New Lab Members

Fall 2021 is an exciting time for the Jones Lab, as we welcome four new lab members! Hannah Kemp is an undergraduate student working primarily on killifish. Elyse Barker and Megean Myers are new Ph.D. students in the lab. Their projects will focus on issues related to the evolution of male pregnancy, sexual selection, and microbiomes in syngnathid fishes. Dr. Balan Ramesh is a new postdoctoral scientist in the lab. He will be spearheading the bioinformatics analysis of the many new syngnathid genomes that we plan to sequence over the next several years.

New Funding

The Jones Lab has been fortunate to receive two new grants from the National Science Foundation in 2020. The first grant, “The Genomics of Sexual Selection in Pipefishes and Seahorses”, will fund a series of projects aimed at investigating the genome-level effects of sexual selection. The second grant, in collaboration with Bill Cresko’s lab at the University of Oregon, is entitled “The Evo-Devo of Male Pregnancy and Its Effects on the Brood Pouch Microbiome”. This project endeavors to understand the evolution and development of the male’s brood pouch, as well as how the evolution of the pouch shapes the male-pregnancy microbiome.

Simulating Evolution with C++

The C++ programming language has a reputation as tough one to learn, but the difficulty level is often exaggerated. For basic evolutionary models, a fairly modest skill set is good enough, and learning C++ prepares the mind to learn other programming languages like Perl and Python. Check out my tutorial on using C++ to build evolutionary models for a very basic introduction. The book assumes no prior programming knowledge and can be downloaded as a free pdf from my publications page.

Sarah Flanagan’s New Job

Dr. Sarah Flanagan, who earned her Ph.D. in the Jones Lab in 2016, has accepted a faculty job in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand! After leaving the Jones Lab, Sarah spent two productive years as a postdoctoral fellow at NIMBioS (National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis). She will start her new faculty position in the fall of 2018. Congratulations on your new job, Sarah!

We’ve Moved!

The Jones Lab has moved to the University of Idaho! After 13 great years at Texas A&M University, the time came to move along and experience new opportunities. The Department of Biological Sciences will be a great home for the Jones Lab, and we’re looking forward to continuing our work in this amazing new setting! Use the internet to find out more about the Department of Biological Sciences, the University of Idaho, the town of Moscow, and the incredible Palouse region.

Syngnathid Genomes!

Seahorses and pipefish have finally entered the post-genomic era with the publication of two complete genomes in December of 2016. Lin et al. (2016) published the genome sequence of the tiger tail seahorse (Hippocampus comes) in Nature, and Small et al. (2016) published the genome sequence of the Gulf pipefish (Syngnathus scovelli) in Genome Biology. In addition to providing interesting insights about gene loss and duplications related to key adaptations in this group of fishes, these genomes open many new doors in syngnathid research.

Northern Pipefish Mating

Former lab member Kim Paczolt just published a paper showing that northern pipefish, Syngnathus fuscus, have a surprisingly low rate of multiple mating by males. Like other syngnathid fishes (seahorses, pipefishes, and seadragons), males become pregnant and carry the offspring attached to their bodies or in a brood pouch. Kim’s results show that most males (about 3/4) have eggs from just one female per pregnancy. The rest carried eggs from two females in their pouches. The paper appeared in the April issue of the Journal of Fish Biology. Here’s a link to the abstract.