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Carney Lab awarded NIH grant

June 6, 2024

USF researchers, including Dr. Ryan Carney, "are using artificial intelligence to revolutionize mosquito surveillance to help combat malaria in Africa". 

Read more from USF Newsroom


'Digital Dinosaurs' Course Brings the Past to Life

May 30, 2024

Dr. Ryan Carney's Digital Dinosaurs course provides hands-on training of the cutting-edge digital tools used in paleontology. Students in this cousrse gain “real-world practical skills” such as 3D scanning, modeling, animation, and printing, as well as proposal writing, data generation and analysis, publication and presentation skills.

Read more from USF Newsroom


PROFESSOR EMERITUS ELECTED TO ASEMFL

May 29, 2024

Dr. Susan Bell has been elected to the Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine of Florida (ASEMFL) for her distinguished contributions to understanding and restoration of seagrass, mangrove, and coastal habitats of the East Coast, with world-wide application.

Click here to learn more about the Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine of Florida. 


salty science featured in tampa bay times

April 1, 2024

"Chantale Bégin and her team were rowing in the dark, hoping this would be the day they finally reached land. After rowing for 12 hours a day and being at sea for over a month, they wanted nothing more than to be in the safe embrace of their families..."

Read More from the Tampa Bay Times


Graduate Student MS Research published in PNAS

March 12, 2024

Dylan Gallinson, doctoral graduate student in the Margres lab, has published his MS work in PNAS. His masters research was co-advised by Drs. Mark Margres and Ryan McMinds

Click to access the article, Intergenomic signatures of coevolution between Tasmanian devils and an infectious cancer.


Salty Science places first in women's class in the 'World's toughest row' across the atlantic

January 23, 2024

Salty Science holds a trophy

Salty Science, the rowing team led by USF Professor Chantale Bégin, has won first place in the women’s class in the World’s Toughest Row-Atlantic – the first North American team to ever win in their category. Despite facing rough seas and broken equipment, the group completed the 3,000-mile race across the Atlantic Ocean in 38 days, 18 hours, and 56 minutes, placing seventh out of 38 crews from around the world.

“Winning was not the goal initially,” said Bégin, professor of integrative biology. “We set out to come across safely, have a good time doing it, and row as fast as we could.”

Read more from the USF Newsroom


Margres Lab Research published in Nature Ecology & Evolution

January 8, 2024

Tasmanian Devil

Research by the Margres lab and colleagues was recently published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. Click here to see the study, entitled "Disease-driven top predator decline affects mesopredator population genomic structure".


Carney Lab's mosquito AI research featured on Good Morning America

December 13, 2023

Professor Ryan Carney and his students Karlene Rivera and Sebastian Alvarez de Araya were featured in a national television piece hosted by ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee. The segment showcased the team's research leveraging citizen science and artificial intelligence (AI) to combat the growing threat of mosquito-borne diseases – exemplified by the seven locally transmitted cases of malaria in central Florida this year, the first such transmission in the U.S. in two decades. The full story is available here

Read more about the Carney Lab's mosquito research in four new publications on the invasive malaria vector Anopheles stephensi, the Global Mosquito Observations Dashboard (mosquitodashboard.org), mosquito-bite induced color change in chameleon skin, and classifying the gonotrophic stages of mosquitoes using AI.


orchid mantis research published by postdoctoral scholar in deban lab

December 1, 2023

Chien Lee/Minden Pictures

Research by Dr. Yu Zeng, postdoctoral research scholar in the Deban lab, has recently been published in Current Biology and featured in Science:

"The orchid mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) looks so much like a flower that you might be tempted to take a sniff. Now there’s another reason it’s exceptional. Researchers will report tomorrow in Current Biology that the insect’s petal-shaped legs allow it to glide 50% to 200% farther than other invertebrates."

Read the publication in Current Biology


SAlty Science joins the ‘World’s Toughest Row’ across the Atlantic

November 21, 2023

Following 2 1/2 years of intense training and extensive preparation, a team led by a USF integrative biology professor will row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. They push off Dec. 12 from Spain’s Canary Islands and will spend about one month at sea, rowing to English Harbour in Antigua and Barbuda. 

fox

The team, dubbed Salty Science, will compete against 40 other crews from across the world for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge – all to support training the next generation of diverse ocean scientists.

