News, outreach, and podcasts

A quick post to note some recent happenings. First off, last week I received an unexpected phone call from the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a group of elected scientists that are part of an advising body to the US Government. You can read the official NAS announcement, Science magazine article, or Cornell’s press release.

Some of the National Academy members present before my election in April 2021

Unrelatedly, we had a study on coevolution between monarch butterflies and milkweed just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy. This work picks up on the chemistry of plant defense and how monarchs cope with it, building on decades of research by many lab groups (and summarized in my 2017 book, Monarchs and Milkweed, written for non-scientists). The photo on the journal cover was taken by none other than Ellen Woods!


K-12 outreach! Over the spring semester I have been working with an outstanding educational group called Project Biodiversify, co-founded by a former graduate student in the lab, Marjorie Weber. This project has developed a “repository of teaching materials and methods aimed at enhancing human diversity and inclusivity in biology courses”.  I was very pleased to develop a “Data Nugget” which is a classroom science exercise on monarchs and milkweed. In this case, it is for 7-10th graders studying ecology and evolution. Check it out here.


Data Nugget for young biology students

Finally, over the last month, I participated in several recorded conversations. The first was with the Monarch Crusader (Carol Pasternak) and a community of citizen scientists, you can watch the video here. Additionally, I spoke with Kate Douglas for her new podcast Ecology & Me, this was a fun and wandering more general discussion about the basic biology of butterflies, listen here: Apple podcasts, SpotifyAmazon Music, or Soundcloud.  And finally, I just spoke with Ben Rush on his new podcast Deeper than Data, where he seeks to “explore the personal journeys, failures, and successes of scientists through storytelling and humor”. Listen here.


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