L to R: Darrell Ubick, Jim Starrett, Shahan Derkarabetian, Allan Cabrero
A few members of the Hedin lab recently traveled to the CAS to learn harvestmen morphology “tricks of the trade” from Darrell Ubick, Senior Curatorial Assistant at the CAS. Darrell is world renowned for his expertise on the morphology and taxonomy of North American laniatores harvestmen. Thanks to Darrell for his kindness & insight, helping to inspire and educate the next generation of harvestmen researchers.
Like kids in a candy store we were also able to examine and loan a fair number of important CAS specimens. Vic Smith was also kind enough to show us some of his methods for whole-animal digital imaging. And thanks to Charles Griswold for helping to facilitate this visit!
Included below are two videos that detail i) extracting Laniatores genitalia, and ii) Specimen prep for the SEM.
Allan takes home second place in UG TMP SysEB competition, based on summer robber fly research. Nice work Allan!!
The anchor persons don’t seem particularly enthusiastic about arachnids, but hey, how often do harvestmen make the news!! :) Video here
Thanks to Mike Price for this write-up on Hedin lab happenings ….
Research effort of PhD student Shahan Derkarabetian just published in PLoS One, entitled “Integrative taxonomy and species delimitation in harvestmen: A revision of the western North American genus Sclerobunus (Opiliones: Laniatores: Travunioidea)“, PLoS ONE 9(8): e104982. In my opinion, a superb example of modern taxonomy, using multiple lines of evidence to delimit species using objective criteria, and “finishing the job” by describing emergent species. This paper serves as a template (ample data, sophisticated analyses, digitally-rich species descriptions) for our continuing revisionary research on other travunioid harvestmen.
Our research on spider phylogenomics, led by the Bond Lab at Auburn University, was just published in Current Biology. We used transcriptomes for about 40 spider families to mine orthologous genes, then conducted a battery of phylogenetic analyses on these very large molecular matrices. The biggest surprise is the non-monophyly of orb-weaving spiders – cribellate orb-weavers (e.g., Uloborus, etc) are not sister to ecribellate orb-weavers (e.g., araneids, etc). This result suggests that orb webs evolved early in spider evolution, but have been subsequently lost in a majority of derived lineages.
Non-model genomics enabled by next-generation sequencing is rapidly impacting arachnology …. I can’t wait to see what happens over the next few years!
Kristen, Angela, Dave, Dr. Hedin
Several members of the Hedin lab recently traveled to Newark OH to attend the 2014 American Arachnological Society meetings. Thanks to Andy Roberts for hosting a very nice meetings – superbly-organized, many great talks.
Master’s students Dave, Kristen & Angela all gave excellent talks – thanks guys for your hard work and preparation! Despite tough competition, Kristen was able to win First Place in the Student Talk competition! Kristen seemed quite surprised, but I wasn’t – she gave a very calm, precise, data-rich presentation.
I gave a talk on multilocus species delimitation in TX cave Cicurina, results from research recently funded by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Currently working on the manuscript, so stay-tuned for this interesting story!
After the meetings I traveled through southern OH, western WV, and eastern KY collecting Laniatores harvestmen. Check out my Flickr stream to see photos from that reasonably-successful trip (bottom of Appalachians set).