Upcoming Fall 2022 Seminars

Seminars will be on the Fridays listed below during the Fall semester, from 3-4 pm in the Mitchell Center.

If you are unable to attend in person, but would like to attend via Zoom, please contact Peg at peggy.killian@maine.edu for Zoom info. 

If you are unable to attend but would like to view a recording if one is available, please also reach out to Peg.

October 7

Jeff TomberlinJeff Tomberlin, Texas A&M

Diversifying Agriculture, Protecting the Environment, Stabilizing Economies: The Story of the Black Soldier Fly

Dr. Jeffery K. Tomberlin is a Professor, AgriLife Research Fellow, & Presidential Impact Fellow in the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University. He is the principal investigator of the Forensic Laboratory for Investigative Entomological Sciences (F.L.I.E.S.) Facility (forensicentomology.tamu.edu) at Texas A&M University, and he is the Director of the National Science Foundation Center for Environmental Sustainability through Insect Farming.

Dr. Tomberlin’s research in the F.L.I.E.S. Facility examines species interactions on ephemeral resources such as vertebrate carrion, decomposing plant material and animal wastes in order to better understand the mechanisms regulating arthropod behavior as related to arrival, colonization and succession patterns. The goals of his program are numerous; however, a major focus of his research is on forensic entomology as well as waste management in confined animal facilities as well as concerns with food waste being placed in landfills. His research efforts for the past 27 years have been developing methods for the production of alternate protein sources for use as livestock, poultry and aquaculture feed from these resources.  Predominately, these efforts have been accomplished through his research with the black soldier fly. Since arriving at Texas A&M University in 2002, 19 Ph.D. and 21 M.S. students have completed their degrees under his supervision. To date, he has edited 8 books, published 28 book chapters, and +200 research articles which have been cited more than 14,000 times. Through his efforts, he was recently recognized as a Fellow by the Entomological Society of America.

hosted by Andrei Alyokhin

October 14

Lewis Bartlett, University of Georgia

Integrating across ecology and evolution to better understand honey bee disease.

Lewis Bartlett

Managed honey bees remain an embattled part of US agriculture and a topic of public and political concern, threatened by a pernicious combination of pesticides, parasites, and poor quality forage. Understanding the myriad behaviors, evolutionary histories, and ecological interactions that bees and their associated species exhibit is a long-term goal of ‘solving’ the current beekeeping and pollination problem. How can we apply ecological and evolutionary theory to improve bee health, and what fundamental hypotheses can we test while doing so?
Dr Lewis Bartlett is a newly appointed faculty research scientist at the University of Georgia, joint with the Department of Entomology and Center for the Ecology of Infectious Diseases in the Odum School of Ecology. His work over the last decade of graduate and postdoctoral research has mostly focused on the ecology and evolution of parasites and their hosts, with particular application to managed honey bees. His newly founded lab focusses on the evolved defenses of insects to their pathogens and parasites, evolutionary answers to pest and parasite control, and the adaptation of viruses to changes in the transmission ecology such as opportunistic vectoring or host population spatial structure changes; all of these topics centre managed honey bees and their associated species as applied model systems for answering fundamental EEID questions and simultaneous application of ecological and evolutionary theory in agricultural problem solving.

hosted by Jacquelyn Gill

October 21

Julia McGuire and Rachel Fowler, University of Maine

BIO 100: Implementing the science of teaching and learning

October 28

Xiangtao Xu, Cornell University

Critical dimensions of plant functional diversity that shape tropical forest structure and dynamics

hosted by John Zhang

November 4

Anne Parle-McDermott, Dublin City University

Applying molecular genetics expertise to biosensing questions

hosted by Mike Kinnison

November 11 - no seminar (Veterans' Day)

November 18

Sara BrancoSara Branco – University of Colorado Denver

The genetic basis of fungal adaptation

Dr. Branco studies the ecology and evolution of fungi with the goal of understanding the ecological factors that generate and maintain fungal diversity. Specifically, the Branco Lab uses a combination of field, laboratory and computational approaches to investigate how fungi colonize and persist in the environment. 

