Update on 2017

A lot has happened since our last post! Here are some highlights.

  • Dr. Paula Cushing (Denver Museum of Nature & Science) and Dr. Graham submitted a NSF proposal to revise an important and fascinating, yet neglected group of North American arachnids, camel spider family Eremobatidae. The proposal includes UCEs, RADseq, a post-doc, graduate students, REUs, and support for four years of field and lab work. Our fingers are crossed for this one!
  • Dr. Shahan Derkarabetian of Dr. Marshal Hedin’s lab at San Diego State University trained Drs. Cushing and Graham in UCE (ultra-conserved elements) sequencing. Thanks Shahan and Marshal!
  • We began to shift the lab from Sanger sequencing to the more powerful restriction-site associated DNA sequencing (RADseq)… and we are almost done with our first plate. Thanks again to Shahan Derkarabetian for help with the process!
  • Two Eastern students, Ms. Haley Grimason and Ms. Alexsis Powell, were awarded Freeman Scholarships to work in the lab over the summer. Both presented their research during our Biology Department seminar series in November (presentation titles are below).
  • Drs. Murdoch and Graham submitted a NASA Space Grant to study the ‘unculturable’ components of scorpion microbiomes. Do scorpions harbor ancient microbes in their guts and tissues? Do these microbes possess novel antibiotics? We shall see.
  • Under the guidance of Dr. Murdoch, two Eastern students, Lauren Atkinson and Yunsung (David) Cho, generated preliminary sequence data from bacteria cultured from Hadrurus arizonensis and Smeringurus mesaensis. The results are exciting!
  • Drs. Cushing and Graham collected camel spiders and scorpions along the Colorado River over the summer.
  • Dr. Graham collected black-clawed scorpions in the western Mojave, filling in some important sampling gaps for our ongoing study.
  • Dr. Graham and colleagues published two new papers (see Publications page). One describes a new scorpion genus, Catalinia, from southern California and northern Baja. The other documents medically significant scorpion envenoming from scorpions of the Tityus obscurus complex in Amazonian Ecuador. Several additional manuscripts from our lab are slated for publication in early 2018.

Poster Titles

Grimason, H.C., A.M. Powell, J.R. Jaeger, & M.R. Graham. Post-glacial expansion of the black-clawed scorpion, Anuroctonus phaiodactylus (Wood, 1863). Biology Department Seminar, Eastern Connecticut State University. November 17, 2017.

Powell, A.M., H.C. Grimason, W. Flint, & M.R. Graham. 2017. Phylogeography of a mountaintop salamander, Plethodon punctatus (Plethontidae). Biology Department Seminar, Eastern Connecticut State University. November 17, 2017.


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