Brian O’Meara has received an NSF Career Award! “Reducing barriers for comparative methods” has been funded for $738,000 over 5 years. Congratulations Brian – great job!
Brian O’Meara is co-PI on a newly funded, nearly $1 million NSF grant entitled “Collaborative Research: ABI Development: An open infrastructure to disseminate phylogenetic knowledge.” Brian’s part is to make trees with time information more available, and includes funds for a postdoc (~$140K for UT). Congratulations, Brian!
Gary McCracken and Emma Wilcox (FWF) have received a Community Engagement Incentive Grant to build a bat house over in the UT Gardens. The house will be large, about the size of a faculty office, and raised on stilts. McCracken hopes to attract Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) to the house. These insectivorous bats often roost in large numbers.
Congratulations to Gary McCracken, Emma Willcox (FWF) and Riley Bernard! They were recently notified of a $10,000 grant from the UTIA Center for Wildlife Health to do a project titled: “Understanding Lower Pseudogymnoascus destructans Loads and Susceptibility to White-nose Syndrome in Gray Bats.”
Alix Pfenningwerth, a graduate student in the Schweitzer Lab, won a Fellowship from the American Rhododendron Society this summer. Her research proposes to study how genetic variation in Rhododendron species influences physiological performance under a changing climate, including increasingly fluctuating temperatures, moisture regimes, soil nutrient cycling, and interactions with pathogens, herbivores, and beneficial microbes.
Riley Bernard, a PhD student in the McCracken Lab, just received notification of $5,000 in funding from Basically Bats Wildlife Conservation Society. The funding is for her project “Epidemiology of Pseudogymnoascus destructans: Changes in Fungal Load on Active Bats throughout Winter in the Southeast.”
Graduate student Cassie Dresser (Fitzpatrick Lab) has just found out that her work on Bog Turtle conservation in collaboration with the Knoxville Zoo was funded by a $21,000 grant from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Congratulations!
Leigh Moorhead, a graduate student in the Classen Lab, was recently awarded a Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) grant from the NSF for her project: Exploring how mammal herbivore – plant community interactions shape ecosystem response to global change.
Congratulations to Brian O’Meara and Mike Gilchrist, who were recently awarded a new grant from NSF for “Population genetics-based codon models.” They will be developing new methods of phylogenetic reconstruction using protein coding sequences of DNA. Unlike most work in this area, their methods will be based on evolutionary models that explicitly include the forces of mutation, natural selection and genetic drift. Their work will result in more accurate inferences of the evolutionary relationships between different taxa and, simultaneously, estimates of the strength of natural selection on the coding sequences.
Aimee Classen has received more than $880,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy to investigate often-overlooked carbon cycle players.
She and her team will examine factors that influence carbon cycling below the ground and are not included in today’s carbon-cycle models, such as bacteria and fungi.