Fall 2014-Summer 2015 News main content.

RGGS News: Fall '14 / Summer '15

Fall 2014 Notable RGGS Comparative Biology Ph.D. Student and Alumni Achievements

Read about our 2014 Ph.D. Graduates:
Alejandro Grajales - Ansel Payne - Pedro Peloso - Dawn Roje

Daniel Barta co-authored, with Dr. David Varricchio (Montana State University), a paper entitled “Revisiting Sabath’s ‘Larger Avian Eggs’ from the Gobi Cretaceous,” which was selected as one of the inaugural “Editors’ Choice” papers in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. The full citation is Varricchio, D. J., and Barta, D. E. 2015. Revisiting Sabath’s “Larger Avian Eggs” from the Gobi Cretaceous. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 60(1): 11–25.

Eugenia Gold was presented with the Dawson Award for Predoctoral Research at the annual Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) Conference in Berlin in November.

Amber Paasch’s presentation won “Best Talk” in the Ecology and Evolution division at the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), held in Los Angeles in October.

Bernardo Santos was awarded an Annette Kade Fellowship to visit the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle (Paris, France) and Zoologische Staatssammlung Munch (Munich, Germany) to continue his study of the lineage of crytpine wasps. He was also awarded a mini-ARTS grant from the Society of Systematic Biologists for his project "Building long-term infrastructure for the phylogeny and taxonomy of cryptine wasps (Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae, Cryptini).

Michael Tessler was featured alongside his Advisor Dr. Mark Siddall in a Science Friday video, True BloodSuckers – Leeches in October.

Carly Tribull received “Best Student Presentation” recognition at the International Society of Hymenopterists’ conference in Portland, Oregon in November. She also received a Travel Award from the Young Natural Historians Society for their winter meeting in Paris, France.

2014 Graduate Alejandro Garajales was appointed as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the AMNH Sackler Institute of Comparative Genomics.

2014 Graduate Ansel Payne was hired as a Program Assistant at the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia.

2014 Graduate Pedro Peloso earned a “Science without Borders” Postdoctoral Fellowship in Brazil; his discovery of a new "bat frog" in the Amazon was featured in November in National Geographic’s online News edition.

2014 Graduate Dawn Roje was hired as a Science Teacher at the Spence School in New York City.

2013 Graduate Isabelle Vea’s Post-Doctoral Fellowship with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science was extended from a one-year appointment to three years. She is working at Nagoya University.

2013 Graduate Shaena Montanari received the prestigious Newton International Fellowship. The Newton International Fellowship program, run by The British Academy and the Royal Society, provides two years of support for early stage post-doctoral researchers from all over the world to work at UK research institutions. Shaena will be based at the University of Edinburgh.

Led by Dr. Jeffrey Kidder, the Black Rock Forest’s Consortium’s education director, a team of scientists and teachers from member institutions and Consortium staff is developing a herpetology curriculum that can be used both at the Forest and in schools. Dr. Christopher Raxworthy of the American Museum of Natural History is the science consultant; Drs. Antonia Florio and Bryan Falk, 2013 Graduates of the Museum’s Gilder Graduate School, are leading the development of activities and experiments; teachers are advising on the grade utility and appropriateness. Dr. Falk taught already taught a mini-course at the Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science using the curriculum.

Congratulations to RGGS postdoctoral fellow Adam Watson- he and a team of fellow researchers have this important paper on social complexity in Chaco Canyon, just out now from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

AMNH Silvia Pavan ASM Shadle Award from President Eileen Lacey 6-16-15

CUNY EEB–AMNH RGGS Fellow Silvia Pavan was awarded the 2015 Albert R. and Alma Shadle Award at 95th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists. The Albert R. and Alma Shadle Fellowship is awarded to a graduate student in recognition of current accomplishments in Mammalogy and future potential.  (Image: Silvia receiving the award from American Society of Mammalogists President Eileen Lacey of Berkeley at the awards banquet on June 16, 2015)

Daniel Barta interviewed by Vocativ: Here’s The Real Science Behind Jurassic World

Daniel Barta interviewed by MTV News: How Accurate Is Jurassic World?

