OU Biology News


August 2013

    Eli Bridge with Helikite
  • The National Science Foundation has awarded a $300K EArly concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) to support an interdisciplinary team of OU faculty led by Jeff Kelly. Eli Bridge is a co-PI, together with S. Lakshmivarahan and Le Gruenwald in Computer Science and Phillip Chilson in Meteorology. The research will advance the use of radar for answering fundamental questions about the diversity, distribution, and abundance of animals in the aerosphere.

  • Photo: the team with their helikite.
    Eli Bridge with Helikite
  • Cindy Gordon, Heather Ketchum, and Ingo Schlupp have each been named a National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences for the 2013-2014 academic year. This honor was bestowed "by virtue of their selection to and enthusiastic participation in the 2013 National Academies Gulf Coast Summer Institute on Undergraduate Science Education that was held July 22-26, 2013 at Louisiana State University." http://www.academiessummerinstitute.org/

July 2013

  • Dr. Larry Weider, Professor of Biology, and colleagues at Oklahoma State University (P.D. Jeyasingh) and the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM, M. Edlund) have secured significant funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF-IOS-OEI) for a 3-year project entitled "Collaborative Research: A millennial-scale chronicle of organism-environment interactions resulting in microevolutionary physiological and genomic shifts in Daphnia" (total project costs of $872,717; OU component is $314,849). Weider and colleagues will combine resurrection ecology of long-dormant (i.e. decades, centuries-old) resting eggs of the important aquatic herbivore zooplankter, Daphnia pulicaria, with Next-Generation-Genomic Sequencing methods, quantitative genetics, experimental physiological ecology, and paleolimnological techniques to examine the underlying role of environmental change (i.e. nutrient enrichment) in impacting the evolutionary dynamics of physiological and genomic shifts in this herbivore. Resurrected genotypes separated by thousands of generations of evolution in the wild will be examined. This is an ideal model system to better understand the evolutionary consequences of rapid global environmental change. In partnership with the SMM, the project will be part of the NSF-sponsored award-winning SCIENCE BUZZ (www.sciencebuzz.org) online exhibits that blends up-to-the-minute science news – linked through digital feeds utilizing RSS technology – with traditional museum interactive, experiences, text- and object-based displays, reaching potentially 500,000-800,000 individuals per year.

Dr. Weider, student, and core sample pictured below.
weider core sample

April 2013

  • Professor Mike Kaspari was one of three OU-Norman faculty honored with a George Lynn Cross Research Professorship at the OU Faculty Tribute on 18 April 2013. Mike received this award in recognition of his sustained record of distinguished scholarly contributions in ecology. This is the highest honor the university bestows to its faculty for creative activity.

March 2013

  • We are proud to share the news that Rachel Hartnett, a biology graduate student in the EEB program, was notified that she will receive a 2013 Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. These are highly competitive, three-year awards for graduate students early in their programs. This is the second year in a row that a graduate student in the department has received one of these highly coveted awards.

    Rachel is working with Dr. Larry Weider toward a PhD. She received her BS degree in Biology at UT Austin. In her PhD research, she is interested in life-stages of Daphnia populations (i.e. juvenile and adult instars) and how different populations might change their demographic structure in response to abiotic and biotic pressures. She is also interested in how changes in life-stage structure may impact community networks.

  • At the March 2013 Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society meeting, Biology Presidential Professor Caryn Vaughn was awarded the “Lifetime Achievement Award” for “singular accomplishments and long-term contributions that have advanced the conservation and science of freshwater mollusks at a national and international level”. This is the highest honor that this society gives, and Dr. Vaughn is the first woman to have received the award.

February 2013

  • Associate Professor David McCauley is an author on a recent landmark paper describing the sequence of the lamprey genome that was recently published in Nature Genetics. OU had multiple roles in the project. In addition to Dr. McCauley's contributions, Sandy Clifton (who is now back at OU at the Advanced Center for Genome Technology), contributed to project management at the Genome Institute, Washington University School of Medicine. For more information, see this news release on the College of Arts and Sciences web site: Sea Lamprey Genome Mapped With Help From Scientists at OU

January 2013

  • This spring, students in BIOL 1121 Introductory Biology and BIOL 4653 Parasitology will be using brand-new stereomicroscopes. In fall 2012, the department replaced ~75 stereomicroscopes and 3 projection stereomicroscopes (for displaying work to the entire class) for three of our teaching labs.

    Many of the microscopes that were replaced were originally purchased in the 1960s and 1970s and were at the end of their useful service. This purchase was funded in part through a portion of the course fees that students pay for these lab courses. However, it would not have been possible without additional very generous funding from the College of Arts and Sciences. Please join the department in thanking Dean Paul Bell for his support. We are looking forward to putting these microscopes to good use this semester!
    Microscopes pictured below.
    new microscopes









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