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Tidbits & Web notes, January 2014

Web notes

UCMP launched a new web feature, "The geology and paleontology of the Caldecott Tunnel's Fourth Bore." With funding provided by an agreement between the UCMP and CalTrans, the website (designed by UCMP graphic artist Dave Smith) features the geologic and tectonic settings, engineering challenges, and the fossil preparation and curation process done by UCMP staff and students.
Caldecott Tunnel cross-section

Congratulations to our new Ph.D.s!
Jean Alupay completed her dissertation (Caldwell Lab) on "Characterization of Arm Autotomy in the Octopus, Abdopus aculeatus" (d'Orbigny, 1834) and is now a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Southern California. Supported by an NSF INSPIRE grant, Jean joins a collaborative project with linguists, biologists, and engineers to investigate dynamical principles animal movement.

Theresa Grieco has moved on to a postdoctoral position in Joy Richman's lab in the Department of Oral Health Sciences at the University of British Columbia Dentistry School. Theresa's dissertation (Hlusko Lab) title is "The Developmental Basis of Variation in Tooth and Jaw Patterning: Evolved Differences in the Silurana (Xenopus) tropicalis Dentition."

Kaitlin Maguire accepted a postdoctoral position in Jessica Blois' lab at UC Merced. Kaitlin's dissertation is titled "Understanding the Paleoecology and Niche Dynamics of Mammals in the Mascall Fauna (Middle Miocene), Oregon."

Joey Pakes is now a lecturer in the Department of Integrative Biology at UCB and her dissertation (Caldwell/Lindberg Labs) is "Anchialine Cave Environments: A Novel Chemosynthetic Ecosystem and its Ecology."

Welcome!
To new UCMP Research Associate Susumu Tomiya, Postdoctoral Scholar, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago.

To new UCMP Museum Associates Anne Boersma, a volunteer assisting with the curation of the Texas slide collection of foraminifera, and Nan Xin, a volunteer translating the Evolution 101 section of the Understanding Evolution website into Mandarin.

Other news
A celebration of science!
For the third consecutive year, UCMP joined Science@Cal as one of 150 interactive exhibitors in the 2013 Bay Area Science Festival at AT&T Park. The November 4 event capped a 10-day celebration of science in the Bay Area drawing more than 30,000 people to AT&T Park. UCMP Assistant Director for Education and Outreach Lisa White, graduate student Tripti Bhattacharya, and volunteer C.J. Dunford highlighted fossils that lived at the Park way before the Giants!

How Science Works hits 10,000 downloads!

Betsy Barent demonstrates how to use the iTunes U course on her smart phone
Middle school teacher Betsy Barent demonstrates how to use the iTunes U course on her smart phone. Photo © Emily Decks/Beatrice Daily Sun.
 
In 2013, UCMP partnered with the California Academy of Sciences to develop a new method for delivering content from the Understanding Science website. How Science Works, an iTunes U course designed for the iPad, was launched in August 2013. An important milestone was reached in January 2014: 10,000 downloads! The course is designed primarily for middle and high school science educators to broaden their own knowledge and understanding of science, and to provide resources for their students. One of the contributors to the course is Betsy Barent, a middle school teacher in Omaha, Nebraska and frequent user of How Science Works on both iPad and iPhone devices in her 8th grade science classes. Students are finding it to be a new and exciting way of engaging in science. Barent was featured in her local newspaper, the Beatrice Daily Sun, describing how she uses embedded videos, PDFs, and related assets in the iTunesU course to encourage students to collect evidence and practice strategies leading to testable hypotheses.

Barent states "In small groups they discussed what the current hypothesis is and what evidence led them to that hypothesis. They had to use skills that scientists use when they can't see what is happening in real time — use what they know to figure out what they don't know!"