Rob Denton

Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology

Starting at the University of Connecticut

After successfully defending my PhD at Ohio State this summer, I’m now settling into my new home in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Connecticut. I’ll be spending my time working on the Pyxicephalus adspersus genome with Dr. John Malone, and also continuing some projects on unisexual Ambystoma salamanders. For more about my current work, head over to the updated research section of this site. While blog posts here have been rare, I’m still going strong as a member of The Molecular Ecologist team. You can go here to read any of my posts or check out […]

New site, new address, same blog

Welcome! I’ve moved all of my previous work at Salamander-Schmalamander over to this blog that is hosted on my own personal website. Although I haven’t been posting here recently, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing! Most of my blog effort is being put into The Molecular Ecologist, where I’ve been a regular contributor for almost a year now. Follow along with my updates here. Here is a handsome Smallmouth Salamander (A. texanum) for all the trouble I put you through:

The Blogcation is over!

Oh boy, has it really been almost three months?Well, I took a little leave of blogging in order to devote more time to important graduate school deadlines and a field season of catching salamanders. I learned something important from this blog-vacation: I miss doing it.So I’m back with a new vigor and big plans on the horizon. Part of these plans included participating in SciFund’s outreach training course. This course puts 171 scientists together in order to improve our collective ability to reach out to the public. I decided to take this course for one reason: to better communicate with […]

What I think is cool in science, August 2012

Hi there. Now that September is here, let me tell you what I thought was cool in science during August. How DNA could replace your DVD playerOur society is generating a lot of data, and these data are vastly important to businesses, governments, scientists, and consumers. The amount and diversity of data produced by our digital lifestyles is staggering: every text message, purchase, phone call, and email. It all adds up to an extremely valuable set of information that will become the focus of many current and future careers. Well, I’m no technology specialist or systems analyst, but I do […]

What I think is cool in science, July (late) edition

Killer Cats yikes. Look, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t care for cats. I prefer the companionship of a good canine. However, cats are to be admired for one thing: they are well-tuned killing machines. Don’t believe me when I say that Fluffy is a murderous night stalker? Check out the new report that suggests outdoor cats are killing a lot more wildlife than previously expected. The study, conducted by National Geographic and the University of Georgia, straps small video cameras to cats and analyzes how they spend their time. You can watch what some of the […]

What I think is cool in science, June edition

Greetings all! I thought I would share some of the science links and stories that have really captivated me over the past few weeks. It is really difficult to keep up with a specific field of science, and it is more so difficult to keep up with discoveries in multiple fields of science at the same time. I rely mostly on websites that aggregate science stories that I might be interested in, such as Science Daily, Reddit, Nature news, and Scientific American. Smart people acting stupid: you can’t fight biasThe first bit of science is summed up nicely by Jonah […]

James and Other Apes

On a non-salamander tangent, I want to share an extraordinary set of photographs with you taken by James Mollison: James and Other Apes. The synopsis of the photos really says it all, but these photos seem to peer into the personalities of these animals like I’ve never seen. Check them out. You can purchase Mr. Mollison’s book here.

SciFund – Day 1 Success

The first day of the 2012 SciFund Challenge is almost at an end, and it sure was exciting! I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on Facebook and I’ve already reached 15% of my goal ($225)! Initially, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the diversity of my first six contributors. The feeling that I’ve maintained lasting relationships with folks from near and far is just as rewarding as the financial support. It really is. So, a big thank you to my supporters from SciFund day 1! Specifically, thanks go out to: Dr. H. Lisle Gibbs, my major advisor, and appropriately, my […]

SciFund y’all!

In anticipation of the impending SciFund launch at midnight tonight, I am preparing to kindly badger all of my family/friends/colleagues with requests to check out my project (found here) and spread the word. In the meantime, I am welcoming any questions about my project that I will answer here and link to the SciFund page. While waiting, here are some pretty pictures of amphibians:  Check out my flickr page for more photos I’ve taken in the field!   

At one point, I could never imagine having anything remotely worth blogging about. However, I love science and nothing would make me happier than sharing science with others. So that is what I’m going to do. Specifically, the impetus for this blog is my participation in the SciFund Challenge, a crowdfunding initiative organized by Dr. Jai Ranganathan and Dr. Jarrett Byrnes. So what is crowdfunding? Well, for a scientist like myself, it is a way to directly interact with anyone who is interested in supporting my research. Traditional avenues for scientific funding such as the National Science Foundation have funding rates […]