“This is a massive challenge, so it’d be crazy not to be a bit anxious about it, but mostly we’re excited to tackle it,” said Professor Chantale Bégin. “We’ve been preparing for this race and have spent so much time talking about it and thinking about it, we’re really excited to finally get going.”

Read more from the USF Newsroom


Kramer Lab Awarded $3M USDA Grant 

November 9, 2023

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USF is one of three AAU members awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate the transmission drivers of infectious diseases. Led by integrative biologist Andrew Kramer, the five-year study on the future of coronavirus in animals is supported by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service through a multiagency partnership with the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health. 

“With the increased interactions between humans and wildlife, one of the important things about this work is that it reminds us that it’s not just us here,” Kramer said. “Our health can also make animals sick, and that might make us sicker. And that's an understudied aspect of the dynamics.”

With a $3 million grant, Kramer will examine how the virus spreads between wildlife and humans to create predictive models that can be used to protect human health from future variants and emerging diseases.

Read more from the USF Newsroom


New sea slug species named after professor EMeritus

October 18, 2023

The next time you head to the coast to enjoy the Tampa Bay waters, you may stumble upon a Cyerce piercei – a recently discovered sea slug species that is being named after Dr. Sidney “Skip” Pierce, emeritus professor of integrative biology at the University of South Florida.

The Cyerce piercei is a transparent sea slug that can be found frequently munching on algae in Tampa Bay waters | Photo by: Patrick Joseph Krug

Photo by Patrick Joseph Krug

After a 45-year career dedicated to intricately studying the cells of animals with a focus on sea slugs, Pierce’s colleagues found it fitting to honor him with his own species. 

“Now my name will go on for a long time after I’m gone,” said Pierce, who retired in 2014. “It’s an honor.” 

Read more from the USF Newsroom


St. Pete Undergrad educates on Florida's red widow spider

September 15, 2023

Eli McEuen, an undergraduate biology student studying with Dr. Deby Cassill on the St. Petersburg campus, educates on Florida's native Red Widow Spider in a recent video. 


Tampa Bay’s flamingo visitors: Everything you need to know

September 7, 2023

"Why are they suddenly in Tampa Bay? ... The popular theory is that the birds, classified as American flamingos, were living in the Yucatán peninsula, heading for Cuba, got swept up in Hurricane Idalia’s winds and were pushed farther north.

 An American flamingo, also known as a Caribbean flamingo, stretches its wings in a tidal pool where it was feeding on Tuesday at Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

An American flamingo at Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | © Tampa Bay Times ]

That could be, said Deby Cassill, a biology professor at the University of South Florida, but another possibility is that they are not storm victims. Rather, they are storm captains.

'Flamingos are thrill-seekers, like Tom Cruise in ‘Mission Impossible,’' she said. 'They are thrilled when a big wind comes because it’s smooth sailing. They have a joyful sense of adventure, so they might have flown into the wind to see how far it could take them. They’re on vacation.'"

Read the full article from the Tampa Bay Times


Why are rare tropical butterflies making a home at USF? 'They're clearly eating something'

August 17, 2023

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus offers the perfect habitat for professors and students. It turns out a rare tropical butterfly, whose survival as a species depends on a plant in ample supply in the campus’s landscaping, likes it here, too. 

atala butterfly

In the courtyard behind the Crosley Campus Center, between the back entrance to the rotunda and the café, visitors can see dozens of Atala butterflies – scientific name, Eumaeus atala –fluttering among the plantings, especially the coontie (Zamia integrifolia), which look like a palm or fern but are an ancient type of plant called a cycad (and may be the only thing Atala caterpillars eat). The colorful butterflies – bright red-orange abdomens and deep black wings punctuated by rows of ultramarine spots – have also been spotted among the coontie and other landscaping on the south side of Selby Auditorium. 

"They're pretty striking," said Paul Kirchman, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences on the Sarasota-Manatee campus. 

