Dr. Michael Whiting, Department of Biology
Funding was received from the BYU ORCA mentorship program during 2010 to support undergraduates performing research in my lab, under the mentorship of postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and myself. During 2010, this funding provided direct support for 8 undergraduates who are in various stages of completing research projects. The following report focuses on undergraduate achievements, but also provides summary data for graduate students and other lab participants.
Review of Academic Objectives of the Proposal
Funding was received from ORCA in 2010 to provide students with the opportunity to work on various aspects of the Beetle Tree of Life project, the Orthoptera Phylogeny project, and a variety of projects associated with 454 sequencing technology. The proposal submitted in 2010 described 5 team projects that included postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates. We have already published on three of these projects, and the other projects are on track to be published in 2011. The overarching goal behind the research was to train students and mentor them all the way through the scientific process, from teaching basic lab and computer skills, to experimental design, data generation, analysis, and finally presentation at national meetings and publication in peer reviewed journals. As outlined below, the productivity of the lab as a whole in 2010 was very good (18 manuscripts and 13 presentations), and the productivity of the undergraduates was particularly excellent (authorship on 6 publications and 8 presentations). This past year we made major strides towards accomplishing the research as outlined in the proposal and finally completed the generation of the mt genomes for beetles and many additional genomes for Orthoptera. In addition, we used some of the MEG funds to generate preliminary data that formed the basis of two NSF proposals that were submitted in 2010 and are currently pending, and we plan to submit three more NSF proposals is 2011. If funded, these grants will provide additional research opportunities for undergraduate students.
Evaluation of the Mentoring Environment
In 2010, the mentoring environment of the lab consisted of 8 BYU undergraduates, two graduate students, and two postdocs. We met together in weekly lab meetings, read from the current literature, and reviewed each other’s manuscripts.
Whiting Lab Participants (2010):
- Michael F. Whiting (PI)
- Dr. Hojun Song (Postdoctoral Fellow)
- Dr. Seth Bybee (Postdoctoral Fellow)
- Joey Mugleston (graduate student)
- Rebecca Buckmann (graduate student)
- Matthew Moulton (undergraduate)
- Kevin Hiatt (undergraduate)
- Jessica Jensen (undergraduate)
- Kelsy Johnson (undergraduate)
- Reshley Dalisay (undergraduate)
- James Leavitt (undergraduate)
- Nathan Mahler (undergraduate)
- Corina Deleon (undergraduate)
Specific Products of the MEG
Over the past year, my lab group made 13 presentations at scientific meetings. Undergraduates participated as senior author or co-authors on 6 of the presentations, graduate students on 7 presentations. Undergraduates are indicated by blue; graduate students are indicated by red.
- Buckmann, R. S. and M. F. Whiting. On the fringe of evolution: Phylogeny of Thysanoptera based on molecular data. Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, San Diego, Dec 12-15, 2010.
- Mugleston, J. D., H. Song, and M. F. Whiting. A molecular phylogeny of the family Tettigoniidae (Orthoptera: Ensifera). Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, San Diego, Dec 12-15, 2010.
- Leavitt, J. R., K. Hiatt, H. Song, and M. F. Whiting. Hopping towards a robust hypothesis: Phylogeny of Caelifera based on entire mitochondrial genomes. Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, San Diego, Dec 12-15, 2010.
- Giorgi, J. A., J. V. McHugh, K. B. Miller, and M. F. Whiting. Evolution of coccinellid host preferences revisited in light of new molecular data. Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, San Diego, Dec 12-15, 2010.
- McHugh, J. V., J. A. Robertson, A. Slipinski, K. B. Miller, and M. F. Whiting. Phylogeny of Corylophidae (Coleoptera: Cucujoidea). Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, San Diego, Dec 12-15, 2010.
- Robertson, J. A., A. Slipinkski, K. B. Miller. M. F. Whiting, and J. V. McHugh. A total evidence phylogeny of the cerylonid series of Cucujoidea (Coleoptera). Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, San Diego, Dec 12-15, 2010.
- Bybee, S. M., S. Seeley, M. F. Whiting, and K. Crandall. Phylogeny of Holodonata: Can DNA inform more than 300 million years of morphology? Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, San Diego, Dec 12-15, 2010.
- Mahler, N. G. and M. F. Whiting. Elucidating ectoparasitic earwig evolution. Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, San Diego, Dec 12-15, 2010.
- Jensen, J., J. D. Mugleston, K. Hiatt, H. Song, and M. F. Whiting. Deep-level phylogeny of Ensifera (Orthoptera) based on molecular data. Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, San Diego, Dec 12-15, 2010.
- Johnson, K., M. J. Moulton, H. Song, and M. F. Whiting. A broad-scale survey of nuclear mitochondrial pseudogenes from Orthoptera (Insecta). Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, San Diego, Dec 12-15, 2010.
- Ingley, S. J., S. M. Bybee, M. A. Branham, and M. F. Whiting. Life on the Fly: Evolution and Ecology of the Endangered Helicopter Damselflies (Odonata: Pseudostigmatidae). Evolution Meetings, Portland, Oregon, June 25-29, 2010.
- Hiatt, K. D., H. Song, and M. F. Whiting. Family-level Phylogeny of Orthoptera (Arthropoda: Insecta) Based on Complete Mitochondrial Genome Data. Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research, Cedar City, UT, Feb 26, 2010.
