New position at Georgia Tech

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Part of the reason posts at Fierce Roller have been so sparse lately is that I’ve been busy moving across the country. I’m now a Senior Research Scientist in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech. I’ll be running a small lab, with two (soon three) postdocs and a very talented grad student.

I spent exactly one day on campus before I left for the ASM Experimental Microbial Evolution meeting, on which I managed to meet with the grad student and one postdoc and to get hooked up to the campus wifi. I have not yet attended new employee orientation or been assigned an employee ID number, so the degree to which I’m actually employed at this moment is a bit murky. Hopefully I’ll get this all sorted next week.

Why I’ve been so quiet

Teaching my mom a roll cast, Lower Cold Lake, Montana. Photo by Aeravi.

Teaching my mom a roll cast when I should be blogging. Lower Cold Lake, Montana. Photo by Aeravi.

I’m falling way behind on my goal to post three times a week. It’s not because there isn’t cool science to talk about, and it’s not because the Discovery Institute isn’t still wrong. I’m preparing to move the lab to Atlanta near the end of July, and I have family in town, so most of my free time is filled up. There are weddings, floats, fishing, hiking, backpacking, and lots of eating out (don’t cry for me).

I will be going to several meetings this Fall, and the pace of posts will likely pick back up then:

August 4-7: 2nd ASM Conference on Experimental Microbial Evolution in Washington, DC.

August 21-25: CAN-7 team meeting in Missoula, MT.

September 12-15: NASA Executive Council Meeting in Missoula, MT.

September 29-30: Phycomorph in Limassol, Cyprus.

I’m going to Cyprus!

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I’m heading to Limassol, Cyprus at the end of September to talk about Volvox morphology and evolution. Phycomorph is a European group studying seaweed development and reproduction, with a large focus on cultivation. I have an extra day after the meeting, so hopefully I’ll get to explore a bit.

The organizers were initially worried about the high cost of transportation from Missoula, but I had good news for them: I won’t be flying from Missoula but from Atlanta, which is (seriously) half as expensive. The timing of the flights is a bit unfortunate, though, so I’ll have a couple of very long layovers in Heathrow (17 and 20 hours).

 

The preliminary list of confirmed speakers is:

Phycomorph speakers

 

Hello world!

Hi, everyone! I’m excited (and surprised, to be honest) to join the freethoughtblogs community. I’ve been blogging for about ten months over at fierceroller.com, a platform that I initially set up to serve the (pretty small) Volvox community. Volvox, in case you haven’t encountered it before, is a multicellular green alga, just visible to the naked eye, that is an important model system for understanding the evolution of multicellularity. Volvox is Latin for ‘fierce roller,’ a name bestowed by Linnaeus, who was impressed by their ability to move around without limbs.
Volvox aureus. Beautiful, isn't it?

Volvox aureus. Beautiful, isn’t it?

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Volvox 2015 meeting review available online

Fig. 1 from Herron 2016. Examples of volvocine species. A: Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, B: Gonium pectorale, C: Astrephomene gubernaculiferum, D: Pandorina morum, E: Volvulina compacta, F: Platydorina caudata, G: Yamagishiella unicocca, H: Colemanosphaera charkowiensis, I: Eudorina elegans, J: Pleodorina starrii, K: Volvox barberi, L: Volvox ovalis, M: Volvox gigas, N: Volvox aureus, O: Volvox carteri.

Fig. 1 from Herron 2016. Examples of volvocine species. A: Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, B: Gonium pectorale, C: Astrephomene gubernaculiferum, D: Pandorina morum, E: Volvulina compacta, F: Platydorina caudata, G: Yamagishiella unicocca, H: Colemanosphaera charkowiensis, I: Eudorina elegans, J: Pleodorina starrii, K: Volvox barberi, L: Volvox ovalis, M: Volvox gigas, N: Volvox aureus, O: Volvox carteri. A and B by Deborah Shelton.

The meeting review for the Third International Volvox Conference is now available online at Molecular Ecology (doi: 10.1111/mec.13551). The editors warned me ahead of time that the challenge for this paper would be to make it of broad interest to the readership of Molecular Ecology, so there is a lot of background information that will be old news to members of the Volvox community.

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Volvox 2015: evolution

This is taking much longer than I ever expected; hopefully I can get through blogging about Volvox 2015 before registration opens for Volvox 2017!

The final session on day 1 (August 20) was chaired by Aurora Nedelcu from the University of New Brunswick. Dr. Nedelcu’s introduction emphasized some of the basic questions in evolutionary biology, aside from the origins of multicellularity and sex, on which volvocine research has provided insights: the evolution of morphological innovations, the relative importance of cis-regulatory changes vs. protein-coding changes, kin vs. group selection as competing explanations for the evolution of altruism, the evolution of soma and of indivisibility, the genetic basis of cellular differentiation, and the role of antagonistic pleiotropy (my hastily scribbled notes seem to say “antagonistic pleiotropy of olsl.” Is that supposed to be rls1? This is the cost of waiting too long to write. Maybe Aurora can clarify.).

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