Kirchman, who had read about efforts to restore the population of Atalas elsewhere, may be partly responsible for what could be the first appearance of the Atala on the Sarasota-Manatee campus. 

Read the article from the Herald-Tribune


USF launches study abroad experience in Singapore

August 14, 2023

This summer, Ryan McCleary, an associate professor of instruction in the College of Arts and Sciences, and 23 of his students traveled over 10,000 miles to Singapore to explore the local history and culture through the lens of urban ecology.

singapore students

“Singapore is often considered a zero-world country because of its advanced infrastructure,” reads McCleary’s syllabus. “Because of its size and population, it faces unique environmental pressures and has had to develop innovative means of satisfying the needs of its population while trying to maintain its biodiversity and halt environmental degradation.” 

In Singapore, McCleary’s objective was two-fold: Show students there’s more than one way to do things and demonstrate the age-old proverb, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” 

Read the Full Article


CROCODILES ROUSED TO ACTION IN A STUDY WHEN THEY HEARD RECORDINGS OF CRYING HUMAN AND APE INFANTS

August 8, 2023
Crocodile tears

In a study published Wednesday in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers put speakers near crocodiles and played recordings of human, bonobo and chimpanzee infants. The crocodiles were attracted to the cries, especially shrieks that sounded more distressed...

J. Sean Doody, a conservation biologist at the University of South Florida who focuses on reptiles, said he wished the authors had found a way [to identify the sex of the crocodiles]. The information would have helped answer “perhaps the key question,” he said: “Is this response by the crocodiles predation, or is it parental?”

Read the article from the New York Times


kramerradiointerview

KRAMER LAB FEATURED ON THE SUSTAINABLE LIVING SHOW ON WMNF 88.5 TAMPA 

July 31, 2023

IB's Kramer Lab was recently featured on the sustainability living show on WMNF 88.5 Tampa.

Topics of discussion include invasive species and specifically invasive bird species in Florida.

Listen to the show!


Survival of the seeds: USF researchers examine what it takes for trees to thrive

July 25, 2023
zamalea amazon

Assistant Professor in the USF College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Integrative Biology, Dr. Paul-Camilo Zalamea is preparing a four-year research study on plant-soil microbial interactions, after receiving a $1.5 million grant through the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Growing up in Bogotá, Colombia, Zalamea was surrounded by a diverse ecosystem. But it wasn’t until he was an undergraduate student studying biology at the Universidad de Los Andes, that his desire to pursue tropical ecology came to a head. He had the opportunity to study in the Amazon basin, which changed his perspective and ultimately became the reason for his research today.

Read the full article from The HUB


JOHN PARKINSON INTERVIEWED BY WEST PALM TV NEWS

July 20, 2023
jpwptv

Dr. John Parkinson, Assistant Professor of Integrative Biology, was recently interviewed by WPTV about this summer’s intense marine heatwave and the dire impacts for Florida’s coral reefs.

Read the article from WPTV


‘Snakeman’ studies venomous snakes to learn more about fungal disease found in Florida

July 13, 2023

When you walk into the USF St. Petersburg herpetology lab, a bold print sign reads, “Danger, venomous reptiles.” The residents inside include a venomous cottonmouth (water moccasin), two diamondback rattlesnakes, and several non-venomous water snakes. The reptiles are part of a student research project involving a fungal disease found in snakes.

Shiv Shukla, a graduate student in conservation biology, is studying the emerging pathogen Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, which causes the snake fungal disease. The skin condition has been found in Florida and can cause abnormal molting and cloudiness of the eyes and lead to higher death rates in certain species of snakes.

Shukla, who often responds to the nickname “Snakeman” around campus because of his unique field of study, said he chose snake fungal disease as his master’s thesis because reptiles are understudied compared to other animals.

Read the full article from the USF Newsroom


USF coral biologists host panel of experts to guide future research

June 16, 2023
coral Parkinson


In August 2021, Dr. John Parkinson, an assistant professor in the USF College of Arts and Sciences Department of Integrative Biology, was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to help coordinate and fund a workshop that brought together more than 60 scientists from 12 countries to build consensus around the assessment and interpretation of coral symbiont diversity.

