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 alum 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!
Kim is heading to Mexico next week to teach in the Computational Biology and Genomics Workshop in Todos Santos.
Kim D. hosted Dr. Eric Fortune for an MCIN talk on the sensorimotor mechanisms of duets in songbirds. It was a great talk and we very much enjoyed hosting Eric!
Leorah attended the SciComm 2018 conference on science communication at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln over March 23-25. She met many great scientists and communicators as they discussed effective science communication throughout the weekend. Check out #SciComm2018 on social media to see everyone's posts from the conference.
Here are some of Leorah's favorite scicomm and education resources from the weekend:
A comic about viruses
A book of vocabulary for writing and talking to children
A website to help measure the readability of writing for general audiences
A TED Talk on science communication
Practice briefs for how to handle issues in STEM education
A virtual lab on marine science and oil spill science for all ages
Engaging Scientists and Engineers in Policy
Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering program in DC for undergraduate & graduate students
Science with Kennen: Decision Quicksand - Film Festival winner
A book about talking science to journalists and policymakers
The Hoke Lab is seeking motivated, outstanding undergraduates interested in the study of animal behavior, neuroscience, skull structure, and evolution to conduct research over the summer via NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). The Hoke Lab explores population and species differences in the development and mechanisms of behavior. The primary goal of the Hoke lab is to understand the processes that shape evolutionary trajectories. We focus on the mechanisms of convergent evolution of behavioral and morphological traits.
A small group of undergraduates will work together as a team to contribute to large-scale experiments, and students are also expected to complete independent research projects. REU students will take part in one of several projects that explore brain development and how experiences shape behavior in Trinidadian guppies (1) or the evolution and development of middle ear structures in anurans (2). Students will develop skills including fish husbandry, designing and analyzing behavioral assays, in situ hybridization, microscopy, and microCT scan analysis under the guidance of senior lab members. Pay is $12.50/hr, and students will be expected to work full time (40hrs/week for 10 weeks).
If interested, please send a CV and a brief (one paragraph) statement of interest to Leorah McGinnis (firstname.lastname@example.org) by March 5th, 2018. Please include a description of any previous lab or field experience.
Number of positions: 3
The Front Range Student Ecology Symposium is in full swing here at CSU this week. Kim D. presented an oral presentation today on Divergent Decision Rules in Alternative Mating Tactics in Trinidadian guppies.
Abstract from the FRESES Program:
WHAT IN YOUR RIGHT MIND WOULD MAKE YOU DO THAT?
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Kimberly Dolphin (CSU), Kim Hoke (CSU)
Behavioral plasticity allows strategies toward conspecifics to change on an acute time scale to balance trade-offs presented in different environments and social contexts. However, decisions between strategies may be biased by the genetic and developmental history of the individual from differences within the brain, and may have strong implications for an organism's ability to adapt in novel environments and respond to cues about risk or reward. Using male Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata), we tested how evolutionary history and rearing environment affects which behavioral strategies are adopted and affects the patterns of neural activation in socially relevant brain regions across five acute social contexts. We used these fish because they originate from populations that have evolved with either high or low predation threat, and now have different behavioral strategies and morphologies. We scored behaviors of focal males in these social contexts and then measured neural activation using immunoreactivity for phosphorylated ribosomal protein S6 (pS6). Ancestry and rearing conditions influence the behavioral strategies fish adopt when placed in different acute social contexts. Patterns of pS6 induction across the brain regions studied are associated with behavioral strategies adopted in each acute context. Our results show circuit level neural mechanisms underlie the behavioral plasticity and flexibility we see in males from populations with differing predation threats.
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.