Message from the chair
I returned to active duty in late April after a refreshing, although too short, sabbatical at the University of Arizona. I want to thank Professor Mark Hunter for doing a stellar job shepherding the department during the last semester and leaving me free to think about science and to enjoy the desert. Besides Tucson, I spent some time in France, Prague, Mexico, Nebraska, New York, and Florida, and even made one trip back to Ann Arbor. I refreshed my desert botany (it was a good bloom of winter annuals), spent time learning about trait-based macroecological patterns and analytical approaches with colleagues at the University of Arizona, got involved in analysis of data from several different longterm studies of desert vegetation, and worked through a considerable backlog of manuscripts with colleagues so that I was no longer the rate-limiting step.
As you'll see, we've dedicated this issue of Natural Selections to introducing our fantastic new assistant professors: Vincent Denef, Meghan Duffy, Daniel Rabosky and Stephen Smith. In these pages, you'll read about the interesting and ground-breaking research they conduct.
In addition, I'd like to extend a warm welcome to our new Michigan Fellow and assistant professor, Lauren Sallan, and research scientists Alison Davis Rabosky and Melissa Duhaime. Dr. Sallan's research interests include early vertebrate evolution, macroevolution, paleobiology, paleoecology, ichthyology and systematics. Dr. Davis Rabosky's research interests are the evolution of behavior, evolutionary genomics, character evolution and phylogenetics, and herpetology. Dr. Duhaime studies marine viral community genomics, phage-host model systems, and plastic-microbe associations in aquatic systems.
Unfortunately, I also have some sad news to share with you from over the past year. On November 24, 2011, Professor George Estabrook died after a courageous battle with cancer. George had been on the faculty at U-M since 1970 and taught numerous courses including computer-aided inference in ecology, practical botany and human nutrition for non-biology majors. On Feb. 13, 2012, Professor and Curator Emeritus Ed Voss died. Many of you will remember Ed from using his three-volume work, Michigan Flora, the bible for Michigan botanists. He continued his work on this project well after retirement and, in fact, three days after his death, the U-M Press released Field Manual of Michigan Flora, co-authored by Ed and Dr. Anton A. Reznicek. Ed was also a legendary teacher at the U-M Biological Station, again continuing to lead short courses well after his retirement.
Since this issue focuses on new faculty, I would be remiss not to mention the many accomplishments and activities of our wonderful graduate students. Kevin Bakker recently published his findings on vast differences in microbial communities in the polar oceans in PNAS and the story was featured on U-M's Gateway and in the media. Katherine Crocker is a volunteer ambassador with the Rackham Graduate School's International Connect Welcome Program to help give new international students a friendly introduction to U-M and life in Ann Arbor. Three of our new master's students, Benjamin Miller, Celia Miller, and Jeff Shi have been awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This award has a long history of recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. You can stay in the loop with our regularly updated news about our graduate students and more on our website. http://www.lsa.umich.edu/eeb.
I look forward to hearing from you in the year ahead. Wishing you a joyful and peaceful holiday
season and a happy new year 2013!
My warmest wishes always,
We are currently seeking long-term support for various initiatives that are underway within EEB that aim to strengthen and diversify students in the biological sciences.