Read the article from The HUB


IB’s Margres lab receives NSF award

July 2023

The Margres lab has received an NSF research grant for over $600,000. The research, carried out by Dr. Mark Margres and collaborators Dr. Andrew Storfer from Washington State University and Dr. Rodrigo Hamede from the University of Tasmania, will study how repeatable coevolutionary interactions are between Tasmanian devils and the species-specific cancer threatening the iconic species with extinction.


Mosquito watch: USF researchers urge use of global dashboard in light of recent malaria cases

June 29, 2023
mosquito

ABC News video link
Bay News 9 video link
Carney Lab Website

Researchers at the University of South Florida are urging the public to take photos of mosquitoes and share them to help track and mitigate the potential spread of malaria.

The Florida Department of Health has issued a statewide mosquito-borne illness advisory after four confirmed cases of malaria in Sarasota County. An additional case has also been reported in Texas. 

Ryan Carney, assistant professor of integrative biology, and Sriram Chellappan, professor of computer science and engineering, developed mosquitodashboard.org, which utilizes data provided by ordinary citizens and artificial intelligence to identify the location and species of disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Read the article from the USF Newsroom


Conservation biology students forge forward this summer

June 23, 2023

The USF College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) conservation biology program aims to train the next generation of scientists who will address critical issues in biodiversity conservation.  

conservationbiologystudents

“We recognized that there was a critical local, state and regional need for biologists with training and research experience in conservation to protect and manage our native species, communities, and ecosystems, and we created this graduate program in 2017 to address this shortage,” said Dr. Melanie Riedinger-Whitmore, St. Petersburg campus chair for the Department of Integrative Biology.  

The thesis-based Master of Science program introduces students to the critical areas impacting biodiversity (habitat degradation, climate change, invasive species, pollution and over-exploitation), and provides them with the skill sets and knowledge needed for careers and research in wildlife and natural resource management and ecological restoration.   

Conservation biology graduate students conduct both applied and basic research, and most students have research projects aligned with faculty research. Many students also work closely with non-profit or government agencies, and these connections help them establish important professional partnerships.   

Read the article from the USF Newsroom


IB Research Engineering Technologist Richard Romeo receives 'Quiet quality award'

June 15, 2023
romeo quiet quality

“Romeo” R. Romeo, Research Engineering Technologist on the Tampa campus, was recently recognized as a recipient of the March 2023 Quiet Quality Award.

This award from Staff Senate recognizes staff who go above and beyond in work performance, conscientiousness, and professional interpersonal relationships.

Congratulations, Romeo!


Ryan Carney receives CAS Liberal Arts Teaching Award

June 20, 2023
Ryan Carney

Dr. Ryan Carney has been awarded the CAS Liberal Arts Teaching Award. This award recognizes outstanding teaching in the liberal arts and sciences and is based on curriculum development and innovations as well as teaching evaluations and outcomes.

Well done, Ryan!

Dr. Carney's Research Profile


an interview with Heather Judkins and Tampa Bay Arts and Education Network

June 16, 2023
judkins interview

On this special episode of Innovators in Science, Dr. Heather Judkins discusses her longtime work with studying the mid-water column since 2011 following the major BP Oil Spill, a part of the DEEPEND Consortium and their evolving technologies and work in the Gulf of Mexico and Wider Caribbean. While teaching at USF St. Petersburg, Professor Heather Judkins and a team of experts made a historical landmark with a new live Giant Squid discovery in the Gulf of Mexico aboard a NOAA research vessel in 2019, 250 miles off of the coast of Tampa Bay with the deepwater submersible camera called "The Medusa" by Edie Widder and Nathan Robinson.

