Undergraduate research student Usmaan Basharat has won an Undergraduate Diversity at Evolution 2014 travel award from NESCent (National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, North Carolina). This award will cover the entire expenses for traveling to and attending the Evolution 2014 meeting, the largest annual meeting in the field of evolutionary biology, systematics and natural history, jointly held by the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE), the Society of Systematic Biologists (SSB), and the American Society of Naturalists (ASN). Usmaan will be presenting a poster on his research on the biogeography of West Indian entimine weevils.
Congratulations to Usmaan!
In this year’s competition, Franz Lab undergraduate students Usmaan Basharat and Zhen Geng have received the 2014-1015 SOLUR Researcher Awards. Both students are conducting research on the molecular aspects of the Neotropical entimine weevil project, in close coordination with postdoc Guanyang Zhang.
Linked here is an interim result of my attempt to align two influential weevil classifications by Thompson (1992) and Alonso-Zarazaga & Lyal (1999) with the Euler/X toolkit. For additional information see this link.
Update, February 18, 2014: Here is another alignment of two phylogenetic classifications of weevil families and subfamilies, according to Kuschel (1995) and Marvaldi & Morrone (2002).
Lab members Andrew Jansen, Guanyang, Lin Pan, and Sangmi Lee headed out to the Imperial Sand Dunes near Yuma, AZ, for a weekend in late January to collect beetles and moths that are out and about at this time of the year. It has been a dry winter but darkling beetles and broad-nosed weevils (such as Trigonoscuta) were out in some numbers. See photographs of the wonderful scenery here.
From August 05-13, 2014, the second installment of The Weevil Course will be held at the wonderful AMNH Southwestern Research Station located in the Chiricahua Mountains, Portal, Arizona. Applications can be received through the SWRS course website. Photos from the 2012 Course are posted here.
Weevil Course 2012 Instructors: Greg Setliff, Nico Franz, Anthony Cognato, Robert Anderson, and Charles O’Brien.
Some good news came to our lab recently in the form of SoLS-sponsored research awards and fellowships.
- Undergraduate student Usmaan Basharat received a SOLUR Apprentice grant for the project “Molecular phylogenetics and biogeography of Cuban weevils (Curculionidae)”.
- Graduate student Sal Anzaldo was awarded a STRI Graduate Fellowship to spend the 2014 Spring Semester in Panama, take a course in tropical field biology, and conduct research on conoderine weevils.
- Postdoctoral researcher Guanyang Zhang received the SoLS-RTI Postdoctoral Research Award, jointly with Patrick Browne of the Cadillo Lab, for the project “Elucidating weevil-endosymbiont associations and diversity across different ecological and evolutionary scales”‘.
Congratulations to all!
Four members of the Franz Systematics Lab went to the Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America: Salvatore Anzaldo, Andrew Jansen, Andrew Johnston, & Guanyang Zhang. Except for Andrew Johnston, we all presented talks on our research. Sal and I presented in the 10 minute paper competition, while Guanyang presented during a member symposium and as the Featured Young Professional during the SysEB Member Symposium (WAY TO GO!!!). Nico Franz also submitted a poster showcasing the Symbiota project WoNA (Weevils of North America). We attended many interesting and intellectually stimulating presentations during the conference, and made sure to spend time networking and socializing with our peers and fellow researchers during the meetings of the Entomological Collections Network (ECN), and the Coleopterists Society. All in all, it was a blast! Afterwards, we spent 4 days on the road collecting insects. Andrew Johnston sought Eleodes, a genus of Tenebrionidae, while I chased after my weevils in the genus Minyomerus. We met with considerable success in the field, and even managed to bring home live critters. We collected primarily in sand dunes, including one locality north of Austin, as well as the Monahans Sandhills, and the Red Dunes near El Paso. It was a truly memorable experience.
Our group is giving a regular and a virtual poster on weevils at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, held in Austin, TX. The corresponding PDFs are posted here (click on the titles). Andrew Jansen and Guanyang Zhang are also presenting on southwest U.S. and Cuban entimine weevils, respectively. An ESA 2013 meeting review will be forthcoming. The image shows Pachyrhinus californicus (Horn, 1976).