Wardproject.org is live!

The specimen collection in the Biology Department (click here) is re-emerging even further into the public eye (see here for background) with the launch of the website wardproject.org.

The website links our collection to material in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and related catalogs, bulletins and correspondence housed in the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation. The combination of information on biological material with historical information will provide scientists, historians, and archivists a detailed look into the period between the Civil War and 1900 when the study of natural history grew rapidly worldwide. Powered substantially by undergraduate interest, the website at present is embryonic. However, the content will evolve rapidly. When you visit, be sure to check out the 3D images of specimens with technology developed in part by the River Campus Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Lab.

Peachy Outreach

We had an absolute blast this morning working with local 5th graders and sharing what it’s like being a scientist! After hearing the whole school sing their Welcome Song, we were pumped to sing the praises of the daily joy of being scientists. We showed their class some vogue mutations of Drosophila, how starved ladybugs interact with scrumptious aphids, and how specimens are preserved, both by humans (herbarium press) and nature (fossils).

Here is an artistic rendition of the enterprise drawn by a talented 5th grader:

Here Jenn is answering questions after the students watched many aphids die at the hands of ladybugs. Note the variation in facial expression.

Omid discussing the process of fossilization proceeding a lively herbarium press and leaf morphological diversity discussion. It’s difficult to say who learned more, me or the students.

Cara engaging her group discussing the inspirational Ms. Frizzle and physiological consequences of common Drosophila mutations.

All in all, we’re very honored to be invited and engage with such incredibly enthusiastic 5th graders. Furthermore, we recognize how effective a welcome song is on invited guests…

Journal Club 01/30

As we discussed today in Journal Club, starting next week we will begin to read papers of faculty candidates aligning with their seminars.

Please join us next Tuesday (1/30) from 12:30-2pm in Hutch 316 for Journal Club. I’ll be presenting Dr. Parker’s “Genotype specificity among hosts, pathogens, and beneficial microbes influences the strength of symbiont-mediated protection” paper.