Stream the interview on the TBAE website  

Dr. Judkins' Research Profile


USF St. Petersburg IB Student Receives Guy Harvey Scholarship

June 2, 2023

Alex Seigel is one of eight individuals who have recently received the $5,000 Guy Harvey Scholarship and will also receive a certificate designed and signed by world-renowned marine wildlife artist, conservationist and GHF Founder/Chair Emeritus, Dr. Guy Harvey.

alexseigel

Alex Seigel’s research focuses on evaluating the potential species and habitat benefits in the restoration site of the Robinson Preserve, a more than 600-acre coastal preserve located in northwestern Bradenton in Florida. He will utilize environmental DNA (eDNA) to evaluate the spatial and temporal biodiversity of migratory animals, such as sharks and large bony fishes, monitoring where they go and how long they are utilizing the preserve as a nursery. 

Read more from Florida Sea Grant


Zalamea Lab awarded NSF grant

June 1, 2023
camilozalameanews

The Zalamea lab has received an NSF research grant for over $700,000. The research, carried out by lead PI Dr. Camilo Zalamea and co-PI Carolina Sarmiento, aims to test the hypothesis that beneficial and antagonistic plant-fungal interactions at the seed stage are important to tropical tree recruitment. The researchers will provide inclusive, cross-disciplinary research training and mentorship from the US and Latin America.

Congratulations!


IB Student receives Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award

April 24, 2023

Anna Beatriz Machado, an undergraduate student in the Parkinson lab, has been awarded an Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award at the OneUSF Undergraduate Research Conference for her poster detailing how microplastics harm symbiont uptake in sea anemones. 

Congratulations, Anna!

graduate Student awarded sea of change conservation priority grant

April 15, 2023

Matthew Gamache, a PhD student in the Parkinson lab, has been awarded a Sea of Change Conservation Priority Grant to study the application of eDNA for coral restoration monitoring in Honduras.

Congratulations, Matt!

Read more from DiveWire


Graduate Student awarded NSF GRFP

April 10, 2023
sam hirst

Samuel Hirst, a PhD student in the Margres lab, has been awarded an NSF GRFP in the field of Evolutionary Biology. 

Congratulations, Sam!

USF researchers featured in new york times article 

March 21, 2023

Black Widow

Researchers at the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus found that in a container habitat, brown widows were 6.6 times more likely to attack black widows than other related species. The behavior is likely a driver of the black widow spider’s population decline.

“We have established brown widow behavior as being highly aggressive towards the southern black widows, yet much more tolerant of other spiders within the same family,” said Louis Coticchio, who led the study as part of his undergraduate research at USF along with advisor Deby Cassill, associate professor in the Department of Integrative Biology.

Read more from the New York Times

Six USF faculty members earn national recognition for research achievements 

January 31, 2023

Six University of South Florida researchers, including IB's Dr. Christina Richards, have been named as new Fellows by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, one of the world’s most prestigious honors for academic research.  

The group from USF is among more than 500 scientists, engineers and innovators earning the recognition for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements by the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals.

Read more from the USF Newsroom

Marine biology student helps rescue distressed manatee in Bayboro Harbor

January 26, 2023

Kierstyn Benjamin was doing homework in the library when she noticed a small manatee alone in Bayboro Harbor. When she went out to the water to examine more closely, she realized something was wrong. The USF St. Petersburg campus junior acted quickly, calling the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Wildlife Hotline that is used to report injured animals. 

Wildlife officials responded quickly to campus. After several tense hours trying to corral the distressed manatee into a boat and then on land, they were able to rescue and transport him to Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park where he is recovering. 

See more from the USF Newsroom


2022 Department News

DR. CHANTALE BÉGIN WINS 2022 JEROME KRIVANEK DISTINGUISHED TEACHER AWARD

This is Dr. Bégin's third teaching award at USF. Congratulations, Chantale!!

View Dr. Bégin's faculty profile
Read more about the Jerome Krivanek award


USF PROFESSOR DISCOVERS NEW SPECIES WHILE PART OF TEAM STUDYING IMPACT OF OIL SPILLS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO

"Even after teaching biology for nearly three decades, Heather Judkins still gets excited about conducting field research. An associate professor of Integrative Biology on the USF St. Petersburg campus, Judkins will continue her studies of cephalopods, such as octopus and squid, on July 26 as part of a team of scientists aboard the R/V Point Sur for a 12-day research cruise around the Gulf of Mexico.

