Alverson Lab Website

Lab News

Yufei defends her honors thesis

Congratulations to Yufei Li on the successful defense of her Honors thesis, entitled "The evolution of salinity preference in diatoms." Take home: variation in diatom growth in common garden experiments reflects both environmental and heritable genetic componenets. Congratulations, Yufei. Post-doc Teo Nakov did most of the mentoring, so congratulations to Teo, too.

Toxarium plastid genome published in Current Genetics

Our paper describing the plastid genome of the tropical marine diatom, Toxarium undulatum, is now available online. The genome has an invasive group II intron, never before seen in diatoms, and it provides the first evidence for light-independent chlorophyll a biosynthesis in diatoms. The project was led by Elizabeth Ruck, undergraduate Honors student Samantha Linard, and Teo Nakov.

Surirellales phylogeny published

Congratulations to Elizabeth and Teo on their paper, just published in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, that documents the first support for a stepping-stone model of marine-freshwater transitions in diatoms. Among many other cool things . . .

Teo presents at Evolution 2016 in Austin, Texas

Teo presented his work on identifying macroevolutionary patters of habitat transitions in diatoms, "Diatom evolution across the benthos-plankton and marine-freshwater divides," at the Evolution 2016 meeting in Austin, Texas. Look for the paper on this work shortly.

Congratulations, Samantha!

Congratulations to Samantha Linard, and undergraduate student in the lab, who graduated Summa Cum Laude, today. We'll definitely miss her! Good luck at Mizzou!

Andy & Sam

Congratulations, Annie!


Congratulations to undergraduate lab alum, Annie Dickens, who graduated with honors today. We'll miss her sarcasm!

Andy selected as Early Career Investigator by the Simons Foundation


Andy was selected as an Early Career Investigator in Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution. The award will fund a collaborative project aimed at studying local adaptation in the diatom, Skeletonema marinoi, across a salinity gradient in the Baltic Sea. You can read more about the project here. The award was highlighted on the Arkansas Newswire and Research Frontiers blog.

Samantha Linard defends her Honors Thesis

Congratulations to undergraduate Honors student, Samantha Linard, who hit it out of the park when she presented and defended her Honors thesis work, entitled "The complete chloroplast genome of the diatom, Toxarium undulatum," which will soon be submitted as a full-fledged manuscript. Nice work, Samantha!

Wilson awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Congratulations to undergraduate Honors student, Wilson Guillory, who was awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. This is likely to be the last time Barry Goldwater makes an appearance in this news feed.

Andy & Wilson
Wilson and parents

Teo presents at the PlankDiv workshop in France

Post-doc Teofil Nakov gave an invited talk on his comparative analysis of marine–freshwater and plankton–benthos transitions at the PlankDiv workshop, a meeting about the impact of climate change on the distribution of plankton functional and phylogenetic diversity. The meeting was he'd in Villefranche sur mer, France, from 14-17 March 2016. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation, and the presentation is available on FigShare.

Presentation on genetic transformation of diatoms at EMBO symposium

Jeff Lewis and Elizabeth Ruck attended an EMBL symposium in Heidelberg, Germany, called A New Age of Discovery for Aquatic Microeukaryotes. They presented a poster on our project to increase the number and diversity of diatoms that can be genetically transformed. The project is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The poster they presented is available on FigShare.

Taxonomic revision of Bacterosira published

Andy worked with a culture strain (CCMP990) of an unidentified Thalassiosira species for his dissertation many, many years ago. It was clearly affiliated with Bacterosira. Fast-forward 10 years, and Joon Sang Park got fresh collections of this species, Thalassiosira constricta, into culture. He did very nice work characterizing it and its relationship to Bacterosira, a cool genus of marine diatoms. The results were just published in the journal Phytotaxa.