I am grateful and elated to have successfully defended my PhD dissertation! If you'd like to check it out, it is available here. I'm going to be spending my summer as a postdoctoral researcher in the Rieseberg lab, wrapping up some projects and writing them up for publication.
I'm waiting for final committee approval before submitting my thesis to an external examiner, so I made this silly sunflower-seed-shaped word cloud from all of the non-methods parts of the document. Next time someone asks me what my thesis is about, I'll just send them this.
I just got back from the Evolution 2014 meetings in Raleigh, North Carolina! It was a blast, full of great conversations and fascinating research. I was especially impressed by talks by Peter Andolfatto, Katie Lotterhos, Mark Rausher, John Weins, Molly Schumer, and Young Wha Lee. I also quite enjoyed the American Society of Naturalists' VP Symposium on Modern Approaches to Local Adaptation, organized by UBC's own Mike Whitlock.
I also talked about my research on the new California sunflower, Helianthus winteri. It was even recorded by a volunteer! The volunteer missed the first few minutes of my talk, so if you decide to watch it, a quick recap of my introduction is below the fold.
We have been working on a two enzyme protocol for preparing genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) libraries for sunflowers, starting by modifying the approach taken by Poland et al. 2012. I recently got our first set of sequence data back for two of these libraries, and compared the data to previous GBS libraries using PstI alone. My initial analysis is here. Contact me if you are interested in our protocol!
Over at Rieseberg Lab Resources, I describe a new protocol that has practically saved my PhD, by allowing me to extract moderate quantities of clean, unsheared DNA from freeze-dried Helianthus argophyllus leaves.