Aki Watanabe and the Mets

On May 20, 2015 the American Museum of Natural History gave a special tour to a group of New York City middle school students as part of the New York Mets community initiative,Amazin’ City, which is being launched at the Museum. As part of the initiative, students get to go behind the scenes at different New York City landmarks and cultural institutions throughout the baseball season. Students from Leonardo da Vinci Intermediate School in Corona, Queens, along with NY Mets player Jeurys Familia, and Deputy Borough President Joe Garba, learned about dinosaurs from Museum RGGS Ph.D. student and paleontologist Aki Watanabe. They explored the Museum’s Saurischian and Ornithischian dinosaur halls and went behind the scenes in the “Big Bone Room” which houses some of the largest and heaviest items in the Museum’s paleontology collection.

Spring 2015 Notable RGGS Comparative Biology Ph.D. Student and Alumni Achievements

Aki Watanaba awarded the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Dawson Grant. The Mary R. Dawson Predoctoral Fellowship Grant recognizes and supports graduate student research excellence. This award recognizes research excellence and promote a successful career in Vertebrate Paleontology by supporting the recipient’s dissertation research travel, data collection and analyses. The grant will be awarded in association with the 2015 SVP Annual Conference to be held in Dallas, TX, October 14‐17, 2015

Amber Paasch received a 2015 Botanical Society of America Graduate Student Research Award.

Daniel Barta received a student travel grant for the 3rd International Symposium on Paleohistology to be held at the University of Bonn in Bonn, Germany, from July 2nd to July 5th, 2015; there he received an honorable mention in the Student Oral Presentation Prize Competition for his talk, “The first dinosaur eggs from a new vertebrate locality in the Upper Cretaceous Sebeş Formation, Romania.” Daniel also received a grant from the Geological Society of America.

Allison Bronson received a research grant from the Geological Society of American for her proposal "Addressing shark origins: A rich fossil biota from the Mississippian Fayetteville Shale of Arkansas".

Zachary Calamari received a grant from the Geological Society of America, as well as Honorable Mention for his GRFP (Graduate Research Fellowship Program) proposal to the NSF for "Weapons and Wooing: Evolution of Cranial Appendage Diversity in Hoofed Mammals”.

Spencer Galen received an Expedition Fund Grant from The Explorer’s Club for "A taste for blood: using genetics to understand malaria parasite distributions in a changing world.” He, along with a group of researchers, also received a grant from Explore 21 to visit Cuba in fall 2015 for the research project "Biodiversity Surveys in Poorly Explored Regions of Cuba: Developing New Research Collections and Collaborations."

Eugenia Gold and Aki Watanabe became senior participants in an NSF Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) Research Grant. Aki Watanabe also received the Dawson Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Grant from the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Amber Paasch was accepted into the competitive High-Throughput Biology and Data Analysis workshop at the New York Genome Center. She also received an AMNH-Lerner Gray Grant for her work on the North Atlantic oceanic transect between Bermuda and Puerto Rico, and was one of 20 students across the U.S. to receive a Botanical Society of American Graduate Student Research Award, for her proposal "Characterization of a Unique Method of Bacteria Ingestion in Green Algae by Fluorescence and Electron Microscopy”.

Bernardo Santos and Carly Tribull each received NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants. 

Bernardo Santos received a grant from the Linnean Society of London to attend the Systematics Association Biennial in August at the University of Oxford where he will present his paper, Evolution of convergent functional systems in a speciose clade of parasitic wasps (Ichneumonidae, Cryptinae); he has also become editor for Ichneumonoidea at the journal ZooKeys. 

Michael Tessler received an Expedition Fund Grant from The Explorers Club for his spring field work in Valdivia, Chile to study anticoagulant evolution of non-bloodfeeding leeches. He also received an AMNH-Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Grant for his study of leeches in Chiapas, Mexico.