We just returned from our road trip to the SSB standalone meeting in Columbus, Ohio. The meeting was fantastic, and the Phyletica Lab was well-represented. Aundrea Westfall gave a great talk about her thesis work looking for patterns of molecular evolution associated with transitions to viviparity in squamates. Breanna Sipley (@Breanna_Sipley) let everyone know what VAPs (venom allergen-like proteins) got to do with it; specifically, what they have to do with the evolution of blood parasitism in flatworms. You can download her slides here.
Randy Klabacka (@HumbleHerper) presented a poster about testing models for explaining genetic variation across a broadly distributed flying lizard (Draco maculatus).
Brian Folt presented a poster on the phylogeography and taxonomic status of the Eastern Indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi); a bioRxiv preprint of his work can be found here.
I gave a lightning talk about the challenges associated with trying to estimate synchronous population-size changes across species, and gave a workshop on using the comparative phylogeography software package ecoevolity. You can view the slides from my lightning talk below, or download them here.
On the drive back from Columbus, we stopped at Painter’s Gap in the Appalachian Mountains of Northern Georgia for a half-day respite.
A huge thanks to Megan Smith, Tara Pelletier, Laura Kubatko, Meg Daly, and Bryan Carstens for organizing the meeting, and many OSU biology graduate students that helped make the conference successful! Thank you!