24th Sept 2018
Where did summer go?? Well it went in a wonderful blur of science and more science. The UCE protocol was successfully started and completed by the lab marvel that is Alice. Alice will be staying in the lab from Oct-Dec to learn new techniques and complete more UCE work – welcome Alice!
I was lucky enough to go to the Deep Sea Biology Symposium in Monterey, USA, and spend an inspiring week hearing about the latest in deep-sea science awesomeness; and what incredible research there was! The potential new genomic clustering methods, the vast quantities of fossils found in some deep-sea areas, and that crazy MBARI bioluminesing whip coral… see MBARI Twitter for more!
And I picked up an award with my student Lissie (defending next week… I’d say wish her luck but its in the bag 🙂 )
In between this I submitted a Darwin grant with Cefas to undertake population connectivity research around the Southern Ocean… fingers crossed for that, submitted some co-authored papers and tried to crunch some RAD-seq data… results to follow soon I hope.
5th July 2018
Summer has been in full swing in the lab for a number of weeks now. My fabulous undergraduate Frontrunner (paid summer internships here at Essex, awesome) has been extracting and fragmenting the DNA of deep-sea octocorals. And with kits arriving from the far corners of the planet we are finally ready to start with the new ultra-conserved elements methodology (a year in the making…). I have a wonderful research assistant preparing the new UCE protocol which we happily started today. Go science! Let’s get this UCE library prep underway 🙂
9th May 2018
I was lucky enough to go to sea on the Nathaniel B Palmer icebreaker back in 2011. The wonderful Dr Rhian Waller saved many 100s of octocorals in her freezer since then and I managed to go and visit her to ID them and take genetic sub-samples last summer. A student and I have been trying to squeeze DNA out of them for a few weeks and we finally have bands. Cue the band dance (yes that’s a thing, ask any self-respecting geneticist)!
Yes it’s smeary but it’s there!
Two sets of PhD interviews are pending. I look forward to welcoming candidates to the Taylor Lab and to Colchester to see the delights that out university has to offer.
I also have a Frontrunner starting in June; this is a marvellous initiative where instead of interning for free (which I fundamentally disagree with if its over a few weeks – who can afford to do that??) students within the University of Essex can apply to get experience in different jobs AND get paid for it. A wonderful 2nd year student is therefore joining TaylorLab for the summer to learn DNA extraction, PCR and many and varied other lab techniques. With a research assistant starting next week too its going to be a busy summer.
I have a fully-funded PhD studentship to study deep-sea coral population genomics and dispersal modeling… come join Taylor Lab!
Well what a year it has been! It finished with a flourish of reefy science with a visit to the European Coral Reef Conference in Oxford last week. It was good to catch up with the shallow-water brethren and meet friends old and new. I’m just about unpacked in the office and lab, equipment is ordered and books are on shelves. With an eye to 2018 I’m writing an advert for a PhD studentship to start in Oct 2018 so watch this space… Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!
late Nov 2017
Florida State University was kind enough to invite me to join a workshop to discuss the research necessary to understand life under ice shelves post-collapse. This gathering of Antarctic researchers discussed some fascinating ideas for science and the location was just stunning. Thank you Jeroen and the Coastal Marine Laboratory team!
Nov 2017 – I’ve just moved to the University of Essex to start work as a Lecturer in Marine Biology.
The first few days have been a blur of unpacking coral and taxonomic literature, working out the square locations of various departments and chatting to the press about the minor help I offered Blue Planet II with deep sea coral knowledge (how amazing was the deep sea episode!!). See me talking about deep sea coral here at 22min30. Oh and on FB live talking about deep sea corals here.
And, to start my time at Essex off with a bang I am co-supervising a PhD studentship with Dr Alex Dumbrell here in Biological Sciences. Check out the advert here if you want to join the embryonic Taylor Lab group 🙂