The third paper from my dissertation is now out! This chapter investigates the phylogenetic placement of the endemic squirrels of Sulawesi. This is one of the rare groups of animals which has crossed Wallace's Line (the biogeographic break between Asian and Australian animals). We extracted and sequenced DNA from museum specimens, because although I've spent a great deal of time traveling during my dissertation, I wasn't able to go to Sulawesi. Hopefully sometime though! Check out the (open access) paper here:
After (happily) missing the majority of Omaha's winter, I am now back from Madagascar. I spent two months working with the Omaha Zoo and the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership in country, and had a truly amazing time. I was fortunate enough to travel to four different field sites, Torotorofotsy, Kianjavato, Montage de Francais and Anjiamagirana. The first two are located in eastern lowland rainforests, and the third and fourth are sites in far north, and western Madagascar. I have added a map of the approximate locations. :)
While there I was helping to coordinate a variety of different projects, spanning everything from behavioral monitoring of lemur to community outreach and even reforestation projects. I learned a great deal about managing permanent sites in developing countries, a truly monumental task. I also managed to sneak off into the forests whenever possible, and have added 20 mammal species to my life list. Highlights include:
Greater hedgehog tenrec (Setifer setosus)
Black and white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata)
Greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus)
Crowned lemur (Eulemur coronatus)
Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)
Northern Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur septentrionalis)
Tavaratra Mouse Lemur (Microcebus tavaratra)
I also observed a large number of birds, reptiles and amphibians, but the identification is harder, especially for the herps. Feel free to check out the current projects on Facebook and at the MBP website!
Pictures will be updated soon!
Missy is a geneticist, and field biologist who enjoys both observing mammals in their natural environment and combining that with DNA detective work.