Been a busy few weeks for publication output from the lab! Our undergraduate-driven project on the bee community of the UA Arboretum is finally out! Took a little while to find a good home for this paper, which is understandable given the relatively small scale of the analysis, but I think it's actually settled in the proper venue of the Southeastern Naturalist! We are happy to have it out, and think it shows a few cool things about bees, mainly that even at a small scale you get fairly different subsets of species hanging out in different spots. Importantly, you can also get a pretty good snapshot of the community without sacrificing huge numbers of bees. This was something of a trial run, and we hope to expand this study a bit more to look at how restoration schemes and floral diversity influence the bees in fragmented habitats around Alabama.
Jeffrey D. Lozier, Clare N. Ols, Charles A. Pitsenberger, Vanessa M. Marshall, Monica H.M. Watkins "Partitioning of Bee Diversity at a Small Spatial Scale in an Urban Arboretum," Southeastern Naturalist, 19(1), 21-43, (6 February 2020). https://doi.org/10.1656/058.019.0103
After a decade of extensive sampling, genotyping, sequencing, and analysis in several studies (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4) we have FINALLY fixed (we think) Bombus bifarius in the western US. We have elevated the western populations of this species to the rediscovered B. vancouverensis (subspecies nearcticus and vancouverensis). This bumble is interesting for several reasons, but most notably its color pattern variation. Hopefully this will help avoid confounding effects of cryptic species in future ecological and evolutionary studies.
Amazing how much work has gone into just revising a single species, but still cool that we can add another species to the list. Plus this new paper has a bunch of cool whole genome analyses that complement prior pop genomic data we've published. Check it:
Ghisbain, G., Lozier, J.D., Rahman, S.R., Ezray, B.D., Tian, L., Ulmer, J.M., Heraghty, S.D., Strange, J.P., Rasmont, P. and Hines, H.M. (2020), Substantial genetic divergence and lack of recent gene flow support cryptic speciation in a colour polymorphic bumble bee (Bombus bifarius) species complex. Syst Entomol. doi:10.1111/syen.12419
Hey! Lozier Lab actively looking for new PhDs! See below!
UA issued a nice UA News story on the forthcoming Bombus epigenetics study. We are already somewhat planning things for the coming year, and will be recruiting students ASAP! So Apply if interested in cold bees and their molecules.
We are excited that this week our big grant proposal was funded by NSF. The project is funded as part of the Rules of Life: Epigenetics program and is entitled Bumble bee cold tolerance across elevations - From epigenotype to phenotype across space, time, and levels of biological organization. The project is a continuation of our prior NSF project, and will continue the collaboration with Michael Dillon at UWY and Jamie Strange (currently at USDA) to look at ecological and evolutionary adaptations for thermal tolerance in bumble bees (focusing on B. vosnesenskii). We've added chemist Franco Basile (UWY) and computational biologist Janna Fierst (UA) to the team. The combined budget is ~$2.6M so we are going to be able to hire a lot of great people and do some really great research (and generate ~20TB of sequence data!!!!!)
Also, our US Senator Richard Shelby is very excited about the project!
We have been surveying and collecting mussels. So many rivers, so many stream measurements, so many mussels! Check out the mussels page for details! (mussels.ua.edu/news)
Some of our work in mussel genomes and biodiversity was featured heavily in the AWI newsletter. Check it.
I submitted our lab's first principally undergrad-driven research paper "Fine-scale partitioning of bee diversity across an urban arboretum" to PLoS ONE. Clare Ols (now graduated and seemingly headed to law school!), Charles Pitsenberger, and Vanessa Marshall, did most of the research associated with this paper, which involved bee bowl surveys at the UA Arboretum, specimen ID, and DNA barcoding, so a good mix of "student centered learning" activities! Fingers crossed!
Lozier Lab News
Dispatches from the lab and field!