Winter 2020 Seminar Series

Friday 21 February 2020     11:10 AM - Noon     Fisher Hall  33 - 285 

Topic: fire ecology


Hugh Safford PhD, Regional Ecologist, US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region and Adjunct Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California-Davis


Safford Lab website

Friday 14 February 2020     11:10 AM - Noon     Fisher Hall  33 - 285 

Topic: biodiversity focusing on spatiotemporal changes in genetic and species diversity


Robert Guralnick PhD, Associate Curator of Biodiversity Informatics, Department of Natural History, and the Florida Museum of Natural History


Guralnick at Google Scholar

Friday 7 February 2020     11:10 AM - Noon     Fisher Hall  33 - 285 

Topic: cell signaling pathways


Hasini Jayatilaka PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher, Stanford School of Medicine



Friday 31 January 2020     11:10 AM - Noon     Fisher Hall  33 - 285 

"pH"ingerprinting coastal oceans: connecting climate change, natural variability, and biological feedbacks


Nyssa Silberger PhD, Assistant Professor, Biology Department, California State University, Northridge

Most of the world's population lives within lOOkm of a coastline and depend on coastal marine ecosystems for sustenance, shoreline protection, and economic resources. Because our shorelines are threatened from numerous local and global human impacts, it is essential to understand how they will change in the future. Coastal ecosystems persist in a highly dynamic environment, especially with respect to pH. This high variability of pH is driven by complex physical and biological processes that complicate climate change predictions. Using coral reefs and rocky intertidal ecosystems as examples, I discuss several case studies that highlight how pH, in combination with other anthropogenic stressors, affect ecosystem functioning. Specifically, I focus on how ecosystem function is affected by natural pH variability across multiple spatial scales, biological feedbacks between pH and ecosystem metabolism, and how a local stressor (nutrient enrichment) affects biologically-driven pH dynamics. Understanding the natural variability of coastal ecosystems and how organisms both drive and respond to changes in pH is necessary to project how ecosystem functioning will change in the future.

Silberger Lab website

Friday 24 January 2020     11:10 AM - Noon     Fisher Hall  33 - 285 

Getting chased up the mountain: mitonuclear interactions may drive adaptation to high elevation


Elizabeth Dahlhoff PhD, Professor, Department of Biology, Santa Clara University

"Climate change is altering landscapes across the globe and organisms must adapt to these new conditions or face extinction. Coordination between nuclear and mitochondrial genomes is critical to this process, yet consequences of mitonuclear interactions have rarely been investigated in populations where individuals with divergent mitochondrial and nuclear genomes naturally interbreed. I will discuss effects of mitonuclear genetic variation in populations of the leaf beetle Chrysomela aeneicollis living at high elevation (2400-3600 m) in California's Sierra Nevada. We found that fecundity, larval development rate, running speed and male mating frequency are higher for beetles with geographically 'matched' mitonuclear genotypes than 'mismatched' ones. The magnitude of these effects are typically greater for southern than northern mitochondrial haplotypes, and is altered by heat treatment and measurement elevation. These findings suggest that mitonuclear incompatibility reduces performance and reproductive success in nature, effects that could be exacerbated in stressful, rapidly changing environments."

faculty profile

Friday 17 January 2020     11:10 AM - Noon     Fisher Hall  33 - 285 

Shark skin travel time: using dermal denticle assemblages to reconstruct historical shark communities on coral reefs


Erin Dillon PhD, Candidate, Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, UC Santa Barbara

How abundant were sharks on coral reefs before humans? Many coastal shark populations have declined steeply over the last several decades, but longer records of change are unavailable. This hinders our ability to determine baseline shark abundance, understand natural variation in shark communities over time and space, and interpret sharks' functional roles on coral reefs in natural and human-impacted systems. In this talk, Erin will explore the use of dermal denticles, the small tooth-like scales that cover the bodies of sharks and rays, as a new tool for reconstructing historical shark communities on coral reefs.

Erin earned her B.S. in Biology with Honors in Marine Biology from Stanford University. She then worked as a fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama for two years before starting graduate school. Currently, Erin is a fourth-year PhD candidate at UC Santa Barbara working with Dr. Douglas McCauley.

web profile

Friday 10 January 2020     11:10 AM - Noon     Fisher Hall  33 - 285 

Our constant frenemy Escherichia coli: an old bacterium learning new tricks


Alejandra Yep, PhD, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences, Cal Poly State University

Escherichia coli is the most thoroughly studied bacterium on Earth and we know everything there is to know about it… or do we?  The truth is, Escherichia coli can still surprise you!  From a key player in your healthy microbiome to deadly foodborne outbreaks to stubborn urinary tract infections, Escherichia coli seemingly can do it all.  In my lab at the Biological Sciences Department at Cal Poly, we study several aspects of this extremely diverse species, including survival in the environment, pathogenicity in the urinary tract, and mechanisms of acquisition of antibiotic resistance.

web profile

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