Rob Denton

Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology

Arizona Black Rattlesnakes at Muleshoe Ranch

On our way to the 2013 Field Herpetology course at the Southwest Research Station, Dr. Emily Taylor, Matt Holding, and myself took a side adventure to look for rattlesnakes. Our destination: Muleshoe Ranch Cooperative Management Area in southeastern Arizona.Muleshoe is operated by Melissa Amarello and Jeff Smith, who both do some fascinating work tracking rattlesnakes and documenting the secret habits of these cool creatures. Muleshoe is absolutely crawling with rattlesnakes, as evidenced by our first hour of looking around: Two professionals doing there thing: Matt Holding (left) and Jeff Smith (right) Within the first ten minutes, we had already found […]

Data or Art?

“Spectrum Colors Arranged by Chance III” (1952) by Ellsworth Kelly I stumbled upon this really neat post on Jim Davenport‘s blog, If We Assume: Data or Art?Us scientists now have so many tools at our disposal to visualize data in new and interesting ways. While box and whisker plots may never go out of style, check out some of the sites below to find fascinating graphs, plots, charts, and more. From Gong et al. (2011) PNAS Wired magazine: Data as Art: 10 Striking Science MapsThe sub-reddit “Data is Beautiful” This all-time classic talk from Hans Rosling, “Stats that reshape your worldview”Information […]

The Tweet Report from Evolution 2013

This past weekend, scientists from around the world met in Colorado for Evolution 2013, the largest scientific meeting in the world for folks studying evolutionary biology.I was not one of these scientists, and I was bummed about it. Conferences are very important for scientists for many reasons. They serve as forums to share work that is brand new and unpublished. They allow scientists with common interests to meet face-to-face, creating opportunities for collaboration and generation of new ideas. They can even be places to find your next job!But from the opposite perspective, conferences are expensive: registration, hotel, transportation, and food add […]

Get to Know a (Former) Grad Student: Dr. Ana Jimenez

With this post, I’m continuing the “Get to Know a Grad Student” series, an effort to showcase the lives of real scientists. After interviewing a few graduate students, I thought it would be nice to hear from someone who has crossed the PhD boundary into the wild blue yonder.  Dr. Ana Jimenez is a post-doctoral researcher in Dr. Joe Williams’ lab here in the Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology Department at Ohio State. Ana has been my teacher and biggest supporter in the impossible task of getting salamander cells to grow in the lab. She is also my designated dog […]

How do you make science interesting? Make it rhyme and drop a beat.

In general, it is very hard to get people to care about science. I don’t want to force a history major to change his degree to bioengineering. I don’t need a six year old to sign a contract detailing her commitment to being the next Nobel prize winner. I’m talking about just getting someone (anyone!) who isn’t already a scientist to recognize that science exists, science matters, and science can be cool. I watched this incredible video produced by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, and one point in particular stuck with me for the last week. Most of the […]

Live slow and die old: why are we studying salamander cells?

The following post was written as part of a practice exercise for the Scifund Outreach Class. But it isn’t doing any good hidden away, so here you go:A few years ago, Ligers were all the rage. You remember Ligers don’t you? Here is a Liger looking right at you Ligers, of course, are the result of a mating between a lion and a tiger. I predict that the reason a hybrid animal like a Liger is so captivating to you and me is that it causes the imagination to run wild. You can’t help but think of wild combination of […]

Get to Know a Grad Student: Chris Thawley

Our last PhD student for “Get to Know a Grad Student” is Chris Thawley from Penn State University. Chris is currently a member of Dr. Tracy Langkilde’s lab at PSU, but I met him while he was a Masters student at the University of Alabama with Dr. Leslie Rissler.    Chris Thawley in a shirt that was surely made by AND1. Here is what Chris thinks about his grad school experience: What kind of research do you do? Please give the scientific version and the non-scientist version. Less-scientific version: Broadly, I study how species adapt when their environment (habitat, other […]

SciFund Round 3: Jenn Hellmann

The SciFund challenge, a crowd funding experiment for science, is once again going strong this year. Since this blog started with my own SciFund campaign, it is only fitting that I use it to promote some of the fascinating research done by other students.This funding cycle, there are three other students in my department at Ohio State who are sharing their science with the world and looking for members of the public to participate with them. One of these students in Jenn Hellman.  Jenn looking for fish in all the wrong places. Jenn’s research centers around social networks in animals. […]

Get to Know a Grad Student: Juli Goldenberg

Next up for Get to Know a Grad Student: Juli Goldenberg, Masters student at San Diego State University Juli in her native environment. She is demonstrating the extremely difficult “No-look pipette transfer”. What kind of research do you do? Please give the scientific version and the non-scientist version. (science-y version) The broad goal of my research is to improve coalescent-based methods of multilocus species tree inference and species delimitation. Specifically, my project focuses on elucidating the species limits and phylogenetic relationships within the Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) species complex – a wide-ranging group of rattlesnakes that currently contains three recognized […]

Get to Know a Grad Student: Kyle Weichert

Kyle contemplating science with field assistant The second installation of the Get to Know a Grad Student series is Kyle Weichert. Kyle is a Master of Science student at California Polytechnic State University in Dr. Emily Taylor‘s lab. I’ve never met Kyle in person, but have talked to several reliable sources that say he’s a swell guy. Good enough for me, and lucky you for getting to hear his point of view.Here is what Kyle thinks about being a grad student: What research do you do? Scientific and non-scientist versions, please. I am studying the physiological factors that affect the Western […]