Rob Denton

Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology

Salamander Snapchats

With the school year starting up again, it means that the undergraduate crew that I work with in the laboratory at Ohio State are back on campus. They are great to work with. Really great. One of my favorite things about them, aside from their work ethic and trustworthiness, is that they have a fantastic collective sense of humor. Because levity is a big part of my own personal work environment, I encourage joking around extensively while doing scientific work.  One of our salamander caretakers, Paul, is particularly fond of updating me regularly about how the captive salamanders are doing. […]

Small rattles, big personalities

In the dark recesses of Aronoff laboratory, many are surprised to know that our lab has an entire room filled with rattlesnakes. In fact, most visitors don’t believe us until we show them. Behind a plain, gray door lives a group of dusky pigmy rattlesnakes (Sistrurus miliarius barbouri). This group of animals has been one of the main sources of data for our lab’s efforts in studying pit viper venom and how it relates to these animals diets and behavior. This work is currently being done by our principal investigator, Dr. Lisle Gibbs, and current PhD student Sarah Smiley. Right now, […]

Scenes from the OSU Museum of Biological Diversity Open House

Earlier this month, I was happy to again participate in the Ohio State Museum of Biological Diversity Open House, our department’s biggest outreach event. We had more than 2,200 visitors from all parts of Ohio and elsewhere. This year, Matt Holding and I teamed with two fantastic undergraduates who work in our lab (Meghan Parsley and Paul Hudson) to go even bigger than we did last year. Since this year’s theme was all about how scientists use technology to discover and classify biodiversity, we put together a booth that showed visitors how our lab uses technology across all aspects of […]

Beer as a Metaphor for Biodiversity

Check out this great video from MinuteEarth that compares the dynamics of plant communities to the economics of beer. Sounds strange at first, but ends up being a great way to explain the importance of biodiversity to an economics major who is taking there required biology course. Check it out: Make sure to take a look at MinuteEarth’s other videos on youtube and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter. 

Hardy Kern: Parthenogenesis 101

An important component of our lab here at Ohio State is our group of undergraduate students/volunteers/researchers. Even though these students have schedules full of challenging classes, work, and other responsibilities, they still find time to help us take care of captive animals, meet once a week to talk about science, and even conduct their own research. For this blog post, one of our students, Hardy Kern, submitted an article that he wrote up about a topic that has recently captured his imagination. Here’s Hardy: Putting it plainly, I’m an animal nerd. For as long as I can remember I have been […]