Dr Brant Faircloth has developed an Ultraconserved Element (UCE) probe set for arachnid phylogenetics. In collaboration with Brant, John McCormack & Rob Bryson, members of the Hedin lab (thank you Jim & Shahan!!!) tested this probe set on a diverse sample of arachnids, at multiple phylogenetic levels. The results are remarkably promising. A preprint can be found here.
Drs. Bill Shear & Fred Coyle are arachnological legends, true scholars, kind and wonderful gentlemen. I was fortunate to meet Bill & Fred early in my career … they have been friends and inspirational mentors since this time.
Highlands Spider Course, 1992
I was able to visit with Bill & Fred on a recent trip to Appalachia.
One of the remarkable outcomes of this visit was a donation of reprint libraries – Fred’s spider reprints, Bill’s Opiliones literature (and many specimens!!). These treasures have found a new home at SDSU. Thank you Bill & Fred, I promise to treat these with care, and when the time comes, pass them to the next arachnological generation.
Published a new paper today with prior MS student Angela DiDomenico. Congrats Angela! Our work on Sitalcina harvestmen resulted in the discovery of two new species, both from California. We were honored to name one of the species after Darrell Ubick, a giant among North American harvestman researchers. Darrell has helped many of my students through the years, and I’m truly thankful for his science, kindness and generosity.
We also used molecular phylogenetics to clearly show that species from the California deserts are allied with Arizona sky island taxa, rather than with adjacent coastal CA taxa. We hypothesize that this interesting biogeography is related to plate tectonics, and perhaps associated with a Madro-Tertiary Geoflora. You can find the Zookeys article here.
Thanks VERY much to Gary Robbins for writing this story about Hedin lab research
If you’re interested in California biogeography, I invite you to read this paper.
This publication results from the fine MS thesis research of my prior student Kristen Emata. A very compelling story of an apparently old CA lineage with roots in the southern Sierra Nevada. From these roots, the genus has diversified into > 25 species and has somehow crossed the Central Valley multiple times. Similar selective pressures in Coastal versus Sierran habitats have forced convergent morphological change in distant phylogenetic relatives. A very, very cool story. And thanks again to DE for his foundational and inspirational work!
Huge congratulations to Shahan for receiving this well-deserved and highly prestigious NSF award! Getting Shahan back to the Hedin lab has been an amazing blessing, thank you Shahan.
Hedin & Derkarabetian in Japan
Members of the Hedin lab recently published a paper describing this new harvestman species. Here’s a video that tells more of the story.