News & Announcements

OEB Science Café Videos


OEB Science Cafe continues to go strong, as OEB's signature outreach activity.  Amherst Media has filmed and edited some of our recent café events; the links are posted here:   So check ‘em out, in case you missed them the first time or just want to relive the magic!

Laura Hancock Awarded UMass Graduate School Pre-dissertation Research Grant

Laura Hancock Field Work Photo

Laura Hancock was recently awarded a $995 UMass Graduate School Pre-dissertation Research Grant to help cover travel costs and lodging for her preliminary field work this summer. Laura is planning on working with Leptonycteris yerbabuenae (lesser long-nosed bats) and other bat species in the desert southwest to better understand their foraging behavior and how possible species interactions might alter pollination of native  plants. Laura is a PhD student in the Stinson and Podos labs.

Laura Hancock: Recent Publication and Conference Presentations

Laura Hancock Field Work Photo

Laura Hancock, along with her adviser, Kristina Stinson, and other collaborators, recently published work looking at how different ecotypes of the allergenic plant common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) respond to elevated levels of CO2. The paper was published in  June 2016 in Oecologia and is titled "Northern ragweed ecotypes flower earlier and longer in response to elevated CO2: what are you sneezing at?"

Laura recently presented preliminary data from her master's thesis at two conferences, the Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting and Botany 2016. Her presentations were about long-term metapopulation dynamics of the invasive plant garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) across a forest microhabitat gradient.


William Rodriguez-Reillo Awarded DOE Fellowship

Wiilliam Rodriguez awarded DOE fellowship image

William Rodriguez-Reillo has been awarded a DOE fellowship in the Science Graduate Student Research Program.  He will be conducting his fellowship at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories in Washington, for his project "Integration of high resolution soil chemical data and metatranscriptomics to determine the molecular mechanisms underlying ecosystem responses to long-term soil warming."

Michael Griego receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Congratulations to OEB student Michael Griego, who has been awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship by the National Science Foundation.  The title of Michael’s project is “Body composition and comparative refueling performance during avian migration.”

OEB Science Café awarded funds through the NSF GRFP Learning Community Outreach Grant Program

photo of oeb science cafe group

OEB Science Café is going strong!  The group was recently awarded funds through the NSF GRFP Learning Community Outreach Grant Program.  Science Café was started by a group of OEB graduate students in 2011 with the goal of promoting direct interactions and conversations between the public and scientists. Our events are aimed at an adult audience of nonscientists from the broader community.  Since its inception, the group has brought over 45 programs to the local community, serving an estimated 1,500 audience members. The funds from NSF through the Graduate School will  help jump-start new initiatives including opportunities to share programming more broadly through collaboration with the That’s Life Science graduate student blog and through more focused efforts on broadcasting Cafés and video shorts.  To learn more, check out the websites for Science Cafe and That’s Life [Science]

Patricia Brennan's research is featured in Science Magazine videos:

Episode webpage:

Youtube links:

XX Files : Animalia genitalia : Patty Brennan :

XX Files : Animalia genitalia : Duck surprise [CLIP] :

XX Files : Animalia genitalia : My science is basic science [CLIP]

XX Files : Animalia genitalia : Diversity in science [CLIP] :

Andrew Smith Dissertation Defense

1:00 PM
Friday, January 20, 2017
209 French Hall
Dissertation Title: The role of phenotypic integration in mammalian tooth function and jaw morphological diversity
PI: Betsy Dumont

Search For Darwin Fellow Is Underway

The Graduate Program in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at University of Massachusetts Amherst announces a two-year postdoctoral FELLOWSHIP/lectureship. OEB draws together more than 90 faculty from the Five Colleges (University of Massachusetts Amherst and Smith, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Amherst Colleges), offering unique training and research opportunities in the fields of ecology, organismic and evolutionary biology. Our research/lecture position provides recent PhD's an opportunity for independent research with an OEB faculty sponsor, as well as experience mentoring graduate students and teaching a one-semester undergraduate biology course. To be qualified, a candidate must have a recent PhD in a field relevant to ecology, organismic or evolutionary biology and proven teaching skills. Position subject to availability of funds. Read more...

Amy Strauss Awarded Graduate School Dissertation Research Grant

Amy Strauss was awarded a Graduate School Dissertation Research Grant to support her work on song learning in birds. Amy's research explores how certain social and acoustic factors affect the song development process in juvenile male songbirds. During the summer of 2016, she hand-reared wild-caught males in the lab and controlled their acoustic environment throughout the sensitive song learning phase. She presented audio & video stimuli to simulate different acoustic and interactive contexts the birds may encounter in the wild.To understand how these different contexts influence song development, she will use this grant funding to obtain high-quality recordings of the lab males once their songs are crystallized, and perform acoustic analysis to determine song learning outcomes. This research will provide insight into the developmental mechanisms underlying individual variation in bird song learning. Amy is an OEB PhD candidate in the Podos Lab.