Anna with her certificate for earning 2nd place in the Undergraduate Poster Competition!

The Gibson lab had a blast at the Southeastern Population Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics Conference at Clemson this weekend! Big congratulations to Emily and Anna for presenting awesome posters on their work.

Left to right: Anna, Mandy and Emily at the Clemson Outdoor Lab

Green Labs: Gold Level!

The Gibson lab achieved Gold Level Certification as part of UVA’s Green Lab’s Sustainability Program!! We’re one of only four labs on campus to have achieved Gold, the highest level of the program. Thanks in particular to our Green Leader Anne Janisch for spearheading this effort!

Celebrating Gold Level with our Green Lab prizes: cupcakes and beaker mugs!


The Gibson lab placed 353rd in March Mammal Madness, after correctly predicting the final battle between Wargoose and Tiger!! (To clarify: there were 2511 entries, so this puts us in the top 14%).

New paper in Evolutionary Applications

Rapid change in host specificity in a field population of the biological control organism Pasteuria penetrans – open access publication here

This paper represents the beginning of a collaboration with Patricia Timper at the USDA. I worked with Patty and her graduate student, Chang Liu (now a postdoc at the University of Florida) to track yearly shifts in the host specificity of a biological control parasite. We found dramatic spatial and temporal variation in the specificity of the parasite Pasteuria penetrans for its host, the plant-parasitic nematode (and arch nemesis of Georgia peanuts) Meloidogyne arenaria. Following up on this work, we’re interested in 1) what drives temporal change in parasite specificity? (is it evolution? even reciprocal adaptation?) and 2) what are the implications of the evolution of specificity for the efficacy of biological control?

On a noble quest to save the peanut

Helena earns highest honors

Helena Baffoe-Bonnie earned highest honors from Emory University for her senior honors thesis in the Morran lab! Helena conducted a really nice test of an hypothesis for the evolution of parasite host range using lineages of the parasite Serratia marcescens that we’d experimentally evolved in the lab to kill the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Now Helena’s heading to Baltimore to take an NIH IRTA fellowship in the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Congratulations Helena – you’re a star!

Helena and Levi Morran, celebrating post defense

Lots of folks contributed to Helena’s work, including Levi Morran, McKenna Penley, Raythe Owens, Dilys Osei, Julie Lin, and Arooj Khalid.