The goal of the cruise is to identify and quantify long-term trends in fishes, crustaceans and cephalopods in the midwaters of the Gulf in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that occurred in 2010.

"We're collecting specimens and looking at the biodiversity in that area and how it changes over time," Judkins said. "We want to know what we could see in the future, in the unfortunate event of another oil spill."

Read the article


CARNEY LAB HOSTS MAKE-A-WISH CHILD SEBASTIAN, WHO WISHED TO BE A PALEONTOLOGIST IN A LAB

sebastian carney lab

Make-a Wish video link
Good Morning America video link

Sebastian is a 7-year-old who is battling cancer with ongoing chemotherapy and an upcoming surgery. Sebastian loves all things dinosaur and has demonstrated an interest in fossils. His passion for dinosaurs is what helps him mentally escape from his medical challenges. Since he wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up, his greatest wish was to experience first hand what it is like to be a paleontologist and see how they study the prehistoric animals.

His wish day began with a limousine ride to the USF Science Center in Tampa where Sebastian met Dr. Ryan Carney, who is a National Geographic Explorer and Assistant Professor of Integrative Biology at USF. Sebastian was welcomed with open arms by everyone and gifted a lab coat before embarking on a tour of the lab.

Dr. Carney said, “It’s absolutely wonderful to see the look of joy on his face. For all of us, being able to fulfill his wish was a very fulfilling experience. It puts things in perspective. We do this kind of stuff every day. We are fortunate to study what we are passionate about. Being able to share that experience with Sebastian is just wonderful.”

The newest paleontologist examined fossils and learned about the evolution of dinosaurs. He scanned replicas of dinosaur skulls, examined mummified skin under a microscope, and used x-ray imaging and computer animation to learn even more about prehistoric creatures. Sebastian even 3D printed a “Sebastianosaurus” based on a Brachiosaurus skull, his favorite dinosaur.

Sebastian’s dad said, “I’m so happy for him, especially because it opens his mind for what he’s interested in. Seeing that everything that he can wish or dream for, it can come true. It’s not impossible. Never give up.”


CHRISTIAN BROWN, DEBAN LAB, RECEIVES THE 2022 CHIH FOUNDATION RESEARCH & PUBLICATION AWARD

christian brown

The Chih Foundation recognizes groundbreaking research with transformative potential to greatly benefit society. The award seeks to support exceptional third- or fourth-year Science, Engineering or Medicine PhD, PharmD, or MD students.

Through their generosity, the Chih Foundation Research & Publication Award provides a monetary award to exemplary scholars who reflect these qualities.

Congratulations, Christian!


DR. CHRISTOPHER OSOVITZ RECEIVES THE 2021/22 OUTSTANDING UNDERGRADUATE TEACHING AWARD

chris osovtiz

These awards are made as part of USF’s continuing effort to enhance undergraduate teaching by recognizing and rewarding excellence in undergraduate teaching. 

Congratulations, Chris!

Chris's Faculty Profile


THREE GENERATIONS OF USF ACADEMICS TRAIN TO ROW ACROSS THE ATLANTIC IN SUPPORT OF MARINE CONSERVATION

saltysea

Integrative Biology Professor Chantale Bégin is preparing for what is called “the world’s toughest row.” The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is an annual race to row 3,000 miles from Spain’s Canary Islands to English Harbour in Antigua and Barbuda. Bégin’s team, Salty Science, includes Lauren Shea and Noelle Helder, two of her former USF students, and Isabelle Côté, her doctoral advisor at Simon Fraser University. Salty Science is dedicating its race to marine conservation to support training the next generation of diverse scientists who will develop creative solutions to global ocean challenges.

Salty Science signed up for the challenge having no experience in rowing, but the multigenerational team of marine scientists shares a love for the water and pushing their limits. The team has a never-ending sense of adventure and is made up of certified scuba divers, licensed captains, triathlon racers and endurance runners.

“I’m stoked to combine my passion for marine conservation with some solid type II fun by rowing across the Atlantic,” said Helder, who graduated from USF in 2017. “I’m excited to be a part of this science dream team, working towards this mission with women who have inspired me throughout my career.”

