Mathias Symposium 2012

Bodega Marine Laboratory/Reserve
February 26-28, 2010

2012 Lecturers

Patricia A. Holden

Patricia A. Holden
Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, UC Santa Barbara
PhD UC Berkeley

Microbes are the most abundant and metabolically diverse life forms on Earth. They catalyze most nutrient cycling reactions, including pollutant biodegradation; some also cause disease in humans, and thus are public health concerns. My research regards microbes in the environment: where are they, what do they do, and what controls their processes? Our work spans the dual roles of microbes, i.e. as either transformation agents or as contaminants, with a substantial focus on bacteria.

Patrick O'Grady

Patrick O’Grady
Associate Professor
Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley
PhD University of Arizona

My work takes advantage of the spectacular diversity of Drosophilidae present in the Hawaiian Islands and a wealth of genomic tools available in the genus Drosophila to understand how species form and persist through evolutionary time. These questions are becoming especially critical now that we are facing a global biodiversity crisis and species are disappearing at an unprecedented rate. Comprehensive taxonomic revisions provide a framework that my laboratory employs to examine phylogenetic and biogeographic patterns in the Hawaiian Drosophilidae, including both historical patterns across older lineages and within recently divergent species. The combination of the two approaches yields a highly detailed view of evolutionary change at the point of species formation while providing the historical context in which species are forming.

Chelsea Specht

Chelsea Specht
Associate Professor
Plant Biology, UC Berkeley
PhD New York University

The evolution and diversification of plants is characterized by a continuous origin of morphological and biochemical novelties that underlie an astounding richness of species diversity. My research focuses on investigating the genetic and genomic processes that drive plant diversification, particularly relating to the evolution of innovations in plant form and function. Our models include floral developmental evolution in the tropical gingers (Zingiberales), the gain and loss of carnivory in the Caryophyllales (flytraps, Nepenthes, sundews), and the evolution of thermogenesis associated with cycad pollination.