Alverson Lab Website

Lab News

Models with unequal transition rates favor marine origins of Cyanobacteria and photosynthetic eukaryotes

We re-analyzed a recently published dataset that recovered freshwater ancestry of Archaeplastida (plants and algae with primary plastids). We tested an ever-so-slightly more complex model and found that the MRCA of arachaeplastids was, in fact, marine. The results are detailed in this study just published in PNAS and are available here. This study raised all sorts of interesting questions that the Alverson and Beaulieu labs are currently following up on.

Andy receives NSF CAREER award

Andy received an NSF CAREER award to study the evolutionary genomics of marine–freshwater transitions in diatoms. The award was written up on the Arkansas Newswire and the lab's research was featured on the university's Research Frontiers blog. These are ideas that were initially developed over a decade ago in an NSF DDIG award, a program that has, unfortunately, been discontinued.

Paper on diatom phylotranscriptomics is now online

Our paper that takes a first look at the ability of transcriptome data to resolve diatom relationships is now available at the SMBE website. The paper is the product of a collaborative NSF grant with Norm Wickett, who is also a co-author on the paper. Matt Parks led the project. Take-home: most relationships can be recovered even in the face of widespread conflict among gene trees. A few relationships may continue to be difficult to resolve. Very nice work, Matt!

Looking for a post-doc!

Come work in the lab! We're recruiting a new post-doc to work on evolutionary genomics of marine and freshwater diatoms – the full ad is here. Send inquiries to Andy.

Paleopolyploidy in diatoms

A cool new paper by Teo and Matt Parks shows that whole-genome duplications have occurred relatively frequently over the course of diatom evolution. Cool stuff. The manuscript is available on bioRxiv.

The perils of rank-based comparisons of metabarcode data

Teo's analysis of diatom data from the Tara Oceans project shows that diatom genera are nothing but names attached to arbitrarily defined groups of species. The manuscript is available on bioRxiv.

Jake defends his Honors thesis

Jake Harris successfully defended his Honors thesis today. He worked on optimizing genetic transformation of the model diatom, Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Jake moved to New York to start a Master's program in biotechnology at NYU.

Wilson defends his Honors thesis

It's raining introns in diatom mitochondrial genomes. Wilson carried out the first large-scale analysis of mitochondrial genome evolution in diatoms. He graduated summa cum laude, entered a Master's program at SIU, and is writing up his thesis for publication. We'll miss Wilson.

Teo's collaborative manuscript from the PlankDiv workshop now available

Congratulations, Teo! The collaborative paper resulting from a Foresight Euromarine worksop referred to as PlankDiv was published in Frontiers in Marine Science. In short, in order to best utilize the data we have on plankton, cooperation between experts is required.  Mare Incognitum: A Glimpse into Future Plankton Diversity and Ecology Research