We work to discover, describe, and understand the diversity of invertebrate animal life. For the past several years we have been documenting new species of arachnids from the rainforests of the Australian Wet Tropics and testing hypotheses about their evolutionary history. Many Macalester undergraduates have traveled to this beautiful corner of the world (pictured above) as part of this project; you can read about some of their adventures here, here, and here. We also work on the ecology and evolution of local Minnesota daddy long-legs, as well as local freshwater mussels. Our research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, and the National Park Service.
News from the Boyer Lab
- The final paper on our work in Australia has just been published in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. Jill Oberski '16 is the first author, four other Boyer Lab alums are coauthors on this work, and we acknowledge the contribution of the many other Macalester students who have been involved. This is the culmination of many years of work, so we are very gratified to have it out at last!
- We are very excited to share a new paper based on the honors thesis work of Penny Kahn '17. We found evidence for convergent evolution of nuptial gift chemistry associated with convergence in genital morphology in leiobunine harvestmen, commonly known as daddy long-legs. This project was the brainchild of Mercedes Burns (Macalester '06) and was carried out in collaboration with Macalester chemist Dennis Cao.
- We have a new paper out on mating behavior in daddy long-legs! Students Raine Ikagawa, Penny Kahn, and Eva Larsen (all Macalester class of '17) worked with our collaborator Kasey Fowler-Finn to expand our knowledge of basic reproductive biology in these familiar but under-studied animals. Videotaping harvestmen mating was a lot of fun - the jokes wrote themselves every day.
- Pietro Tardelli Canedo '19 and I traveled to the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology in early May to meet with our collaborators on our new project about biogeography of New Zealand Opiliones. In the slideshow above you will see Pietro and me hanging out with Gonzalo Giribet and Caitlin Baker '12, a Boyer Lab alum who is currently a PhD student in the Giribet Lab.
- New members joining the lab in Summer 2018 are Eliza Pessereau '19, Pietro Tardelli Canedo '19, and Rina Morisawa '20! We will also be hosting four members of the class of 2021 through Macalester's 3M Young Researchers program: Robert Anigbogu, Kai Bosley, Abby Dillon, and Lily Neuleib-Madden. So far, we are off to a great start!
- Our grant proposal on diversity and biogeography of the harvestmen of New Zealand has been funded by the National Science Foundation! We will be working with Gonzalo Giribet, Gustavo Hormiga, and folks from the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa to map and describe the Opiliones of New Zealand and test hypotheses about their evolutionary history.
- I was gratified to hear that I'm being promoted to full professor! Two other Macalester bio profs were promoted the same morning, so we had a departmental celebration with pre-lunch cake and champagne. Good times!