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Congratulations to Joe Pfaller!
Monday, November 17, 2014
One of his studies on epibiont crabs on sea turtles was featured in Smithsonian Science: Click on MORE for the link Best wishes, Karen Bjorndal [more...]

Kudos to our graduate students!
Friday, November 07, 2014
Katrina Cuddy won the the best poster presentation at the recent Florida Genetics Symposium. The title of her poster was “ER localization of a Novel Regulator of Actin Depolymerizing Factor (ADF)”. Wenbin Mei has received a CLAS Dissertation Fellowship funded by the Charles Vincent and Heidi Cole McLaughlin Endowment for Spring 2015. [more...]

The Palmer lab’s latest contribution, recently published in Science,
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
provides a powerful example of how predators shape the landscapes in which they live. We showed that predators such as African wild dogs and leopards create a "landscape of fear", which determines where herbivores like impala congregate to feed on plants. And where those impala do and do not go has a strong impact on the types of plants you find in different areas. In "scary" areas, lower herbivory allows for less defended plants to predominate. In contrast, in areas of lower predation risk where herbivory is high, better defended and more thorny plants predominate. Thus, predators make savannas less thorny, suggesting that the current declines in predators worldwide can have dramatic and unanticipated consequences for ecosystems. [more...]

Read Juliet Pulliam and colleagues' latest paper in Lancet to learn about a critical, underexplored aspect of Ebola virus.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Some people clearly have been infected with Ebola, yet do not get sick. However, it is not currently known whether individuals who are infected without getting sick are immune to reinfection and disease. If they are, then this observation has important implications both for being able to predict the scope of the epidemic, and for treatment. For example, if asymptomatic people are immune, then they could be recruited to be care providers. Recovered asymptomatic people could also be the source of life-saving transfusions. Despite these important implications, infected people who don’t develop symptoms are neglected in epidemiological models and in studies of immunity. The article by Bellan et al. is a call to action. [more...]

Meiotic sex ratio variation in natural populations of Ceratodon purpureus (Ditrichaceae)
Thursday, October 09, 2014
A couple having children can usually expect that they have an even chance of having a boy or a girl. This is generally true in animals, and even plants, where the sex of an offspring is controlled by the inheritance of a sex chromosome. However, this is not always the case. Tatum Norrell, a 2013 graduate of UF, and Assistant Professor Stuart McDaniel set out to test whether a sex ratio bias could be introduced at meiosis. In the September issue of the American Journal of Botany (http://www.amjbot.org/content/101/9/ 1572.abstract?etoc), they report that spores from fire moss (Ceratodon purpureus) already show unequal numbers of males and females. What’s more, the biases were common, but favored both male and female spores to varying degrees. What is behind the unequal numbers of male and female offspring? Competition for nutrients from mom or for space to grow later in life may favor fratricidal genotypes that act at meiosis. Although the sexes must cooperate during much of their life, the study by Norrell and McDaniel shows that both males and females may adopt unsavory strategies at the cellular level in the struggle to pass genes on to the next generation. [more...]

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