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Policy report: “Inclusion and Advancement of LGBTQ+ People in STEM Fields”

Last May I was invited to Washington, DC, for a symposium and workshop hosted by Northwestern University’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing. Presenters in the symposium and participants in the workshop worked together to sum up the state of knowledge about lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and otherwise queer folks’ experiences in…

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Talking BARTs in Bavaria

Late last summer, Colin Carlson messaged me with an unusual proposal: He’d been invited to give a workshop on Bayesian additive regression trees and embarcadero, his package of BART-training utilities for R. The workshop would be in Germany, and Colin couldn’t make that trip. But, since our current collaboration drew heavily on embardacero, could he…

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National Parks fellowship brings postdoc Lea Richardson from Joshua trees to saguaros

Yoder Lab postdoctoral scholar Lea Richardson is taking on a new project, studying the other iconic plant of North American deserts — saguaro cactus. Dr. Richardson was recently selected for a new postdoctoral fellowship supported by the National Park Foundation, which provides three years of salary and research funding to conduct research in a National…

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Pryce Millikin earns strong external support for thesis research

Pryce Millikin, the current Master’s student in the Yoder Lab, has won not one but three external awards providing financial support for his thesis research. Pryce started in the lab last fall, and hit the ground running on a project to understand how climate variation might impact the specialized pollinators of Joshua trees, the yucca…

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New publication: An “unprecedented” map of Joshua tree populations

One of the biggest challenges for studying biodiversity is answering a seemingly simple question, where does this species live? If we know where a species occurs, we can describe the habitat that it needs, assess how large and stable its populations are, and make informed predictions about what will happen to those populations if we…

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Revive & Restore profiles the Yoder Lab’s “genomic inventory” of Joshua trees

Revive & Restore, a nonprofit devoted to supporting the application of genomic data in conservation biology, funded the Yoder Lab’s sequencing of 300 Joshua tree genomes in a “genomic inventory” of the species as part of their Wild Genomes initiative. In the spring of 2021, Yoder Lab members fanned out across the Mojave Desert to…

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WATCH: Workshopping a musical homage to Joshua trees

TREELOGY is a series of musical compositions commissioned by the Soraya, CSUN’s performing arts center, to celebrate three iconic tree species of California: coast redwoods, giant sequoias, and the Yoder Lab’s favorite, Joshua trees. TREELOGY premieres in just a few weeks, and this episode of the MusiKaravan vlog travels to Joshua Tree National Park to…

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New publication: Navigating conservation challenges in the Mojave Desert

The Mojave Desert, home to the lab’s favorite woody monocot (Joshua tree), encompasses some of the largest tracts of undeveloped land in the continental United States. That wilderness is under increasing pressure from suburban sprawl as climate change threatens to make its desert landscapes even less hospitable to the thousands of unique native plant and…

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New publication: Finding a population genetic fingerprint of coevolution

A new paper from the lab — coauthored with all three of the Yoder Lab’s graduate student alumni — is now online ahead of print in the journal Evolution Letters. In it, we analyze population genetic data from 20 pairs of plants and herbivores, parasites, and mutualists that live intimately on those plants to test for evidence that the associate species’…

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Cate MacGregor shows how Joshua tree’s super-specialized pollinators are adapted to climate, too

Master’s student Cate MacGregor successfully defended her dissertation this morning. Cate’s thesis project uses RADseq data to look for evidence of local adaptation to climate in populations of moths so specialized that we know next to nothing about their lives when they’re not on their host plant — the pollinators of Joshua trees. Working from samples…