First UN Oceans Conference Solicits Over 1300 Global Commitments

By Jennifer ScottJune 13th, 2017in Faculty News, News

This past week, timed to coincide with World Oceans Day, the UN hosted its first Ocean Conference to generate commitments and support for UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #14 – “to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development”. The conference, which was co-hosted by Fiji and Sweden, “aims to be the game changer that will reverse the decline in the health of our ocean for people, planet, and prosperity”. Recent estimates suggest that ~26% of all released CO2 between 2002-2011 was absorbed by the worlds oceans.

The Oceans Conference boldly solicited voluntary commitments, and by the conference close on Friday, June 9, there were 1328 commitments registered. Two of these were committed by the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), which is in the Republic of Kiribati and is the largest and deepest UNESCO World Heritage Site on the planet. Randi Rotjan, a Research Assistant Professor at BU, is the Chief Scientist of the PIPA Conservation Trust, and the Founder and Co-Chair of the PIPA Scientific Advisory Committee. In these roles, she co-authored two UN Voluntary Commitments, listing Boston University as a partner. Rotjan is jointly-appointed in the Boston University Department of Biology, and the Boston University Marine Program.

The two UN Ocean Commitments that Rotjan co-authored can be viewed here and here.

Evan Kristiansen Awarded AGA Grant

evan butterfly_small_crop
PhD candidate, Evan Kristiansen, of the Mullen lab was recently awarded a $10,000 American Genetic Association (AGA) grant for his research linking genomic patterns of divergence and introgression across a butterfly hybrid zone. Evan was one of 6 recipients to receive this award out of 74 applicants. He will be completing research during the fall and spring with Limenitis butterflies from the Western United States and working to characterize the forces that maintain the western hybrid zone between Limenitis lorquini and Limenitis weidemeyerii. 


Tiputini Biodiversity Station Publishes Research Collection

By Jennifer ScottJune 7th, 2017in Faculty News, News

Los Secretos del Yasuní

Professor Kelly Swing, the director of BU’s Ecuador Tropical Ecology Program, has co-authored a new Spanish language text. This compilation covers research that has been carried out at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station (facilities that would not have existed without the dedicated interventions of Tom Kunz) in the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve of Amazonian Ecuador over the last couple of decades. Sponsored by the German government as part of broad conservation efforts, its design is intended to be accessible for those with limited educational opportunities in remote areas. In its 360 pages, an abundance of scientific information is accompanied by about 300 color photographs that give a cursory, practical introduction to the park’s biota. The hope is that the contribution will be valuable for everyone, from community leaders as they confront challenges for development as the oil industry widens its reach in eastern Ecuador, to the young who desire to become eco-guides as part of a broader sustainable strategy as well as all who would speak out for the maintenance of this unique ecosystem.

Professor Naya to serve on NIH Study Section

By Jennifer ScottJune 5th, 2017in Faculty News, News

BU Biology Associate Professor Francisco Naya has been invited to serve as a permanent member on the Cardiovascular Differentiation and Development (CDD) study section at the NIH. Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors. Study sections review grant applications submitted to the NIH, make recommendations on these applications to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board, and survey the status of research in their fields of science. These functions are of great value to medical and allied research in this country.

Professor Jerry Chen Awarded Whitehall Foundation Grant

By Jennifer ScottMay 16th, 2017in Faculty News, News

BU Biology Assistant Professor Jerry Chen has been awarded the Whitehall Foundation Grant. The Whitehall Foundation, through its program of grants and grants-in-aid, assists scholarly research in the life sciences. The Foundation is currently interested in basic research in neurobiology, defined as follows: Invertebrate and vertebrate (excluding clinical) neurobiology, specifically investigations of neural mechanisms involved in sensory, motor, and other complex functions of the whole organism as these relate to behavior. The overall goal should be to better understand behavioral output or brain mechanisms of behavior. For Professor Chen’s award, he will be investigating the role of inter-areal cortical dynamics during sensory perception.