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Thomaz scores best poster award


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Andrea Thomaz gets chummy with a fish, Hollandichthys multifasciatus, one of the species she’s currently studying.

The award was presented at the 2013 Annual Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.

Thomaz’s poster was about the phylogenetic relationships in a highly diverse subfamily of tetras (Stevardiinae in the Characidae family). The subfamily includes over 300 species. Scientists have been unable to elucidate their relationships because of their conserved morphology, meaning most of the species look alike. Thomaz’s research has uncovered interesting findings about their biogeography and characteristics related to reproductive behavior, which will allow further study of the evolution of these characteristics. Her advisor is Professor L. Lacey Knowles.

Thomaz began developing this project before she began EEB’s doctorate program, with the help of three co-authors: a fellow student, Dahiana Arcila-Mesa, Dr. Guillermo Orti, both from George Washington University and Dr. Luiz. R. Malabarba, Universidade Federal Do Rio Grande Do Sul, Brazil.

Professor Emeritus Gerald Smith, who attended the meeting, said, “Andrea's poster describing a molecular phylogenetic revision of an important group of Brazilian tetras was completely different and deserving of the award.”

“Your presentation, Molecular Phylogeny of the Subfamily Stevardiinae Gill, 1858 (Characiformes: Characidae) – Major Clades and the Evolution of Reproductive Traits, impressed the judges with its scope, thoroughness and creativity, advancing considerably our understanding of characid evolution,” Dr. Jonathan N. Baskin, student presentation award coordinator, wrote in a letter to Thomaz. Baskin is professor emeritus of biological sciences, California State Polytechnic University