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Spring 2019 Seminar Series


5 April 2019    11:10am to 12:00pm     Fisher Hall 33-285

Climate change and forest management: 80 years of change in California's forests and beyond

Dr. Patrick Mcintyre, Senior Ecologist and Research and Development Manager, NatureServe

Patrick is an ecologist and conservation biologist for NatureServe, working on ecological issues in western North America from the Yucatan to Alaska. Patrick’s areas of focus include the effects of climate change on forest ecosystems, classifying and mapping ecosystems, and improving the availability of biodiversity data for conservation decision making. In his over 20 years in ecology and conservation, Patrick has worked with the California Natural Heritage Program, the National Park Service, and collaborated on conservation research projects at the University of California Berkeley, San Diego State University, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Patrick has a PhD in ecology from UC Davis and a Master’s in biology from Northern Arizona University, where he studied plant range limits and plant-arthropod interactions.

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Host: Grossenbacher Lab

19 April 2019    11:10am to 12:00pm     Fisher Hall 33-285

Making it clear: the evolution and development of transparency in butterflies

Aaron Pomerantz, PhD Candidate, Integrative Biology, UC Berkeley

The primary unit for color in Lepidoptera is the wing scale cell, and the underlying mechanism for a particular color can be due to either absorbing pigmentation from a biochemical pathway, or to the physical architecture of scales manipulating wavelengths of light, known as structural color. Yet numerous species of butterflies have transparent wings that allow light to pass through, so that objects behind them can be distinctly seen. We therefore set out to explore the evolutionary history, morphological diversity, and development of wing transparency in butterflies. We find that a variety of modifications related to scale development appear to achieve wing transparency, including polyploidy of scale-building cells, scale density, and altered projection morphologies.

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Host: Yep Lab

26 April 2019    11:10am to 12:00pm     Fisher Hall 33-285

Limb bone adaptations to locomotor mechanics in primates

Dr. Kristi Lewton, Assistant Professor of Clinical Integrative Anatomical Sciences, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

Kristi Lewton is a biological anthropologist and evolutionary anatomist with research interests in the evolution of form-function relationships between post-cranial morphology and locomotion in primates and other mammals. Her research combines comparative, three-dimensional morphometrics and experimental approaches to address questions regarding adaptation, function, and evolution.

Dr. Lewton also "maintains Adjunct Assistant Professor appointments in the Department of Biological Sciences in Dornsife College and in the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy in the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry. In addition, she is a Research Associate in Mammalogy at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County."

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Host: Strand Lab

3 May 2019    11:10am to 12:00pm     Fisher Hall 33-285

Redox biology: from physiological adaptation to mechanisms of disease

Dr. Jose Pablo Vazquez-Medina, Assistant Professor, Integrative Biology, UC Berkeley

The increasingly recognized role played by reactive oxygen species in cellular signaling during health and disease underscores the prominence of redox biology in driving physiological responses. Although most of the research in this area has focused on elucidating the impacts of dysregulated oxidant generation on human disease, we have also been studying the role of redox signaling in mediating physiological responses in animals adapted to extreme conditions. Elephant seals are a prime example of extreme physiological adaptation as they can hold their breath for extended periods while diving and sleeping. Remarkably, extended breath-holding in elephant seals is associated with severe hypoxemia and ischemia but does not result in the cardiovascular complications observed in humans that suffer from heart attacks, pulmonary embolism or sleep apnea. Similarly, elephant seals undergo spontaneous long-term absolute food/water deprivation while breeding, molting, and weaning. Prolonged fasting in elephant seals promotes a pro-inflammatory phenotype (insulin resistance, increased angiotensin II/cortisol, increased oxidant generation) similar to that observed in long-term insulin resistant/type II diabetic human subjects. My previous work shows that neither prolonged fasting nor extended breath-holding induces oxidative stress or inflammation in seals. The cellular mechanisms that drive seals’ tolerance to those conditions, however, remain largely unknown. Hence, we have established cell culture systems (myoblasts, fibroblasts, flow-adapted endothelial cells, adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells) to study how seal cells respond to different stressors and physiological adjustments associated with fasting and breath-holding. My lab is currently using those systems to dissect the cellular mechanisms that drive seals’ tolerance to such conditions. Elucidating the mechanisms that drive seals’ tolerance to hypoxemia/ischemia and insulin resistance could have translatable value for the current understanding and treatment of cardiovascular and respiratory pathologies in humans.

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Host: Tomanek Lab

10 May 2019    11:10am to 12:00pm     Biorsrc Ag Eng 08-123

Primates and snakes, a 75 million-year-long deadly dialogue?

Dr. Harry Greene, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University

Harry Greene graduated from Texas Wesleyan in 1968, served three years as an army medic, then earned a M.A. from University of Texas at Arlington and Ph.D. from University of Tennessee. He was a professor and curator in Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology for two decades before moving to Cornell, where he is now professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology. He's taught vertebrate natural history, herpetology, introductory biology, evolution and biodiversity, and field ecology, while studying vertebrate biology and conservation. Harry's honors include U. C. Berkeley's Distinguished Teaching Award, the Edward 0. Wilson Naturalist Award, president of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, and Cornell's Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellowship. In 2014, Business Insider named him one of Cornell's "Top Ten Professors" and he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His Snakes: The Evolution of Mystery in Nature, won a PEN Literary Award, garnered a two-page spread in Time magazine, and made the New York Times' annual list of 100 Most Notable Books

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Host: Taylor Lab

24 May 2019    11:10am to 12:00pm     Fisher Hall 33-285

Will plant communities change more quickly in refugia?
A biogeographic and landscape perspective.

Dr. David Ackerly, Professor and Dean of College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

David Ackerly is the Dean of the College of Natural Resources and has a joint appointment in the Departments of Integrative Biology and Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California Berkeley. His research group studies plant ecology and evolution, with an emphasis on the native plants of California. Current work examines drought tolerance of native tree species, potential impacts of climate change on plant communities, and post-fire forest dynamics at sites that burned in the 2017 northern California wildfires. His research is used to inform strategies of biodiversity conservation in the face of climate change, with a focus on California parks and open space. Ackerly is a recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Faculty Mentor Award, a Senior Fellow with the Berkeley Institute of Data Sciences, a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America. He received his B.A. in Biological Sciences from Yale University in 1984 and his Ph.D. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University in 1993. He joined the faculty at UC Berkeley in 2005.

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Host: Rajakaruna Lab

31 May 2019    11:10am to 12:00pm     Fisher Hall 33-285

Comparative physiology and genomics

Dr. Jane Khudyakov, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences, University of Pacific

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Host: Tomanek Lab

7 June 2019    11:10am to 12:00pm     Location TBA

Activities of the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory

Ben Pearl, Plover Program Director, San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory

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Host: Liwanag Lab

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