Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Busy Winter for BSGSA!

Hi Everyone!

Sorry for the long hiatus from the BSGSA blog!  It has been a busy couple of months for all of us.  Here’s a recap of what we’ve been up to since November, in case you missed any of it:

The holiday community outreach begins!  Kristine Moody organized a department-wide food drive to benefit Clemson Community Care (CCC), a local non-profit organization that helps support low-income families in the Clemson Area.  In the end, BSGSA and the Biological Sciences department raised enough money to donate 27 Thanksgiving turkeys and collected nearly 500 lbs of food!  What a great success!  Cheers to Kristine for putting this event together, as well as to all those to contributed by donating non-perishable goods, turkey money, and time to help deliver everything to CCC.
Loading up at Clemson.
Almost 500 pounds of food donated!
Delivering goods to CCC. 

December is always a busy time around the department as the fall semester winds down.  Amidst the chaos of finalizing grades, wrapping up research projects, graduations, and preparing for mid-winter conferences, BSGSA carried out its annual Salvation Army Stocking Stuffing Project.  This year, BSGSA members filled stockings with gifts and goodies for 24 local children in need so they could have a merry Christmas. 
Christopher is excited about his stocking!
Stocking Delivery Day!

In addition, December saw the graduation of a handful of BioSci Grad Students, including BSGSA members Christie Sampson and Gautam Ginjupalli­­­­.  Congratulations to all and we wish you great success in your future endeavors!

Texas State Capital Building in Austin, TX. 
Happy New Year, Everyone!  We are just a couple of weeks into 2014 and already so much has happened.  First, several BSGSA members kicked off the new year by attending the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) annual conference, held this year in Austin, TX.  In addition to attending the conference, all participated by presenting talks and posters throughout the week:

Christopher Mayerl:  Thermal ecology of Podarcis tiliguerta (Lacertidae) across an altitudinal gradient
Eric Riddell:  High and dry: responses of evaporative water loss along an elevational gradient for two species of lungless salamanders
Kelly Diamond:  Individual variation in locomotor performance and behavior on northern curly-tailed lizards (Leiocephalus carinatus)
Sam Crickenberger:  Lower thermal tolerance of larvae and adults of the introduced barnacle Megabalanus coccopoma: implications for range limits
Sandy Kawano:  Intraspecific variation in patterns of morphological selection in the waterfall climbing goby fish, Sicyopterus stimpsoni
Vanessa Young:  In vivo femoral strains in swimming turtles: influence of locomotor medium on limb bone loading

The Blob Lab visting Kelly's poster at SICB 2014.

Congrats to all on jobs well done!  As an added bonus, two of our members were recognized at the SICB business meeting:  Sandy Kawano received a SICB Travel Fellowship to help fund her remaining research trips to the Chicago Field Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Smithsonian; and Eric Riddell received one of SICB's Grants-In-Aid-Of-Research Awards to fund his ongoing field work in which he collects Appalachian salamanders for experiments to determine their capacity to acclimate to climate change.  Congratulations!!

The Clemson Rhino! (Photo credit S. Kawano)
As if the SICB excitement wasn’t enough, the BioSci department welcomed the arrival of its new rhino on January 9th!  Throughout the fall, Dr. Richard Blob and Stanlee Miller, the Clemson University Natural History Museum curator, have received several specimens of African mammals from the Museum of York County (near Rock Hill, SC), which is deaccessioning portions of its collection that are not on display.  One of these specimens is a 15 foot long white rhinoceros, which has historic ties to Clemson.  This specimen was mounted and on display at a former Burger King in Clemson for several years, before entering the collections at the Museum of York County roughly 20 years ago.  Now it has returned to Clemson, and plans are in place for it to be displayed on the first floor of Long Hall in the near future as part of our biodiversity exhibits.  In the mean time, a big thank you goes out to Dr. Steve Klaine for housing the rhino in his lab until the display case is built!  And another big thank you to Rick and Stanlee for bringing these specimens to Clemson University!

Looking Ahead:
As we look ahead, BSGSA has an exciting spring planned.  Officers will be meeting later this week to discuss plans for Graduate Student Recruitment Weekend, CBASS, and a spring retreat.  We’ll also be planning spring service opportunities, such as Darwin Week activities, BioBowl, Relay for Life, and others.  Stay tuned for more information!