The Florida Museum research building hosts a rotating exhibit highlighting recent student research guided by a Florida Museum mentor. Posters are on display at Dickinson Hall for one semester and then permanently archived on this website where available.
Contact information for current Museum graduate students is available on the Graduate Student Directory, through links to the University of Florida departments, or via the Florida Museum mentors.
Click any poster to download the PDF.
OntoPilot: new software to simplify and accelerate ontology development and deployment in automated reasoning pipelines
Authors: Brian J. Stucky1, Ramona L. Walls3, John Deck3 and Robert Guralnick1
1Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida; 2CyVerse, University of Arizona; 3University of California, Berkeley
Ontologies provide the conceptual foundations for modern knowledge representation systems and knowledge bases, and they are a core component of automated reasoning pipilines that extract new facts from existing data. Although a variety of software tools are available for authoring and manipulating ontologies, ontology development remains a technically demanding, time consuming, and often tedious task. We are developing OntoPilot, new software that endeavors to at least partially replace the current patchwork of disparate ontology development tools with a single, unified development framework that is easy to learn and requires minimal knowledge of the technical details of ontology description languages. OntoPilot’s development workflow is based on familiar spreadsheet document formats, which means that domain experts without detailed knowledge of ontology-related technologies can still directly participate in the development process. Furthermore, OntoPilot makes it easy to build inference pipelines that use ontologies to generate novel insights from existing data.
To the Caribbean and beyond: complete mitogenomes of ancient guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) as a proxy for human interaction in the Late Ceramic Age
Authors: Edana Lord1, Susan deFrance2, Michelle LeFebvre2, Catherine Collins1, and Elizabeth Matisoo-Smith1
1University of Otago; 2University of Florida
Guinea pigs were translocated to the Caribbean by humans during the Late Ceramic Age (500-1492 AD). Their remains are present on 18 sites on 10 islands. This study uses complete mitogenomes of ancient guinea pigs as a proxy to explore human migration into the Caribbean during the Late Ceramic Age. We also identify the origins of historically translocated guinea pigs in Europe and North America.
Dynamics of niche evolution in the Saxifragales
Authors: Ryan A. Folk, Doug E. Soltis, Pam S. Soltis, and Robert Guralnick
Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida
Previous work using traditional habitat descriptors from floristic treatments has suggested that niche is tightly conserved in Saxifragales, and that many of the rarest transitions occurred during the early radiation of the clade. We return to this system using quantitative modeling methods and a large-scale phylogenomic supermatrix to infer patterns of diversification. In association with this work, we showcase some new methods that enable further types of hypothesis testing using ancestral niche reconstructions.
Toward automated identification of Chagas Disease vectors
Authors: Hannah L. Owens1, Edward Komp2, Janine M. Ramsey Willowquet3, Rodrigo Gurgel Gonçalves4, Jarrett Mellenbruch5, Lindsay O. Campbell6, David A. Moo Llanes3, Cleber Galvão7, A. Townsend Peterson6
1Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville FL; 2Information and Telecommunications Technology Center, University of Kansas; 3Centro Regional de Investigación en Salud Pública, Chiapas, Mexico; 4Laboratório de Parasitologia Médica e Biologia de Vetores, Universidade de Brasilia; 5The Kansas City Art Institute; 6Biodiversity Institute, University of Kansas; 7Biodiversidade e Saúde, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz.
Chagas disease is a vector-borne disease trasmitted to humans by hemipteran bugs of the subfamily Triatominae. The pathogen, Trypanosoma cruzi, spreads to humans when infected insect feces enter open wounds or mucus membranes. Symptoms of the acute phase of the disease include skin lesions, headache, and fever; chronic Chagas manifests as a life-threatening digestive, neurological, and/or cardiac disorders. Approximately eight million people are infected with Chagas disease across Latin America, typically in rural areas where housing structures consist of mud and thatch materials that provide ideal habitat for vector species. Although vector control methods have been successful in stemming the tide of Chagas disease infections in some regions of Latin America, the geographic footprint of Chagas disease risk is not yet fully understood. In the light of the scarcity of entomological expertise, one significant challenge to improving disease risk assessment is accurate identification of vector species in field settings. Marked differences exist among species and genera of triatomines in terms of vectorial capacity. In sum, development of automated identification capacity for this vector group would be highly relevant and useful to Chagas disease mitigation efforts.