- Moulton, M. J., H. Song, and M. F. Whiting. Evolution of Nuclear Mitochondrial Pseudogenes of Three Genes within Orthoptera (Arthropoda: Insecta). Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research, Cedar City, UT, Feb 26, 2010.
During 2010, the Whiting lab group produced 18 manuscripts (11 published or in press; 3 in review; 5 to be submitted shortly). Of these, 6 manuscripts have undergraduate authors, and on 4 of these the undergraduate is the senior author. Six manuscripts have graduate student authors. One publication is particularly noteworthy: the Song et al. (2010) paper with two undergraduate authors has been accepted by Systematic Biology, which is considered a high-impact journal for the field (impact factor 10.77). Undergraduates are indicated by blue; graduate students are indicated by red. Only student authored manuscripts are listed below.
- Fogarty, F.M., S.M. Bybee, M.A. Branham, M.F. Whiting (2010) Phylogenetic relationships of Central and South American flatwing damselfies (Odonata: Zygoptera: Megapodagrionidae): An examination of monophyly in a convoluted group. Molecular Evolution and Phylogenetics. Manuscript to be submitted to Zootaxa
- Bybee, S.M., S. J. Ingley, S.J., M.A. Branham, M.F. Whiting. (2010) Wings, evolution and oviposition: Phylogenetics of the helicopter damselflies (Odonata: Pseudostigmatidae). Manuscript to be submitted to Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
- Robertson, J. A., S. Bradler, and M. F. Whiting. (2010) The phylogeny of Phasmatodea (Hexapoda) inferred from six genes and morphology: Basal diversification, wing recurrence, and evolution of egg laying techniques. Manuscript to be submitted to Cladistics.
- Legendre, F., C. D’Haese, P. Deleporte, R. Pellens, M. F. Whiting, and P. Grandcolas. (2010). Social behavior does not evolve only through adaptational leap when social systems or habitats change: phylogenetic evidence in Zetoborinae cockroaches (Blattaria: Blaberidae). Cladistics (in review).
- Song, H., M. J. Moulton, K. D. Hiatt, M. F. Whiting. (2010) Uncovering historical signature of mitochondrial DNA hidden in the nuclear genome: The origin of the desert locust revisited. Systematic Biology (accepted, May 2010)
- Lord, N. P., C. S. Hartley, K. B. Miller, J. F. Lawrence, J. V. McHugh, and M. F. Whiting. (2010) Phylogenetic analysis of the minute brown scavenger beetles (Coleoptera: Latridiidae), and recognition of a new beetle family, Akalyptoischionidae, fam. n. (Coleoptera: Cucujoidea). Systematic Entomology. 35: 753-763.
- Legendre, F., T. Robillard, H. Song, M. F. Whiting, and L. Desutter-Grandcolas. (2010) One hundred years of instability in ensiferan relationships. Systematic Entomology 35:475-488.
- Sheffield, N. C., K. D. Hiatt, M. C. Valentine, H. Song, and M. F. Whiting. (2010). Mitochondrial genomics in Orthoptera using MOSAS. Mitochondrial DNA 21:87-104.
- Song, H., N. C. Sheffield, S. L. Cameron, K. B. Miller, M. F. Whiting. (2010). When phylogenetic assumptions are violated: base compositional heterogeneity and among-site rate heterogeneity in beetle mitochondrial phylogenomics. Systematic Entomology 35:429-448.
- Moulton, M. J., H. Song, and M. F. Whiting. (2010). Assessing the effects of primer specificity on eliminating numt coamplification in DNA barcoding: A case study from Orthoptera (Arthropoda: Insecta) Molecular Ecology Resources 10: 615-627.
- Gullipalli, D., A. Arif, P. Aparoy, G. J. Svenson, M. F. Whiting, P. Reddanna, and A. Dutta-Gupta. (2010) Identification of a Developmentally and Hormonally Regulated Delta Class Insect Glutathione S- transferase. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology B-Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. 156: 33-39.
- Houston, D. D., T. H. Ogden, M. F. Whiting, and D. K. Shiozawa. (2010). Polyphyly of the Pikeminnows (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) Inferred Using Mitochondrial DNA Sequences. Transaction of the American Fisheries Society 139: 303-315.
Data generated by my undergraduate students not only resulted in publications, but also form the preliminary data used in NSF grants proposals. In addition to the three active NSF grants in my lab during 2010, the lab received two REU supplements for $20K. During 2010, the Whiting lab also submitted 4 new NSF proposals. Of these, two were declined (but are being reworked for resubmission in 2011) and two are currently pending. In 2011 we plan to submit two additional NSF proposals: one that focuses on the evolution of Cucujoid beetles to the NSF PEET program and one that focuses on the evolution of visual pigments in dragonflies. All of these proposals include funding directly to support continued undergraduate and graduate research activities.
This report provides a brief summary of undergraduate accomplishments based on ORCA mentoring support. Additional, specific information on the accomplishments of individual undergraduate students can be provided upon request. I feel a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to work with such high caliber students, and am grateful to ORCA for supporting the undergraduates in my lab. This mentored learning opportunity is directly blessing the lives of my students (and to the life of the PI), and I hope for continued support so that these sorts of experiences can be provided for additional students.