Torsten Dikow's work in South Africa

October 20, 2009

For the past month Postdoctoral Research Associate, Torsten Dikow, conducted field work, collecting flies, images, and data that will be contributed to EOL. Torsten also visited Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town and put SPG in contact with Simon van Noort, who runs two excellent resources on African wasps ( and about becoming an EOL partner.

Diversitas Conference

October 17, 2009

From October 13-16, Mark Westneat attended the Diversitas Conference in Capetown South Africa. He presented a talk on using phylogenetic tree visualization to synthesize biodiversity informatics and a poster on the Encyclopedia of Life and using synthesis meetings to involve the scientific community.

Jim Parham Presentations and Field Work

October 5, 2009

From September 23-26 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Jim Parham, attended and presented at the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology annual meeting in Bristol, UK. Talk title: A review of tetrapod fossil calibrations: problems, solutions, and databases.

Rick Ree's Field Work in China

August 30, 2009

This month our Assistant Director, Rick Ree, conducted field work in the Hengduan mountains of south-central China, collecting plants, images, and data that will be contributed to EOL. To learn more about his work check out the Biodiversity of the Hengduan Mountains and Ree Lab websites.

Meeting of the North American Dipterists Society

June 3, 2009

Postdoctoral Research Associate Torsten Dikow (BioSynC) attended the biannual North American Dipterists Society (NADS) meeting in Crescent City, CA during the first week of June. These field meetings take place in areas which provide good collecting for true flies, and the habitats in northwestern California were very interesting. From coastal dunes to mountain streams and Redwood forests, all dipterists attending were able to catch their species of interest out of the 156,000 described Diptera species worldwide.

Diptera collection

April 29, 2009

Postdoctoral Research Associate Torsten Dikow (BioSynC) spent the last week of April in the field in western Arizona and south-eastern California to collect true flies (Diptera). He visited the Mohave and Sonora deserts in order to collect species of the families Apioceridae (flower-loving flies), Asilidae (robber flies), and Mydidae (mydas flies) for his ongoing phylogenetic and taxonomic research on taxa of these three families.

Genetic structure of Aracaris (Toucans) across the Rio Japura

April 17, 2009

On April 18, Undergraduate Intern Swati Patel (Northwestern University), who works with Postdoctoral Research Scientist Jason Weckstein (BioSynC) and Associate Curator and Chair John Bates (Zoology/Birds), gave a poster and oral presentation at the Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium (CAURS) entitled “Genetic structure of Aracaris (Toucans) across the Rio Japura.”

Biogeography, Conservation and Evolution of Melanesian Coral Reef Fish

March 31, 2009

Josh Drew (BioSynC) gave a talk to Jeff Townsend’s lab group of approximately 15 people at Yale entitled “Biogeography, Conservation and Evolution of Melanesian Coral Reef Fish.” The group met to see if they could come up with some ways to collaborate on bioinformatics projects, hopefully it will result in a project they will do this summer.

Expedition to Tonga, Tuvalu and Samoa

March 30, 2009

Postdoctoral Research Scientist Josh Drew (BioSynC) traveled to Tonga, Tuvalu and Samoa to collect samples as well as to work on follow-up questions about the ranges of endemic fishes from that region. He worked with people from UCLA, Washington State and the University of Queensland. Josh’s expedition was funded by Conservation International and the NSF. While traveling, Josh also took the opportunity to give a talk to the Samoan Ministry of Natural Resources about the role of endemic species in conservation planning.

Jim Parham in Mexico

January 12, 2009

The Field Museum was well represented at the International Biogeography Society's biennial meeting in Merida, Mexico.

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