Laura offered our undergraduate students a chance to learn R this semester in a free, voluntary workshop that she designed and implemented. The group met once a week for most of the semester and started out by simply learning how to assign a value to an object. Now they are analyzing and graphing their own data and they presented their work to the lab yesterday. The group included several previous REU students who worked with data from their independent projects and now have even more ideas for future projects. Laura hopes to put together a compilation of her teaching materials from this semester for us, but this is another option for learning R from the CSU Library for those who may feel inspired after seeing this group's success!
The Hoke Lab has been thinking about creativity recently. Leorah led us in a mini-workshop for lab meeting about discovering our creative types, modified from a professional development class she took through CSU's Office of Training and Organizational Development. Some of us wrote haikus about our work afterward to flex our creative muscles and practice science communication!
Kim Dolphin and Miles both presented posters as part of the CSU Graduate Student Showcase. We are very proud of their posters and work!
This semester, our lab group, formerly known as HAGFish, expanded to include a new member - Dr. Kristen Ruegg. Our new group acronym is "G-RHAF" (pronounced like "giraffe") for Primary Investigators Ghalambor, Ruegg, Hoke, Angeloni, and Funk . At the end of September in our monthly G-RHAF lab group meeting, Leorah led a discussion of the CSU Principles of Community and Kim Dolphin led an activity for creating community standards or group norms, from which this document was synthesized. It's a way for us to maintain clarity about our needs and expectations as our lab group grows. One of the benefits of working with such a large group of great scientists is the many opportunities for collaboration, but working in such close proximity and sharing space and equipment also means it's important for us to know how to interact positively and respectfully. This document allows us to explicitly state the values of our group and the expectations that we agree to uphold.
Kim Hoke, Laura and Leorah went to Montpellier, France for the II Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology. We had a wonderful time networking with some amazing scientists and learning about the huge breadth of work in evolution. Leorah (who received an Administrative Professionals Professional Development Award to attend through CSU's Commitment to Campus program) particularly enjoyed the SCREAM Symposium - "PUBLIC COMMUNICATION? DON'T SHOUT...SCREAM (SCIENCE COMMUNICATION RESEARCH EMPOWERS AMAZING) OUTREACH." She came away with some exciting new ideas for science communication and outreach for the Hoke lab and beyond! Laura presented a poster on her intercross guppies in the first poster session - "Rapid breakdown of genetic correlations in Trinidadian guppies using experimental intercross." We also particualrly enjoyed talks by Molly Womack on how selection and development alter correlated structure in evolution, Eva Fischer on convergence, divergence and connectivity in mechanisms of parallel evolution, and Lauren O'Connell on the physiology of poison sequestration by poison dart frogs. We all attended the closing dinner together, which was held at Abbaye de Valmagne, constructed in 1275. It was pretty amazing to see so many biologists partying and dancing the night away against such a majestic backdrop! Be sure to check out #Evol2018 on Twitter for more highlights!
Kim Hoke and Kim Dolphin attended the International Congress of Neuroethology in Brisbane, Australia in July. They were joined by lab alumna Eva Fischer who received a Young Investigator Award and gave a talk at the Young Investigator Award Symposium that was quite a hit!
Kim, Kim and Eva all report that the conference was highly enjoyable. The science was great, the venue was nice, and the food was remarkably good for a conference (which is pretty important in our books). The Australians take their coffee very seriously and Kim Hoke was amazed that every average coffee shop chosen at random could make a spectacular flat white, latte, etc. Eva made everyone try TimTam cookies and even coerced Kim Dolphin into doing a Tim Tam slam in a public place.
When asked about some favorite talks Eva mentioned two in particular:
(1) Lindy McBride on how mosquitoes detect different odors off people's skin. "Lots of really stellar science and cool approaches, and one of the take homes was that different people are more/less attractive to different mosquitoes. Very enlightening because it put some science to what I think we all know from experience (especially those of us who have spent time in tropical rain forests ...). "
(2) Dave Schulz (a colleague and friend) talking about his single cell sequencing data. "Dave works on STG neurons in crabs and has the ability to identify single neurons of specific types. By sequencing them and clustering based on gene expression he has found that neurons of the same type actually DO NOT cluster very well. This is super cool/scary because usually when you do single cell sequencing you're trying to identify the neurons based on gene expression and he is basically showing that may in fact be a super problematic approach. Also, the man loves a heat map as much as I do. "
This summer our lab welcomes two visiting scholars from Colorado and Denmark.
High School Teacher, Cherry Creek High School
Conley comes to us through the National Teacher Revolution: Teachers Researching Evolution, a program through the Kellogg Biological Station funded by BEACON: NSF Center for the Study of Evolution in Action.
Conley says: "I am interested in this lab because it explore a type of research that I am not familiar with. The principles and research techniques that explore behavioral plasticity can be included in the classroom setting to enhance scientific inquiry among high school students."
She will working with Kim Dolphin this summer to get hands-on research experience and learn techniques that she can bring back to her classes.
Tanya Bojesen Lauridsen
PhD student, University of Southern Denmark (Syddansk Universitet, SDU)
Through Tanya, we discovered that it is a requirement of PhD programs in Denmark to go on an "environmental exchange" to meet new people and do some networking. Now we all wish we'd gone to school in Denmark! Tanya is part of a group called Sound Communication and Behaviour and is from the lab of Jakob Christensen-Dalsgaard.
Tanya says: "I am studying the development of the middle ear and hearing in amphibians. Previously I’ve done physiological studies (auditory brainstem response (ABR)), biophysical (laser vibrometry - measuring vibrations of the eardrum and body induced by sound), and anatomical studies (µCT, Inouye staining and old school dissections). To add yet another dimension and to throw myself out in very deep water, I thought that I might try my hand at ISH. Since you guys do that and because of your interest in evo-devo, it felt like a good match." She will be be focusing on in situ hybridization (ISH) and histology this summer.
Follow Tanya on Twitter: @TanyaLauridsen
Over the weekend Kim, Miles and Laura went to Austin, TX for the Center for Brain, Behavior & Evolution's spring symposium with the theme of Behavioral Epigenetics. Kim Hoke gave a talk on "The epigenetics of fear in tropical guppies" and Miles presented a poster entitled "A Fish Tale: Influence of Predation on RNA Editing in the Trinidadian Guppy."
The School of Global Environmental Sustainability’s (SoGES) Global Biodiversity Center hosted the sixth annual Ignite Night at one of our favorite venues, Avogadro's Number. The Ignite format allows each speaker to present 20 slides in five minutes, where the slides progress automatically every 15 seconds. We were all impressed at how well Kim connected her work on guppy brains to the topic of biodiversity!
Our primary goal is to understand the processes that shape evolutionary trajectories. We focus on the mechanisms of convergent evolution of behavioral and morphological traits. We link molecular, neural, and developmental mechanisms to their consequences for organismal phenotypes, and we investigate the neural and hormonal mechanisms of context- or experience-dependent changes in behavior.