What do we do?
We explore evolutionary patterns and processes that drive functional diversification. We are particularly interested in how multi-species interactions shape diversity on a genome-wide scale and influence form and function. Our research combines applied molecular biology with next-generation sequencing, bioinformatics, and phylogenetics. We use plants and insects as models to study adaptation and current projects focus on the evolution of chemical and structural defenses.
News! We recently moved to the Department of Entomology at Pennsylvania State University in July 2017.
More News! Adam Rork officially joined the lab in August 2017 as a Ph.D. student in the Department of Entomology. Adam most recently came from Maryville University, where he studied Amorphophallus titanum floral volatiles with Dr. Kyra Krakos. See an article on his past research here.
Tanya visits with Wendy Moore’s lab at the University of Arizona for some ‘beetling’ in the eastern foothills of the Santa Catalina mountain range for our collaborative NSF project. Our goal was to find some quinone-producing Chlaenius and the bombardier beetle Brachinus. Pictured: Reilly McManus (Moore Lab, U. Arizona) holds up a vial of Chlaenius near the edge of a stream, rimmed with loose rocks. The perfect habitat for these beetles.
The Renner Lab provided content related to carnivorous plants and their digestive fluid for Atlas Obscura‘s article featuring man-eating plant myths: “Once the idea of a giant, flesh-eating plant enters the imagination, it can be hard to dislodge. Imagine this: you’re in the jungle, and you discover a plant with surprisingly large, tentacle-like leaves. The clearing is full of a heavy, sweet smell. Maybe there’s an animal skeleton under the plant. Did the leaves move? Was that just the wind? You move closer, and the plant seems to yearn towards you….” Read the full article on Atlas Obscura’s webpage.
Nepenthes rajah (Photo: Wikimedia)
Collaborative manuscript with University of Arizona (Kevin Hockett and Dave Baltrus, School of Plant Sciences) ‘Independent Co-option of a Tailed Bacteriophage into a Killing Complex in Pseudomonas‘ was published in mBio today!
See the full paper here: http://mbio.asm.org/content/6/4/e00452-15
“Insects invade Student Union for annual festival… Buzz, buzz, buzzzzzz. Most people run at the slightest detection of a buzzing bug, but people will be flocking to them this Sunday at the Student Union Memorial Center Grand Ballroom to attend the fourth annual Arizona Insect Festival.” – By Patrick O’Connor / The Daily Wildcat. Read more about it here.