The Yoder Lab is officially NSF-funded!

Black Rock Canyon, Joshua Tree National Park

I’m delighted to finally, officially announce that the lab has received funding from the National Science Foundation — for a big, collaborative endeavor we’ve been calling the Joshua Tree Genome Project. Collaborative grants to us here at CSUN and to Chris Smith’s lab at Willamette University, with subawards to collaborators at USGS and the Universities of Alabama and Hawai’i Mānoa will support four years of experiments, fieldwork, and genomic analysis to learn how Joshua trees cope with climate extremes, how their populations might adapt to climate change, and how adaptation to climate has affected the tree’s coevolution with their hyper-specialized pollinators.

Among the big practical outcomes of this funding, for the Yoder Lab, are support for graduate student research stipends and undergraduate research assistants, as well as two years of support for a postdoctoral researcher. The postdoc position will be, I think, exceptionally well suited as a starting point for competitive applications to opportunities like the Smith Fellowship as well — I will be working to start the formal job-search and hiring process this fall, so keep an eye out.

The Yoder Lab at #Evol2019 — where to catch us in Providence this June

(Flickr: Taber Andrew Bain)

The Yoder Lab’s very first group conference will be the Evolution 2019 meeting in Providence, Rhode Island this June. Multiple lab members will be presenting posters with results from fieldwork with Joshua tree and its pollinators, our contribution to the GLUE Project, and some exciting new pollination ecology, among other topics.

I’m particularly excited to be organizing a Spotlight Session for the American Society of Naturalists, on the general topic of mutualisms and how they respond to changing environmental contexts. "Origins, stability, and benefits of interspecific cooperation in a changing world" will take place the afternoon of Sunday, June 23, with nine speakers presenting research on mutualism in study systems as varied as duckweed, leaf-cutter ants, and pure mathematical theory. The full lineup will be

Time Speaker Title
14:30 Jeremy B. Yoder Floral symmetry and the structure of pollination networks
14:45 Sarah Richman Can nectar chemistry alleviate pesticide toxicity in bees?
15:00 Hannah Lindgren What makes a good partner? – Genetic underpinnings of partner quality variation in the model legume-rhizobium mutualism
15:15 Justine Garcia Do symbionts benefit from symbiosis?: fitness of facultative symbionts in host and non-host environments under different contexts
15:45 Coffee Break
16:15 Alexandra Brown The evolution of transmission mode in variable environments
16:30 Liana Burghardt Testing the environment dependence of fitness alignment in the legume-rhizobia symbiosis
16:45 Jason Laurich Mutualism and adaptation in the Lemna minor microbiome
17:00 Lily Khadempour Ant farmers and their fungal crop: coevolution in an ancient agricultural system
17:15 Holly Moeller When bad partners do good: Maintenance of partner quality variation in multispecies mutualism