Dr. Sara Branco completed her Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Chicago as a Fulbright scholar, was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of California, Berkeley and a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Paris. She has been studying fungi since she was 16 years old and earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Lisbon (Portugal). Currently Dr. Branco is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Integrative Biology at University of Colorado Denver.

hosted by Erin Grey

November 25 - no seminar (Thanksgiving Break)

December 2

Phoebe Cohen, Williams College

The earliest history of eukaryotes: integrating biological and geological data

hosted by Jacquelyn Gill

December 9

Zhao Xuan and Víctor Ortega-Jiménez, University of Maine

New Faculty Lightning Talks

Previous Fall 2022 Seminars

September 2

Andrew LoverAndrew Lover, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Targeting highest-risk populations for sustainable public health entomology: studies from Vietnam and Western Massachusetts

This talk will focus on two sets of studies of vector-borne infections: The first will discuss the ZAIVE trial (Zooprophylaxis-aided ivermectin-based vector elimination) which assessed the use of ivermectin (a broad-spectrum antiparasitic drug) for anopheline vector control by mass treatment of cattle. A combination of insectary studies and a communityrandomized trial were used together, to address residual malaria transmission in central Vietnam. The second section will discuss an on-going NIH funded study using GPS data loggers in Western Massachusetts to identify and quantify specific geographic locations where the majority of human-tick interactions may occur to allow for targeted and impactful health programs.

Dr. Lover is an assistant professor of epidemiology, in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, at University of Massachusetts- Amherst. His research over the last decade has focused on a broad range of public health programming for infectious disease control and elimination. This has largely focused on understanding and targeting the human ecology of vector-borne diseases.

Hosted by Allie Gardner

September 9

Isaac Overcast holding a birdIsaac Overcast, University of Maine

Seminar will be at the Mitchell Center with Dr. Overcast speaking remotely. Attend in person or email peggy.killian@maine.edu for the Zoom link info:

Community Biodiversity Genetics: Investigating the past and predicting the future using community-scale DNA sequence data

While physicists strive for a grand unified theory and develop models which account for all known processes, ecological and evolutionary models tend to focus on isolated patterns generated by a subset of relevant processes. Consequently, the factors responsible for shaping broad-scale biodiversity patterns (species richness, genetic variation, and phylogenetic diversity) in ecological communities are largely unknown. Unlocking these complex and dynamic patterns requires the development of theory and models which account for the hierarchical nature of biological organization and the reciprocal feedback across scales. Dr. Overcast will discuss ongoing work to develop such unified biodiversity models, and will present applications of these models to infer process from patterns of multi-dimensional biodiversity data (e.g. metabarcoding data).

Dr Overcast is a postdoctoral researcher in the EcoEvoMatics Lab with Dr Andy Rominger in the School of Biology and Ecology at the University of Maine. His research involves developing multi-scale computational models to investigate the accumulation of biodiversity in ecological communities that integrate over multiple levels of biological organization, including species abundances, genetic diversities, and phylogenetic relationships.

hosted by Andy Rominger

September 16 - no seminar (SBE picnic)

September 23

Mark MoffettMark Moffett, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Living with Strangers: How anonymity makes huge societies possible in humans and a few other animals.

An essential feature of any society is the capacity of its members to distinguish one another from outsiders and reject foreigners on that basis. In most species that live in societies, the members must recognize each other as individuals. Dr. Moffett contrasts such societies with those of humans and a few other animals in which membership can be anonymous, a condition that makes it possible for a society, when conditions are suitable, to grow enormous. How and why anonymous societies emerged in our ancestors remains a question of significance to biology, anthropology, sociology, and psychology.

Dr. Mark W. Moffett’s research focuses on the life and death of societies in humans and other animals. 

co-hosted by Erin Grey (SBE) and Paul Roscoe (Anthropology)

September 30

Ramesh LaunganiRamesh Laungani, Poly Prep Country Day School 

Middle School is the worst…and best training for a scientist: Why SciComm should be part of SciEd

This talk will focus on the importance of Science Communication to the public, approaches to effective SciComm, and how SciComm can be incorporated into the classroom at both the college and high school level.

Dr. Laungani loves getting students excited about exploring science through experiments & is passionate about training students to be great science communicators and both of these are key aspects of his classes.

hosted by Jacquelyn Gill