Our new paper on the phylogeographic relationships among populations of the flat-headed snake (Tantilla gracilis) was just published in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society! We found that while some clades of flat-headed snakes have small geographic ranges and are genetically diverse, other clades are geographically widespread and genetically homogeneous. Our work suggests that some, but not all, clades have experienced relatively recent geographic and demographic expansion. Check out the link to read the paper:
A collaborative grant with Bob Cox from the University of Virginia and Henry John-Alder from Rutgers University was just funded by the National Science Foundation! We will be using these funds to study the evolution of sex-biased gene expression and growth regulation by testosterone in lizards. Check back for updates on graduate fellowships to work on this project.
The latest paper out of the lab has been published in a special issue on integrative taxonomy of reptiles in the Journal of Natural History! In this paper, we use molecular phylogenetics to examine the relationships within and among all currently recognized species of Sonora (ground snakes), Chionactis (shovel-nosed snakes) and Chilomeniscus (sand snakes). We found that the genus Sonora is not monophyletic with regards to Chionactis and Chilomeniscus, and that the species Sonora semiannulata was also not monophyletic. We rectified this non-monophyly by synonymizing Chionactis and Chilomeniscus with Sonora (Sonora has taxonomic priority), and by recognizing some of the previously recognized diversity within Sonora semiannulata. Read the paper at the link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00222933.2018.1449912
This past month was spent in the field with Albert Chung and John David Curlis, studying the evolution of thermal biology in a forest anole (Anolis apletophallus) in collaboration with Michael Logan (http://www.evolutioninthetropics.com/) and Daniel Nicholson (Queen Mary University, ZSL). Along the way we saw a lot of cool critters- check them out!
Congratulations to John David Curlis, who just won the College of Graduate Studies - Averitt Award of Excellence in Graduate Research at Georgia Southern University! This is a university-wide award that recognizes the contributions of graduate students to research at Georgia Southern. John David won based upon his exciting thesis research, scientific papers (both published and on the way), presentations at international scientific meetings, and his contributions as one of the graduate student research assistants on the Georgia Southern Vertebrate Biodiversity Survey.
Hormonally mediated increases in sex-biased gene expression accompany the breakdown of between-sex genetic correlations in a sexually dimorphic lizard.
Our new paper on sex-bias in gene expression and sexual dimorphism in brown anole lizards was just published in The American Naturalist! This was a large collaborative project with colleagues from the University of Texas-Arlington, Virginia Tech, and the University of Virginia that included a multi-year breeding experiment and quantitative genetic analysis, experimental hormone manipulations, and transcriptomics. Check out this link to read the paper.
We have just returned from the 2017 Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. Both Albert Chung and John David presented posters, Albert's on dewlap energetics in anoles and John David's on color pattern diversity of ground snakes. Both posters received a lot of interest, and Albert's was summarized in a post on Anole Annals.