The Department of Biology studies life at all levels from molecules to the biosphere to understand the evolution, structure, maintenance and dynamics of biological systems. Our teaching and research provide the integrative and conceptual foundations of the life sciences.


Location: 211 Bartram Hall
Time: Tuesdays at 3:30

Thu, Oct 02, 2014
Speaker: Stephen Liberles
Title: TBA
Host: Ache
Tue, Oct 07, 2014
Speaker: Christine Davis
Title: Liverworts, Symbiosis, and the Science of Teaching
Host: Harmon
Thu, Oct 09, 2014
Speaker: Francois Michonneau, PhD Exit Seminar
Title: More than meets the eye: revisiting species limits in sea cucumbers (Echinodermata:Holothuroidea) in the light of genetic data
Host: Gustav Paulay
Tue, Oct 14, 2014
Speaker: Anand Ray
Title: TBA
Host: Pulliam
Thu, Oct 23, 2014
Speaker: Maria Claudia Segovia Salcedo, PhD Exit Seminar
Title: New Insight Into the Evolutionary History of the Complex Andean Genus Polylepis (Rosaceae:Sanguisorbeae) and its implications for conservation and management
Host: Pam Soltis/Doug Soltis

News and Events

A Misleading Name Reduces Marketability of a Healthful and Stimulating Natural Product
In an article published online in Economic Botany, undergraduate researcher Alisha Wainwright and Francis E. Putz from the Department of Biology report the results of a taste test comparing tea brewed from a common plant native to Florida (yaupon holly) with its close relative from South America, yerba mate. Through the 1800s, yaupon was a commonly consumed beverage throughout the South, and was exported to Europe often under the trade names of “Appalachina” and “Carolina tea.” More than 1000 years ago, yaupon was an important trade good enjoyed as far north as Cahokia in what is now the state of Illinois. Today, in contrast, yaupon goes unrecognized by most tea drinkers while yerba mate imports into the USA amount to millions of dollars per year. In a “blind” taste test conducted by Wainwright as part of her senior thesis research, yaupon was preferred over yerba mate even by frequent drinkers of the latter. One reason for the disregard of yaupon was revealed by her study. Although yaupon and yerba mate are equally high in caffeine and anti-oxidants, the scientific name of yaupon (Ilex vomitoria) caused participants to be leery of buying it, even though research indicates that yaupon is no more emetic than Ceylon tea, coffee, or cola drinks. Experience yaupon tea for yourself! Leaves can be harvested from pesticide-free ornamental shrubs or from wild plants growing in forest understories throughout the South. [more...]

Wildlife corridors sometimes help invasive species spread, UF research finds
In a classic example of the law of unintended consequences, new University of Florida research suggests that wildlife corridors – strips of natural land created to reconnect habitats separated by agriculture or human activities -- can sometimes encourage the spread of invasive species such as one type of fire ant. The findings are particularly important in Florida, where invasive species are a vexing problem. The Sunshine State plays host to animals such as Cuban tree frogs, green iguanas and feral hogs. In 2013, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission even sponsored a Burmese python hunting challenge. The discovery also comes as a team of explorers prepares to embark this fall on its second 1,000-mile expedition to raise support for the Florida Wildlife Corridor. The organization’s goal is to create a corridor stretching from Everglades National Park to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. [more...]

Celebrate the continued excellence of Michelle Mack and her recent paper in Nature
Thermokarst lakes formed across vast regions of Siberia and Alaska during the last deglaciation and are thought to be a net source of atmospheric methane and carbon dioxide during the Holocene epoch1. However, the same thermokarst lakes can also sequester carbon5, and it remains uncertain whether carbon uptake by thermokarst lakes can offset their greenhouse gas emissions. Here we use field observations of Siberian permafrost exposures, radiocarbon dating and spatial analyses to quantify Holocene carbon stocks and fluxes in lake sediments overlying thawed Pleistocene-aged permafrost. We find that carbon accumulation in deep thermokarst-lake sediments since the last deglaciation is about 1.6 times larger than the mass of Pleistocene-aged permafrost carbon released as greenhouse gases when the lakes first formed. . [more...]

How did the peacock get his eyespots? An exciting paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society B from the Kimball lab, including our own Kelly Meiklejohn as well as Rebecca Kimball and Ed Braun, will tell you more!
Lots of cool press releases, too. nat geo: physorg: science mag sifter: [more...]

Biology Faculty Awarded NIH RO1 Grant
Congratulations to Associate Professor Charles Baer (PI), Assistant Professor Jose Miguel Ponciano (co-investigator) and Dr. Erik Andersen (Northwestern University, co-investigator) on their new NIH grant titled "Direct determination of the distribution of fitness effects of spontaneous mutations in Caenorhabditis elegans” for $1.4 million over 4 years, (effective date on 07/01/2014). [more...]

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