Florida Museum of Natural History honors volunteers of year

May 19th, 2010

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History recently honored Jim Beville and Jackie Fried with the 2010 James Pope Cheney Volunteer of the Year Award.

Beville and Fried received the award March 31 at the museum’s annual reception to honor volunteers who serve throughout the museum in the collections and exhibits/programs divisions.

James “Jim” Beville was honored as the research and collections volunteer of the year. He has completed more than 1,700 hours of service since he began volunteering with the paleobotany and palynology divisions in 2006. He also has volunteered as a participant during the museum’s annual Collectors Day program. (more…)

Florida Museum of Natural History graduate student receives biology teaching award

May 10th, 2010

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History graduate student Paul Corogin recently received the University of Florida biology department’s Graduate Student 2009 Teaching Award.

Corogin is researching plant systematics and taxonomy under the supervision of Walter Judd, a UF biology professor who has an affiliate appointment with the Florida Museum. Corogin’s research focuses on the systematics of trees and shrubs of the genus Sideroxylon (Sapotaceae) in southeastern North America.

The biology department recognizes one or two outstanding graduate teaching assistants every year. A committee of faculty members selects the award winners after reviewing student evaluations, a nomination letter and letters from faculty advisors. (more…)

Florida Museum biology graduate student receives best paper award

May 10th, 2010

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History graduate student Julie Allen recently received the 2009 Best Paper Award from the University of Florida biology department.

Allen won the award for her paper on mutualistic bacteria, which live in some insects. The article appeared in the academic journal PLoS ONE in March 2009. PLoS ONE is an interactive open-access journal for the communication of all peer-reviewed scientific and medical research.

Allen is studying organisms that have been evolving together over time like hosts, parasites and mutualists. Her paper, “Mutational Meltdown in Primary Endosymbionts: Selection Limits Muller’s Ratchet,” is the second chapter of her dissertation. (more…)

Florida Museum curator emeritus named fellow in American Academy

April 21st, 2010

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Jerald T. Milanich, contributing editor at Archaeology magazine and curator emeritus in archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, has been named a fellow in the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Milanich is among 229 new fellows who join one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies and a center for independent policy research. The scholars, scientists, jurists, writers, artists, civic, corporate and philanthropic leaders represent universities, museums, national laboratories, private research institutes, businesses and foundations. (more…)

Fla. Museum scientist wins $865,000 NSF CAREER Award for genetic plant research

January 7th, 2010

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Nico Cellinese, assistant curator of the Florida Museum of Natural History herbarium and informatics, has received a prestigious $865,000 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation.

The grant will support Cellinese’s research on genetic diversity in the flowering plant group Campanulaceae, also known as the bellflower family, in the Eastern Mediterranean Basin, especially on islands in the Aegean Sea. The five-year award totals $865,251 and begins March 1, 2010.

The plant sample she will study includes about 200 species confined to extremely localized places, said Cellinese, who is also a University of Florida assistant professor in biology. These endemic species raise interesting questions about their evolutionary origins and why they are found only on islands in the Aegean archipelago. (more…)

Florida Museum announces ButterflyFest photo contest winners

October 26th, 2009

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Lisa Britz and Bridget Lanier won first place awards in the Florida Museum of Natural History’s inaugural ButterflyFest Pollinator Photography Contest. Britz, of Lee’s Summit, Mo., won the adult category for her photo “Pollen Plunge.” Lanier, of Bradenton, captured the top spot in the junior category for “A Buzzy Pollinator.”

The Florida Museum announced the winners Oct. 24 during an awards presentation at this year’s ButterflyFest. The museum will display the winning photographs in the Central Gallery through Nov. 30 and online on the ButterflyFest web site, www.flmnh.ufl.edu/butterflyfest/photo_contest.htm. The Gainesville Sun also published the winning photographs in the newspaper Oct. 25 as part of its Gainesville.com sponsorship of the contest.

Nearly 90 photographers from Florida and other states submitted more than 200 entries in the competition. (more…)

Museum researcher receives $900,000 grant for worldwide human lice study

September 14th, 2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History mammalogist David Reed has received a $900,000 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award to study the evolutionary biology of human lice.

Reed, an associate curator of mammalogy at the Florida Museum, will use the five-year, $934,498 grant to trace the evolutionary history of lice, and he hopes the study will shed light on human migration, development and evolution.

“Parasitic lice have evolved alongside, but much faster than their human hosts,” Reed said. “The lice have given researchers a more detailed look at the process of species migration and evolution.”

The study also will analyze genetic similarities between the evolution of lice and humans as they have evolved over time. Reed said human and chimpanzee lice branched from a single evolutionary line at about the same time their hosts did and the study will use DNA sequencing data to more closely examine other similarities between the two types of lice. (more…)

Fla. Museum graduate student receives NSF research fellowship award

August 31st, 2009

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History graduate student Maribeth Latvis recently received a 2009 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

The award is given to exceptional students working in science, technology, engineering and research fields. Recipients receive a three-year annual stipend of $30,000, $10,500 for tuition and fees and $1,000 for travel.

Latvis is a Ph.D. student researching the systematics of the flowering plant genus Agalinis and its migration patterns between North and South America. The plants are hemiparasitic, meaning they steal water and nutrients from other plants but are still able to make their own food. Latvis is exploring the patterns of genetic changes over time including geographic and environmental data.

“I was surprised and humbled when I got the news that I had received an award,” said Latvis, who is supervised by Doug Soltis, chair of the University of Florida’s Botany department, and Pamela Soltis, Florida Museum curator of molecular systematics and evolutionary genetics. (more…)

Fla. Museum graduate student receives NSF research fellowship award

July 8th, 2009

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History graduate student Jessica Oswald recently received a 2009 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

The award is given to exceptional students working in science, technology, engineering and research fields. Recipients receive a three-year annual stipend of $30,000, a $10,500 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees and a $1,000 travel allowance.

Oswald is a Ph.D. candidate researching the ecology of birds found in tropical dry forests in northwestern Peru, including comparing the distribution of species today with 14,000-year-old fossils from the Late Pleistocene. Human development is endangering the forests in Peru and other Latin America countries. She seeks to understand how the diversity of birds has changed over time and how studying these changes can help predict future distributions of these species. (more…)

Fla. Museum scientist receives UF assistant professor excellence award

May 20th, 2009

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History Assistant Curator of Lepidoptera Keith Willmott recently received the 2009 Jack Wessel Excellence Award for Assistant Professors.

The award, given to 10 individuals at the University of Florida, recognizes outstanding achievements and the potential for future accomplishments by assistant professors. The provost selected the winners from those nominated by their college or unit. Each winner will receive a one-time award of $5,000 to fund his or her research.

“I was honored that the department chose to nominate me,” Willmott said. “It’s particularly gratifying to see that the value of the work done at our world-class museum is recognized at the university level.” (more…)

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