Blois Paleoecology Lab

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Travel, travel, travel

It’s been a very busy fall, for me and for the lab.

The fall has been a period of building up the lab.  In August we welcomed our first grad student, Eric Williams, into the lab.  And then in October, Juliane Liberto joined the lab to help us sort through fossils.  Finally, Kaitlin Maguire will be joining the lab in January as a postdoc on the “Modeling biotic interactions”  project.

For me (Jessica), this fall has also meant a lot of travel!  In September, I spent two weeks in Palau working on a project to look at whether parallel processes create parallel patterns in diversity at many levels: taxonomic diversity, functional diversity, and genetic diversity.  This is a large project with lots of different people and cool research on different systems and different scales.  We’ve got microbial ecologists (Mike Beman, Jesse Wilson), evolutionary ecologists (Mike Dawson, Sharon Patris), paleoclimatologists (Julian Sachs and Tessa McGee), and paleoecologists (me, Jere Lipps) on the team. It is a fantastic project, great people, and I’m looking forward to learning more about this system in the years to come.

This year, I tagged along with Julian Sachs as he and his team retrieved sediment cores from the bottom of several marine lakes.  Another paleoecologist, Simon Haberle from ANU was there as well and will work up pollen data from several of the cores.  I had fun hiking into and out of the lakes, learning more about coring and sectioning cores in field, and doing modern biodiversity surveys on some of the lakes as well.  We are already starting to plan field work for next year, and I’m looking forward to working with the data coming out of the system!

This fall also means a lot of other travel for me.  I just got back from a fantastic visit to U. Chicago, where I gave a seminar in the GeoSci seminar series.  I had great conversations with the paleobiologists there, and got to talk to lots of bright grad students doing interesting work.

Next week I travel to the Society of Vertebrate Paleontologists Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, then I’m headed to the IBS Geography of Species Associations meeting in Montreal.  While in Canada, I’ll make a quick visit to York University in Toronto to give a talk in the Biology seminar series and visit my friend Sapna Sharma’s lab.  Finally, I’m giving a seminar in the Integrative Biology seminar series at Berkeley right after returning from Canada.


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