology and evolution in bay scallops.
I'm very please to report that Kaci Dumas, undergrad extraordinaire, recently accepted a position with ZOLL medical as an in-house designer for their creative team! Kaci is a very talented individual whom I'm sure will go far in life. To see more of her awesome graphic designs, please visit kacidumasdesign.com. Congrats, Kaci!
I am very pleased to announce that we have received an award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for our proposal "Transmission of apicomplexan infection and development of gray meat in Atlantic sea scallops, Placopecten magellanicus." This proposal was submitted with Susan Inglis, who will be joining the lab as a research associate. Over the next two years, we will conduct a number of experiments aimed at identifying the progression of gray meat symptoms in Atlantic sea scallops. More to come on this project shortly...
Students Rebecca Bachtel, Suzanne Sussman, and Stephanie Almeida all presented their research at the annual UMass-Dartmouth Sigma Xi symposium. They created excellent posters that highlighted the work they've completed over the last year in the lab and presented it to symposium attendees. Congratulations to you all!
Today I had the wonderful privilege and pleasure of helping to host Jane Goodall at our University. Her visit included a Green Fair (poster presentations by K-16 students), an Eco-Parade (students showing off environmental and humanitarian art projects in a parade), and a lecture by Dr. Goodall. Her visit was an inspiration and a reminder that we can all help make the world better but that children have a special power to bring about change for the better.
I am particularly proud of Kaci Dumas, my honors student advisee, who presented her work at the Green Fair on novel approaches to engage and inform the public about plastics pollution. Nice job, Kaci!! See more of Kaci's work by visiting kacidumasdesign.com.
I am so excited to announce that my lab was awarded a grant from the National Geographic Research and Exploration Committee for work on reconstructing the invasion route of a parasitic nest fly to the Galapagos Islands. This work is in collaboration with Dr. George Heimpel at the University of Minnesota and Charlotte Causton at the Charles Darwin Foundation.The recent introduction of Philornsi downsi now threatens the survival of many native bird species in the Galapgos, including several species of Darwin's finches. Fly larvae live in the nests of finches and consume blood from the nestlings and adult females, who sit on the nest. Our work has shown that this parasite can cause massive mortality, ranging from 60-100% of infested nestlings. Information pertaining to the source of this parasite’s introduction from the mainland to the islands and then progressively through the islands is necessary to design effective management policy and practices. We will collect flies from several mainland South American sites as well as from each of the major islands within the Galapagos archipelago. We will use a population genetics approach to describe the invasion history of P. downsi from the mainland to the Galapagos. Furthermore, we will determine the degree to which flies can move between islands by estimating gene flow. This information will inform conservation strategies aimed at reducing the prevalence of this fly on the islands, preventing future introductions, and ultimately, protecting this truly unique group of birds.