We are happy to welcome Kelton Verble as a new PhD student into the lab. Kelton comes to us most directly from the National Genomic Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation in Missoula MT where he has been cranking out Illumina libraries for wolf population genomics. Prior to that Kelton got his MS at Virginia Tech where he worked on population genetics of African mongooses (mongeese? mongoosi?).
Kelton will be working on the NSF Understanding the Rules of Life mountain bees epigenetics project. He will be looking at how methylation and gene expression patterns in bumble bees from different populations change following cold exposure. Welcome aboard!
I haven't updated the news page in a while (thanks Coronavirus) but lots of stuff still going on here in the Lozier lab. Congrats to everyone!
1) Sam Heraghty published his first first author paper in G3 and also received Honorable Mention on his National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship proposal.
2) PhD student Jamie Bucholz was awarded a three year fellowship from the Southern Regional Education Board. Jamie was awarded this competitive fellowship which will fund almost all of her stipend for the next three years! Congratulations Jamie!
3) Meaghan's got a job! Meaghan applied and was awarded a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship. She will be leaving us at the end of August for the DC swamp where she will hopefully make a useful contribution to society! There's still lots of data from her postdoc that we have to work on, I don't know what we'll do without her after so long!!
Phd student Sam Heraghty published his first main dissertation paper (before he even took quals, good job!). This is a set of new genome assemblies for Bombus vosnesenskii, Bombus bifarius, and our recently redescribed B. vancouverensis nearcticus (genomes for B. vancouverensis vancouverensis forthcoming). These genomes were assembled from a combination of long read Oxford Nanopore data and high coverage shotgun Illumina data and they came together pretty well. Still not full chromosomes, but with some fairly low cost and personnel time, they compare favorably with other published Bombus and will be of great use for our Understanding Rules of Life epigenetics project.
The paper can be found in G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics at doi.org/10.1534/g3.120.401437
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.
Lozier Lab News
Dispatches from the lab and field!