Recently, our research was featured on SDSU NewsCenter: ‘Don’t Bug this Beetle’.
‘Brachinus elongatulus, more commonly known as the bombardier beetle, is a fellow you do not want to agitate. When this beetle feels threatened, it blasts boiling hot, noxious chemicals from its body in rapid-fire fashion. And the smell is not pleasant either.
“It’s a foul-smelling liquid that is quite shocking and distasteful to predators such as toads,” said Tanya Renner, an assistant professor in San Diego State University’s biology department. If a predator tries to eat the bombardier, it gets a mouthful of this unpalatable liquid.’
Read the full SDSU NewsCenter Article here.
The 2016 ICPS conference was held at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in England this August 2016. It was a fantastic meeting spanning topics in carnivorous plant systematics, evo-devo, molecular evolution, ecology, biomechanics, and horticulture. We had a chance to visit the famous Kew Herbarium, view a type specimen ofNepenthes rajah, and see some original correspondences with Joseph Hooker. Sir David Attenborough even visited us for a short but glorious moment to receive a painting of Nepenthes attenboroughii! We ended our meeting with a visit to Down House, the home of Charles Darwin. All in all, a great meeting. See you at the next meeting!
Here’s to a successful first NSF PI meeting with (from the left): Sihang Xu (Ph.D. student, Stevens Institute of Technology), Dr. Athula Attygalle (PI, Stevens Institute of Technology), Dr. Wendy Moore (PI, University of Arizona), Dr. Kipling Will (PI, UC Berkeley), Dr. Tanya Renner (PI, San Diego State University), Dr. Aman Gill (Postdoctoral Researcher, UC Berkeley), Reilly Mcmanus (Master’s Student, University of Arizona).
Dr. Chelsea Specht (Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley) gives SDSU’s first James Crouch Lecture on Monday, May 9th 2016: “PETALOIDY AND POLLINATION: THE EVOLUTION OF FLORAL FORM IN THE ZINGIBERALES.” A fantastic mix of phylogeny, molecular evolution, a comparative morphology! We had a chance to visit the Torrey Pines State Reserve with Dr. Mike Simpson.
Elliott Kennerson reports on ‘The Bombardier Beetle And Its Crazy Chemical Cannon‘ for KQED Science’s Deep Look program. Learn about the bombardier beetle, what we know about it’s explosive chemistry, and some of our hypotheses as to how this system may have evolved. Collaborator Dr. Kip Will (UC Berkeley) stars in this video (alongside the bombardier Brachinus)!
We were very lucky to have Dr. Ulrike Bauer visit the laboratory the past 10 days to collaborate on a Nepenthes transcriptome project. On October 26th, she gave a wonderful departmental seminar ‘Springboards, water slides and sticky pools – How carnivorous pitcher plants catch their food’. Dr. Ulrike’s research uses carnivorous plants as a model to investigate mechanical defense strategies of plants. Her work combines the study of functional plant morphology with elements of biomechanics, ecology and developmental biology to address both ecological and evolutionary questions. I invite you to read about her current research that was featured on BBC.com this October (http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34414284) and to watch a short video (http://tinyurl.com/ndt3o2b). Of course, between lab work and brainstorming, we had to visit some great San Diego wilderness areas.
Our collaborative research (with Kevin Hockett and David Baltrus, U. Arizona) was featured on a recent BacterioFiles Podcast: “Bacteria have repeatedly captured and used the tails of phages to fight each other!” Listen to us talk about the Independent Co-Option of a Tailed Bacteriophage into a Killing Complex in Pseudomonas.
Listen to the podcast here.
Our collaborative manuscript on the evolution of Costus has been published in Systematic Botany. Congratulations Shayla Salzman, Heather Driscoll, Thiago André, Stacy Shen, and Chelsea Specht!
See the full paper here: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.1600/036364415X686404
“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.