Thursday, June 18, 2015

Students return from Puerto Rico



Five students recently returned from a study abroad trip to Puerto Rico, led by Drs. Chris Higgins and Jesse Meik.  The goal of the Tropical Ecology course was to introduce students to the diverse ecosystems found on tropical islands and how humans can maintain sustainable use of these important ecological systems. Students were able to survey biodiversity in the only rainforest in the US Forest System, repel down waterfalls, zip line through the forest canopy, kayak through a mangrove forest into a bioluminescent bay, explore cave and sinkhole formations, snorkel in pristine waters, and visit various nature reserves along the way.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Something's fishy! Student/faculty research published

The culmination of two students' research, Allison Love-Snyder (grad student) and Wesley Weigreffe (undergrad student), was recently published. Allison and Wesley were mentored by Drs. Chris Higgins and Russell Pfau.

Higgins CL, Love-Snyder A, Wiegreffe W, Pfau RS. 2015. Lack of Hybridization between Naturally Sympatric Populations of Red and Blacktail Shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis and C. venusta) in Texas, but Evidence of Introgression among Three Lineages of the C. lutrensis Species Group. Copeia, 103:272-280.


Grad students successfully defend theses


Congratulations to the following grad students who successfully defended their theses this semester!

Kryztal M. Medina Torres: “Taxonomic and functional changes in the metacommunity structure of stream-fish assemblages in Texas from 1988-2009.”

Erica Hammond: "Assessment of Various Dairy Cattle Manure-based Media for Laboratory Rearing of Stable Flies (Stomoxys calcitrans (L.))"

Kelly Hammond: "Aqueous Plant Extracts Effect on Stomoxys calcitrans (L.)"

Nathan Elrod: "The use of silver nanoparticles to develop a Tacaribe virus vaccine in mice"

Jacob Owen: "Ecological Studies of Squamate Reptiles in Northeastern Swaziland"

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fall 2014 TriBeta Inductees

Congratulations to the following students who were inducted into the Sigma Delta chapter of Beta Beta Beta, the biological honor society: Regular members include Leah Woolam, Amy Sarcinella, Lindsey Zamudio, and Renato Rios.  Associate members include Joseph Hamlin Elizabeth Gilliland, Jesse Brown and, Katherine Koock.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dr. Meik and colleagues document endogenous viral elements in rattlesnake genome

Dr. Jesse Meik, together with several of his colleagues, recently published the results of their exploration of the rattlesnake genome in which they documented, for the first time, several kinds of endogenous viral elements (EVEs).  EVEs are genetic 'fossils' resulting from viruses becoming incorporated into an organism's genome millions of years ago.  Understanding EVEs can reveal many things about viruses and host-virus interactions. 

Endogenous hepadnaviruses, bornaviruses and circoviruses in snakes
Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences, 2014


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2014 Publications: Dr. Chris Higgins


López-González, C., S.J Presley, A. Lozano, R.D. Stevens, and C.L. Higgins. 2014. Ecological biogeography of Mexican bats: the relative contributions of habitat heterogeneity, beta diversity, and environmental gradients to species richness and composition patterns. Ecography - Online Early DOI: 10.1111/ecog.00813.

De la Sancha, N.U., C.L. Higgins, S.J. Presley, and R.E. Strauss. 2014. Metacommunity structure in a highly fragmented forest: has deforestation in the Atlantic Forest altered historic biogeographic patterns? Diversity and Distributions - Online Early DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12210. [pdf]

Lange, J.R., R.M. Harp, J.M. Cadle, R.S. Tarpley, C.L. Higgins, and B.D. Lambert. 2014. Lunar influence on post-castration performance of baby piglets. The Texas Journal of Agriculture and Natural Resources 27:1-12. [pdf]

Erős, T., P. Takács, P. Sály, C.L. Higgins, P. Bíró, and D. Schmera. 2014. Quantifying temporal variability in the metacommunity structure of stream fishes: the influence of non-native species and environmental drivers. Hydrobiologia 722: 31-43. [pdf]

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Student co-authors publication

Kalee Smith, an undergraduate majoring in Biology with a Wildlife and Environmental emphasis, has had a paper accepted for publication in The Texas Journal of Science, coauthored with Dr. Allan Nelson and Dr. Jim Goetze.  The paper is entitled, “Range extensions and county records for vascular plants from Mills County, Texas”.  Kalee collected plants, made voucher specimens, helped prepare the manuscript, and recorded data for specimens located at Tarleton State University Herbarium.  Kalee has also been involved in entering data from the plant collections at Tarleton on the worldwide web at the Consortium of the Northern Great Plains Herbaria.  This consortium is partnered with Integrated Digitized Biocollections (IDigBio), which is funded by the National Science Foundation.  For information about the herbarium at Tarleton and the consortium, follow this link.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Field Research Assistants needed



Dr. Higgins needs two additional undergraduate students to serve as research assistants this fall ($1000) and spring ($1000) to help with a survey of mammals at Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, which is the newest state park in Texas. Nestled within the Western Cross Timbers Ecoregion of North Central Texas, PPMSP is 3,346 acres of land with great topographic diversity. It is important that we document what the mammalian diversity looks like in this area and its relationship with habitat characteristics before the land is actually developed and opened to the public. This survey provides an important baseline for future comparative studies examining the diversity of mammals after the park is fully functional.  To apply for a research assistantship, visit Dr. Higgins' website to complete a brief application (http://faculty.tarleton.edu/higgins/new-students.html).


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Student presents research, wins award

Andria Beal, undergraduate biology major, conducted research on the genetics of a hybrid zone in Dr. Pfau's lab for several semesters. Recently she presented her research at the Texas Society of Mammalogists conference (where she won the Bobby Baker Award for best presentation in her category) and at the Southwestern Association of Naturalists conference. The title of her presentations were “East Meets West: Identification Of The Contact Zone Between Genetic Lineages Of The Hispid Cotton Rat”. Andria is currently pursuing a Master's degree in biology at Texas Christian University.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tim Huebner defends thesis

Tim Huebner successfully defended his Master's thesis.  Congratulations Tim!