Dr. Brett Mattingly and I are excited to announce the itinerary for our 2017 Desert Ecology & Biogeography course! The field component of the class will begin with a flight from Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Hartford, CT to McCarren International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas, NV. We’ll then jump in passenger vans and make a big loop through spectacular landscapes of the Mojave and Great Basin deserts. The itinerary includes hikes in famous sand dunes, nocturnal scorpion hunts, up close and personal (it’ll be the start of the breeding season) encounters with desert pupfish, a stop at the lowest point in North America, lots of desert camping, and much more! The deserts have had a lot of rain lately, which is usually a good thing when looking for arid-adapted animals. I wonder how many rattlesnakes we’ll find this year?
I was recently lucky to be part of a team, led by Michael Soleglad, that described a new scorpion genus from California, Graemeloweus. The genus includes three species previously placed in genus Pseudoructonus. Interestingly, male reproductive structures (hemispermatophores and mating plugs) suggest that the new genus is more closely related to Kovarkia, a primarily rock-dwelling species in southern California. I look forward to seeing if ongoing genetic work on these genera supports our sister lineage hypothesis.
Senior lab members Jon Henault, Sabrina Couceiro, and Ronald Kaiser presented posters on their scorpion research at the HL-SCI Bioscience Careers Forum II presented by The Genomics Workforce Consortium at The Jackson Laboratory in Farmington, CT on March 11. Nice job team… looking sharp!
Eastern students Sabrina Couceiro and Ronald Kaiser successfully presented 10 minute talks at the University of Connecticut (UConn) during a student symposium hosted by the Connecticut Entomological Society on February 19, 2016. Congratulations to them both! Sabrina won first place in the student competition. Titles of their talks are listed below.
Couceiro, Sabrina & Matthew Graham. Phylogeography of the California Dune Scorpion, Smeringurus mesaensis (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Connecticut Entomological Society, Storrs, CT, February 2016
Kaiser, Ronald, Matthew Graham & Kurt Lucin. Scorpion venom: the yin and yang of toxin applications to N2a cells. Connecticut Entomological Society, Storrs, CT, February 2016
I just want to say thank you to my Invertebrate Biology course for a memorable summer session… what a great group! Here they are surveying invertebrates along Connecticut’s rocky intertidal at Avery Point. Invasive jumping spiders were everywhere!
New coverage of our Desert Ecology & Biogeography course on the ECSU website!