Read the full article


BIOLOGY PROFESSOR WHO MADE MIDLIFE CAREER CHANGE GIVES $1 MILLION ESTATE GIFT TO USF ST. PETERSBURG CAMPUS

At the age of 40 and nearly 20 years into a career in health care administration, a nature documentary seismically shifted the life of Deby Cassill.

“It was a David Attenborough documentary on African wildlife, and I realized sitting there that I didn’t just want to watch science, I wanted to do science,” Cassill said.

Shortly thereafter, she went back to college to pursue an undergraduate degree in biology. By the time she was 50, she had earned a doctorate in the field and in 2001, Cassill was hired on as the first full-time biology professor on the USF St. Petersburg campus.

Cassill said the university has provided her with a wonderful opportunity to explore her passion. Now she is providing the institution with a $1 million estate gift to create the Cassill Endowed Scholarship in Biology to aid the next generation of aspiring biologists.

Read the full article


CARNEY LAB LAUNCHES THE GLOBAL MOSQUITO OBSERVATIONS DASHBOARD; COAUTHORS STUDY ON DINOSAUR HIPS IN THE JOURNAL NATURE

The Carney Lab just launched the Global Mosquito Observations Dashboard (mosquitodashboard.org), along with a new study about fighting mosquito-borne diseases around the world using citizen science and artificial intelligence (AI). This research is part of the lab's National Science Foundation (NSF) grant and collaboration with NASA and the CDC, and was featured on the USF homepage and NSF website. The AI techniques developed through collaboration with the Chellappan Lab include multiple patents pending, and in a follow-up student paper were also used to classify bees and bee mimics.

carney news pic

Dr. Ryan Carney's research on the iconic Archaeopteryx served as a key component in a Nature paper on dinosaur hip "evodevo" (evolutionary developmental biology). As covered in various media outlets, these discoveries demonstrate that the developmental changes in a bird embryo's hip over two days mirror what is seen in fossil dinosaur hips over millions of years. "In this context," remarked Carney, "the modern bird egg is a time capsule of ancient dinosaurian features."


IB RESEARCHERS PUBLISH 'TERMITES AND TEMPERATURE, WOOD DECOMPOSITION ACROSS LATITUDES'

science cover image


Assistant Professor Camilo Zalamea and Research Associate Carolina Sarmiento from IB in collaboration from colleagues around the planet published a paper in Science.

READ THE ARTICLE


DR. SANTIAGO ALARCON PUBLISHES PNAS ARTICLE ON
'WILDLIFE SUSCEPTIBILITY TO INFECTIOUS DISEASES AT GLOBAL SCALE'

pnas image

During the last decade many studies have investigated how different biotic and abiotic factors determine pathogen infection, particularly for zoonotic diseases affecting humans. As demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need to better understand the influential factors underlying zoonotic transmission to inform future disease management strategies. Here, authors created a model using machine learning to understand the underlying environmental, geographic, and phylogenetic factors that influence zoonotic transmission. They applied it to three different host-pathogen systems: coronaviruses and bats, West Nile Virus (WNV) and birds, and malaria and birds. The results suggest that transmission of avian malaria is mostly affected by environmental distance between hosts, WNV is influenced by a combination of all three factors, while bat-coronaviruses are mostly affected by the geographic distribution of susceptible host species. The data point to bird species that are particularly susceptible to transmission, which includes songbirds and perching birds in the Passerine order. As well, several hotspot regions around the world were identified, with Eurasia being particularly susceptible to avian malaria and North America to WNV. Coronaviruses are likely to successfully invade any geographical region of the world reachable via natural dispersal or human-assisted dispersal. Results agreed with the known ecology of each analyzed system, providing a tool to discover potential host species and novel geographical hot spots for a pathogen. Thus, it can help guiding sampling decisions both in terms of host species and geographical locations. Finally, this tool can be applied at different spatial scales with few incidence data.


THE GLOBAL SUCCESS STORY OF KNOTWEED

The University of Tübingen magazine has recently published a IB's Christina Richards' research on Knotweed.

Check it out here (in German and English) - starting on page 6:

attempto! Research Magazine of the University of Tübingen