This summer I've started a new project: a textbook to be entitled "Interconnections: a case study in integrative biology." This comes out of the course I teach on Integrative Biology. The goal of the course is to show how all of the many subdisciplines of biology, from molecular biology to ecology, all fit together in the context of a single subject. My subject is malaria. Beyond biology, though, I like to weave in topics from statistics, history, politics, economics, and even bioethics. The course is lots of fun to teach because there's always something new and important that pops up in the news every semester. I learn a lot trying to keep up, and students appreciate the real-world importance of the subject. I hope to use the new book in Autumn 2021.

Dragonflies and Damselflies of Ohio

At the end of June we complete the 3-year run of a project to document the Odonata of Ohio. There are several species that are officially listed as threatened or endangered, and for that reason the project was funded by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Most of the work was done by MaLisa Spring who coordinated the effort of surveyors across the state, gave innumerable training and outreach talks, and was even able to get out and look for odonates now and again herself. The goal, delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, is to publish a book on these charismatic beasts, with plenty of photos and information on their biology. Thanks to John Navarro of ODNR for his support in this endeavor.

Eastern Pondhawk

New Genomic Resources

We have a couple of new web-accessible resources for platygastroid genomics. First, there is a new JBrowse site with the genome of Trissolcus basalis. To browse through the genome, click on this LINK. Second, we've set up a SequenceServer page HERE. On this site we have set up BLAST databases for more than three dozen species of Platygastroidea. Our goal is to use this to trace how important gene families have evolved in these wasps.

Screen capture of Trissolcus basalis genome in JBrowse

Chemosensory Receptor Paper Accepted!

Great news today: our paper on the chemosensensory receptors found in the genome and transcriptomes of Trissolcus basalis was accepted for publication in Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part D: Genomics and Proteomics! The coauthors are Huayan Chen, Zach Lahey, Elijah Talamas, and Norm Johnson. This is, we hope, the first step in linking basic sensory physiology with the chemical ecology, host selection, and diversification in platygastroid wasps.