Wanna Join My Department? Tenure Track Job Posting in Disease Ecology/Evolution!

So, rolling into year two here in the Biology Department at UMass Boston, I have to say I’m having a delightful time. Fabulous colleagues (who I’m already co-authoring papers with – that’s just how we roll), a easy access to multiple field sites and stations, a deliciously nerdy intellectual scene throughout Boston, a brand-spankin’-new School for the Environment, and a nice waterfront setting.

Yep, this is us!

Yep, this is us!

So, I’m pleased to announce that we’re hiring a disease ecologist/evolutionary biologist type in our department. And by disease, we’re talking broadly – microbes, viruses, parasites, you name it! Into chytrid fungus? Awesome. Coral disease? Cool. Evolution of echinoderm wasting diseases and their interaction with ocean warming? Bueno. Crazy theoretical modeling of multi-host disease dynamics in wild arboreal cow and wolverine communities? Fantastico! (also, where can I find these wild arboreal cows?)

The text of the ad is below, and can be found here. The application form is at http://umb.interviewexchange.com/candapply.jsp?JOBID=42747&jobboard=148


The Biology Department at the University of Massachusetts, Boston seeks applicants for a full-time tenure track Assistant Professor in the Ecology/Evolution of Diseases in natural or domesticated populations starting in September 1, 2014. Successful applicants will be well versed in evolutionary and ecological theory of host-pathogen relationships, and engaged in research on the ecological circumstances and evolutionary processes associated with epidemics and their impacts on natural populations. Applications will be particularly welcome from candidates who are working on some aspect of global change, biodiversity, or evolutionary genomics and who utilize creative experimental approaches that investigate how host-pathogen interactions affect the structure, dynamics and function of communities and ecosystems (marine, terrestrial or aquatic). The successful applicant is expected to establish an externally funded research program, direct the research of students at the undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels, and interact with a dynamic group of ecologists and environmental biologists.

Excellence in teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels is expected. A Ph.D. and postdoctoral training (or equivalent professional experience) in population genetics, ecology or evolution is required.

The University has a strong faculty with substantial research and doctoral programs in Environmental Biology; Molecular, Cellular and Organismal Biology; and Environmental Sciences. Excellent opportunities exist to collaborate and engage in multidisciplinary research on campus, across the five UMass campuses and at UMass Boston’s Nantucket Field Station.

Application materials must be submitted online. Please include a statement of teaching and research interests and goals, curriculum vitae, and 3-5 representative reprints. Applicants should also arrange for three letters of reference to be sent to Ecology/ Evolution Pathogens Search, Biology Department, University of Massachusetts, 100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA 02125.

For further information, visit the Biology Department website at http://www.umb.edu/academics/csm/biology, or contact Ron Etter, Chair of Search Committee, at ron.etter@umb.edu or (617)-287-6613. Review of applications will begin on November 15, 2013 and will continue until the position is filled.

The application can be found at http://umb.interviewexchange.com/candapply.jsp?JOBID=42747&jobboard=148

Thanks, Steve, for helping SCIENCE!

Yesterday, we lost a great innovator and someone who, even if unwittingly, has really helped science. I am a passionate Mac advocate. It’s blend of good user interface with a UNIX underpinning lets many of us just concentrate on our work rather than constantly dithering with niggling details. So, I’m going to offer up this picture as my tribute. It’s a pic of me back from my first field season when I was doing photo sampling in Monterey Bay and would have to download the files in between dives due to flash cards maxing out below 1gig in those days.

You’ll note what is at the center of the pic – my G4 Titanium Powerbook. Oh, how I loved that thing. And oh, the stats it crunched and the simulations it ran. All while looking smokingly hot. And making me look smokingly hot – even while bearded, wet, and in a drysuit.

So, thanks, Steve, for bringing us your brand of awesomeness to our daily lives.

Me with my trusty old workhorse. Thanks for snapping the photo, Kristin!

Ecological Nerd Musique

I woke up this morning to a wonderful email in my inbox (thanks, Fergus!) letting me know about a little musical delight. A song about diurnal zooplankton migration entitled, well, Diurnal Migration. With lyrics like Much of the ocean is not yet explored/ Though submarines pootle about the sea floor, how can you go wrong? (Also, I now have an image of Dr. M. pootling about the seafloor).

So, I went on and decided to listen to the rest of the album, Pre-Apocalyptic Love Song, by Hannah Werdmuller, an ecologist-singer-songwriter. With songs about Grow-Bags, being prepared for the apocalypse (I showed you my heart, you showed me your homemade snare trap ), how could you go wrong? So go check it out!

And then things got even more awesome.

I noticed she had a musical twitter feed where she linked to a new collection of songs, Geek Like Me from the virtual music festival Geek Pop. Basically, it had me at its first song, animals, with the phrase Let’s make love like salmon living in fresh water/ You leave it in the bath I’ll come and pick it up later and the fact that it had a song entitled Brokeback Workbench.

Definitely the second triumph of the morning. And the website has more free tracks scattered about.

Yay! Just what I needed to make my morning of recoding some ill behaving R packages worth it!

A Brief Residency at Deep Sea News

Hey, all! For the rest of the month, I’m the Scientist in Residence over at The Deep Sea News! Muchas gracias to Rick, Miriam, Kevin, and the rest of the crew for bringing me on board. My first post is up where I discuss some of my work on How are extinctions and invasions shaping food webs?

Also, contrary to what Rick may have you believe, I’m at NCEAS, not NESCent. hehe.

More posts to come!

Diversity-Function Brought to Life

Last October, Colin Bates and Jeff Morales conducted a workshop on Scientific Filmmaking at my old stomping grounds, the Bodega Marine Lab. The two run an awesome organization whose sole mission is to train people in ways to tell compelling science stories via video. As someone who has worked on a scientific documentary before, film is an incredible medium to have science make a direct connection with the public. So hats off to them.

But even cooler, one of my former labmates was the topic of one of the videos from the workshop! So check out this awesome video about Kris Aquilino below. She gives a great introduction in to the wild world of science that asks whether the diversity of life on earth matters for how the world functions.


Researcher Profile: Kristin Aquilino from Neil Losin on Vimeo.

In the Grass, On the Reef – Vlogging Research

So, you’re an ecology power-couple starting a new life. You’ve got some elegant and incredibly ambitious experiments designed, funded, and ready to go. You’re about to revolutionize the study of coastal ecosystems…but where?

Where is in the Gulf of Mexico.

And right before your work really takes flight, the Deepwater Horizon happens.

(add to that that one of you is taking some course from some silly guy on this thing called structural equation modeling – why would you ever do that? I mean, come on, really.)

So, what do you do? Blog it.

Dr. Randall Hughes and Dr. David Kimbro are two of the finest ecologists I know (and former colleagues out at BML). Their blog/vlog, in collaboration with WFSU-TV, should be a fascinating exploration of how ecologists conduct research, as well as tracking research efforts on the effects of oil on marshes, seagrass, and oyster beds in real time.

So go check out In the Grass, On the Reef.

What do squids want?

Ah, February 14th. Couples stroll arm in arm, leaning on one another, exchanging roses and kisses, eating sumptuous dinners, and losing themselves in the moment. What moment is that, you ask? Well, it’s Squid Orgy Day!

No, really. Now is the time for squid reproduction, and in this wonderful piece on Slate by Miriam of The Oyster’s Garter (yay! congrats on your national debut!) she lays out six secrets for those squids out there interested in making the “beast with two beaks”.

So take note!