We work to discover, describe, and understand the diversity of invertebrate animal life. Our main focus is documenting new species of arachnids from the beautiful forests of New Zealand and testing hypotheses about their evolutionary history. We recently wrapped up several years of work in the Australian Wet Tropics; you can read about our adventures Down Under here, here, and here. We also work on the ecology and evolution of local Minnesota daddy long-legs and freshwater mussels. Our research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, and the National Park Service. Check us out on Instagram at #boyerlabmacalester!
News from the Boyer Lab
- It's been a quiet summer as we are continuing to work remotely. Yoonjin Shu '21 has taken on the task of fully organizing and updating our database of every New Zealand mite harvestmen ever collected, and Shannon Dohr '21 is assembling a manuscript that will describe two new species, with help from coauthors Yoonjin, Maddie Tuffield '20, Ciara Moore '21, Kata Hahn '20, Rainah Ward '19, and Rina Morisawa '20. It's not the same as a busy summer together in the lab, but it's great to see progress on the projects supported by our current National Science Foundation grant.
- Congratulations to senior members of the lab on graduating from Macalester - and on cleaning up during awards season! Maddie Tuffield, Rina Morisawa, and Phuong Nguyen all took home prizes for their outstanding work the Biology Department. We are so proud to see you graduate, and we will miss you!
- I was very touched and gratified to receive an Accomplice Award, which recognizes Macalester faculty and staff who have provided instrumental support to LGBTQIA+ students graduating in 2020.
- In Spring 2020, students enrolled in a research methods course housed in the Boyer Lab had to get creative to complete projects remotely. To my delight, the team forged ahead with analysis of next-generation datasets, a big inventory of scanning electron micrographs, and a mapping project! I was so impressed with everyone's tenacity and enthusiasm during one of the hardest and weirdest semesters any of us has experienced.
- Rina Morisawa defended her senior honors thesis in April, over Zoom! While it was a big departure from our usual format, it was great to be joined by our collaborators at Harvard, Boyer Lab alumni on both coasts of the United States, and Rina's family in Japan. Next up, Rina is moving to DC to work as technician in the Smithsonian's LAB.
- Lab members Kata Hahn '20, Maddie Tuffield '20, and Shannon Dohr '21 took home an honorable mention in the student poster competition at the January 2020 meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in Austin, Texas! They presented molecular and morphological data on two newly-discovered species of mite harvestmen from New Zealand. Nice job, team! Rina Morisawa '20 also presented her work, and alum Pietro Tardelli Canedo '19 was able to take a few days away from his tech job in the Smithsonian's LAB to present research he did in our lab for his senior honors thesis. We enjoyed seeing some excellent talks, hanging out with lab alum Caitlin Baker '12 and other collaborators, visiting the entomology collection at UT Austin, and taking in a late-night drag show.
- This fall I was honored to receive one of Macalester's Trustees' Awards, recognizing my contributions in the areas of scholarship, service, and teaching during the 2018 calendar year.
- We have been engaging in personnel exchanges with our collaborators in the Giribet Lab at Harvard University. In April Gonzalo and PhD student Caitlin Baker (Macalester class of 2012) visited the Boyer Lab, and in May and September we enjoyed hosting postdoc Shahan Derkarabetian. In addition, Macalester senior honors student Rina Morisawa '20 headed to the Giribet Lab for a week at the end of the summer to work towards generating sequence data from New Zealand mite harvestmen using a UCE (ultra-conserved elements) approach.