Graduate Student Symposium 2012

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Biology/Physics Building Room 130, 9:00am to ~ 4:00pm

The EEB Graduate Student Symposium is an all day event where graduate students present their research to other graduate students and faculty. Any EEB graduate student can present: BSMS, masters, PhD, old and new students. New graduate students usually present research ideas or preliminary data, while those more ‘seasoned’ students present their most recent results, often in preparation for upcoming spring and summer meetings.



Time Speaker Title
8:30-9:00 Coffee & Tea
9:00-9:15 Welcome address
9:30-9:45 BILL Snake tongue flicking stuff
10:15-10:30 Jon Velotta Comparative analysis of the alewife gill transcriptome
10:30-11:00 Morning Break - Drinks and Fruit
11:00-11:15 Jessie Rack TBA
11:15-11:30 Jayme Csonka Late Devonian Conichnus from Tioga, Pennsylvania: Evidence of Asexual Sea Anemone Reproduction
11:30-11:45 Brigette Zacharczenko Caterpillar mysteries: mimicry and extreme phenotypic changes
11:45-12:00 Jeffrey Divino Hold the salt! How sticklebacks deal with changes in salinity
12:00-1:30 Lunch - Sandwiches and Salad
1:30-2:00 Dr. Massimo Pigliucci, Professor, Department of Philosophy, CUNY-Lehman and CUNY-Graduate Center Keynote Address: On the many meanings of "doing theory" in biology
2:00-2:15 Hamid Razifard Elatine (riverworts): the coolest of plants!
2:15-2:30 Manette Sandor Remnant Trees
3:45-4:00 Speed Talks
3:45-3:50 Kasey Pregler



Dr. Massimo Pigliucci
Keynote Address: On the many meanings of "doing theory" in biology
“Theoretical biology” is a surprisingly heterogeneous field, partly because it encompasses “doing theory” across disciplines as diverse as molecular biology, systematics, ecology and evolutionary biology. Moreover, it is done in a stunning variety of different ways, using anything from formal analytical models to computer simulations, from graphic representations to verbal arguments. In this talk I explore a number of aspects of what it means to do theoretical biology, and how they compare with the allegedly much more restricted sense of theory in the physical sciences. I also tackle a recent trend toward the presentation of all-encompassing theories in the biological sciences, from general theories of ecology to a recent attempt to provide a conceptual framework for the entire set of biological disciplines. Finally, I discuss the roles played by philosophers of science in criticizing and shaping biological theorizing.

Jayme Csonka
Late Devonian Conichnus from Tioga, Pennsylvania: Evidence of Asexual Sea Anemone Reproduction
A long section of Famennian (Late Devonian) strata along US Route 15 in Tioga, Pennsylvania exposes the transition between the shallow marine Lock Haven Formation and the terrestrial Catskill Formation. Numerous specimens of the ichnofossil Conichnus have been found in the transitional zone between these facies. These conical, lined burrows are typically interpreted as dwelling or resting traces of sea anemones. Different aspects of the burrows’ structure are visible on the tops, soles, and sides of beds. Sedimentary structures in this interval include mudcracks and microbial fabrics, and adjacent beds contain Skolithos. The Conichnus-bearing interval contains a few beds with low-diversity body fossil assemblages (e.g., lingulids and Cyrtospirifer), in contrast with the base of the section, which possesses a diverse marine fauna (primarily brachiopods). The Conichnus of Tioga are smaller than many occurrences described previously (diameter equals 4.5-9.5 mm, height equals 3+ times the diameter, where visible). Other, less well-preserved cnidarian ichnofossils (e.g., Bergaueria) have been described elsewhere in the Upper Devonian Appalachian Basin. Thus, sea anemones were not uncommon along the shores of the Catskill Sea. The Tioga specimens show interesting features such as disturbed laminae (equilibrium structures) representing adjustment by the sea anemones to background sedimentation. The trace makers were also able to exhume and reposition themselves after significant depositional events (several cm of sediment, equivalent to the depth of the trace). In some specimens, the burrows are aligned in chains, possibly representing asexual reproduction by binary fission.