Biology Graduate Student Association Outreach

From left to right: Jessica Tingle, Vicky Zhuang, Lauren Conroy, Katie Johnson, Krista Le Piane, and Emily Naylor. Photo courtesy of Biology Graduate Student Association, UC Riverside

From left to right: Jessica Tingle, Vicky Zhuang, Lauren Conroy, Katie Johnson, Krista Le Piane, and Emily Naylor. Photo courtesy of Biology Graduate Student Association, UC Riverside

Six graduate students in the Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology Program within the UCR Department of Biology participated in a Parent Math and Science workshop held on Oct. 28 at Bear Valley Elementary School, Moreno Valley.  The graduate students organized booths and several activities to encourage the elementary school students’ participation.

“We discussed topics like bird beak adaptations, insect camouflage, and animal phylogeny,” said Katie Johnson, the outreach coordinator of the Biology Graduate Student Association.  “We also had a live snake and tortoise for the kids to touch and learn about.”

Johnson was joined in the workshop by graduate students Lauren Conroy, Vicky Zhuang, Jessica Tingle, Krista Le Piane and Emily Naylor.  Bear Valley Elementary School presented them with a certificate of appreciation.

So You Think You Can Steal My Dance?

Anthea Kraut

Anthea Kraut

Anthea Kraut, associate professor in the Department of Dance, has written a new book, “Choreographing Copyright: Race, Gender and Intellectual Property Rights in American Dance,” that will be released on Nov. 2.

Drawing on critical race and feminist theories and on cultural studies of copyright, Kraut offers fresh insight into the power dynamics of authorship and ownership in dance in the United States from the late 19th century to the early 21st century.

Read more about Kraut’s book here.

Study Spells Out Why Some Insects Kill Their Mothers

Kevin Loope

Kevin Loope

Through the continuous filming of yellow jacket wasps, Kevin J. Loope, postdoctoral researcher, finds that worker wasps kill queens when they are in colonies with lots of full siblings, but not in colonies with a mix of full and half siblings.

“Workers are assessing the situation in their colony and deciding to revolt against the queen only when the genetic makeup of the colony makes it favorable to do so,” Loope said. “The main advantage is to allow your sister workers to lay male eggs, rather than the queen, who typically stops worker reproduction by egg eating, attacking reproducing workers, and by laying many of her own eggs. By eliminating the queen, a matricidal worker allows other workers and herself to lay male eggs.”

This allows them to compete with the queen for the production of males. “Workers are not mindless automatons working for the queen no matter what. They only altruistically give up reproduction when the context is right, but revolt when it benefits them to do so,” Loope said.

The study is one of a few that suggest that workers can assess the relative proportions of full and half-siblings of their colony and respond adaptively when conflicts of interest arise over what the colony should do, for example, rear the sons of workers or the sons of the queen.

Study results appear online today in Current Biology.

Read more about Loope’s research here.

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