Jun 122014

The 2014 KBS K-12 Partnership, sponsored by the NSF GK-12 and KBS LTER, invites you to join us for our morning plenary research talks at the Summer Institute. Events will run from Monday June 23 – Wednesday June 25. Plenary talks will be in the KBS Auditorium from 8:30 – 9:30 AM each day.

Monday June 23, 8:30-9:30 AM

Dr. Jason Gallant

MSU Zoology

Talk Title: Shocking tails from around the world: electric fish in the genomics era


Brief excerpt from online bio: I completed my postdoctoral research in July, 2013 working in the evolutionary genetics laboratory of Sean Mullen at Boston University, where I studied the genetic basis of mimetic wing patterns in Limenitis and Heliconius butterflies.  I received my Ph.D. in July 2011, working with Carl Hopkins and David Deitcher at Cornell University.  Here, I studied the evolution of signal form and electric organ morphology among the Mormyrid electric fishes of Africa in the genus Paramormyrops, which  have undergone explosive speciation in West Central Africa (Cameroon, Gabon, and Congo). My research has involved the study of a novel vertebrate tissue, the electric organ.  Electric organs have evolved independently in several lineages of fish, and derive (almost) always from skeletal muscle during early larval development.  My thesis projects concerned (1) transcriptional differences between skeletal muscle and electric organ and (2) how evolutionary processes may act upon electric organs (and their transcriptomes) to produce novel signals. Dr. Gallant’s website.

Tuesday June 24, 8:30 – 9:30 AM

Dr. Peter White

MSU Entomology, Lyman Briggs.

Talk Title: Teaching Evolution

petewhiteBrief excerpt from online bio: I have dual research interests in ecology and science education. With regards to the former, I investigate the biotic and abiotic drivers of Lepidoptera assemblage diversity, richness and abundance over moderate temporal and spatial scales. With regards to the latter, I am working on a project with Jim Smith and Merle Heidemann at MSU to develop and test integrative cases in evolution education. The materials we have developed can be found on our evolution education website: www.evo-ed.com.

Although I am an ecologist by training, I currently teach Introductory Cell and Molecular Biology along with a senior undergraduate research course in Lepidoptera ecology. Dr. White’s website.

Wednesday June 25, 8:30 – 9:30 AM

Dr. Gerald Urquhart

MSU Fisheries and Wildlife, Lyman Briggs

Talk Title: Diversity in the Rainforest and in the Classroom: Why They Are Both Important to Our Future

urquhartBrief excerpt from online bio: I am a tropical ecologist and an assistant professor of biology at Michigan State University. I teach in the Lyman Briggs College at MSU, a residential, undergraduate program for the study of science and society. I hold a joint appointment in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.

My research focuses on the impacts of globalization on tropical forests and their biodiversity. I have worked for over 20 years on the “Mosquito Coast” of Nicaragua in remote locations that are now feeling the impacts of globalization.

A native of Michigan, I attended Lyman Briggs College (where I now teach) as an undergraduate and received my M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. I held a postdoctoral position at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama before coming back to MSU in 1998. Dr. Urquhart’s website.