Three questions animate our research. How does biodiversity change in time and space? What biological processes fuel biodiversity? What are the social factors of environmental degradation?
Decades ago and writing using a pseudonym, Dávalos wondered whether peace could be worse than war. In Mongabay, Antonio Paz revisits this question, highlighting new empirical insights that confirm the dir predictions.
A newly established Fulbright Scholar Program called Fulbright Amazonia supports an international network of scientists who will carry out research dedicated to protecting the diverse wildlife and indigenous communities of the Amazon. Dávalos will investigate the effect of coca cultivation and cocaine trafficking on Amazonian wildlife and communities.
The job in brief
The purpose of this job is to oversee operations of our on-campus research laboratory focusing on biodiversity genomics at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York. This is a lab manager position encompassing about 50% bench and 50% administrative lab support. While the position is currently funded for 5 years, I aim to renew it and it may become a permanent staff position.
There is a salary range of up to $55K salary with benefits, depending on qualifications. Benefits at Stony Brook University are excellent include vacation and paid sick leave, in addition to excellent health, dental, and vision insurance.
Your unique goals and skills can shape this position. For example, depending on your career goals, the position can offer excellent insight into graduate education and long-term research careers. You can contribute to research publications. We apply the authorship matrix approach to authorship, and lab management contributions count.
My goal is to make this job an opportunity to conduct key aspects of scientific research without having to constantly worry about funding, or completing a thesis.
Click on the title👆🏽for more under the fold.
Liliana M. Dávalos is Professor of Conservation Biology at Stony Brook University’s Department of Ecology and Evolution. Centered on biodiversity, her research applies a range of molecular and quantitative tools ranging from molecular evolution to spatial statistics.
PhD in Ecology, Evolution,and Environmental Biology, 2004
Columbia University (New York, New York)
Certificate in Environmental Policy Studies, 2001
Columbia University (New York, New York)
BSc in Biology (emphasis on Genetics), 1997
Universidad del Valle (Cali, Colombia)
2022 Celebration of Teaching Awards.Watch video
This annual lecture, like the Environmental Studies Program, takes an interdisciplinary approach to the natural environment and human interaction with it.Watch video
To investigate evolution and mechanisms of seasonal reversible size changes in a mammal.See notice
For outstanding teaching and true caring for students.
Symposia bring together outstanding young scientists to discuss exciting advances and opportunities in a broad range of disciplines.See profile
We propose to explore Azolla as a solution to present-day scalable carbon capture by linking it with the Nitro-Oxidation Process (NOP) for sequestration. While the NOP has been found to be effective at producing nanocelluloses for application ranging from soil amendments to water filters, its potential for stabilizing carbon has yet to be evaluated. Because the NOP separates carbon in cellulose from effluents that contain remaining elements, this process can enable efficient phosphorus (and other nutrient element) recycling. This dual potential for carbon storage and nutrient recovery, however, remains to be tested. Demonstrating maximal carbon capture rates, and the suitability of the NOP to both stabilize Azolla biomass and reuse nutrients will make this project competitive with a diverse suite of potential funders.
In nature, encounters between humans and wildlife correlate with greater viral burdens in wildlife and therefore with higher risk of new viral pathogens spilling over into human populations. Yet, the factors contributing to this risk remain poorly understood, especially among highly mobile, but tightly packed populations of animals, such as cave-dwelling bats. Using the Egyptian fruitbat as a study system, this project seeks to understand how factors such as access to food, overall animal health, and responses to immune challenges influence each other in the wild to control the degree of viral infection in populations experiencing variable exposure to humans. The project will use highly integrative approaches to illuminate the fundamental biology of disease risk and to enhance the capacity to predict risks of viral spillover from bats to other wildlife or to humans. The project will also have broader impact on education and training by implementing an innovative active-learning experience, called “From the Bat Cave – Integrative Disease Research for Undergraduates”, in which postdoctoral researchers will learn to apply integrative research and mentoring methods to involve cohorts of undergraduate students in research and peer-peer mentoring through GBatNet, a NSF-funded international network of bat research groups.
We will establish a unique multi-disciplinary approach that combines computational genomics, structural biology and biochemistry, and ecology and genomics, to characterize APOBEC enzymes and their evolution across several bat species that harbour viruses with zoonotic potential. Using wet-lab experimental results, we will build deep learning-based models to predict mutability in viruses of bat origin and use these to predict the potential variation of bat viruses in humans following a hypothetical zoonotic transmission. This will be the first functional study of a key facet of the bat immune system which plays a pivotal role in virus evolution and transmissibility to humans.
Why are bats so likely to carry coronaviruses, yet seem little affected by them? Many studies have focused on their immune system, but there is much to learn about the cells viruses attack upon entry.
All aspects of society have been upended by COVID-19. While most research has understandably focused on clinical applications, how the ancestors of SARS-CoV2 survive and circulate in nature is vital to both prevent future epidemics and help health professionals develop therapeutic treatments.
In support of RA Kristjan Mets. While scientific reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic has been swift, the risk of SARS-CoV-2 spilling back into native North American wildlife and feral domestic animals remains underexplored. Experimental infections of a variety of hosts, serological analyses of the cats in Wuhan, and cases of COVID-19 among tigers and lions in the Bronx Zoo, all have shown transmission back to wildlife and feral cats is highly probable. Tools are urgently needed to determine which of these animal populations are at greatest risk of establishing a native reservoir, and where the overlap with human populations is greatest. We propose to model the risk of spillover to animal populations and conversely the risk of future secondary spillover by combining models of molecular interaction between the virus and potential hosts, with multi- species Susceptible-Infectious-Recovered (SIR) models. Complementing decades of experience in vertebrate genomics (Dávalos) with expertise in epidemiology (Meliker), and spatial dynamics of wildlife disease (Mets), ours is the ideal team to quickly generate and test the necessary models to avert this risk.
To answer the question of how the shrew shrinks and then regrows its brain, we will establish this unusual species as a new model, by studying the biological, molecular, biochemical and genetic processes behind this reversible size change.
We assembled a group of socio-environmental scientists to analyze and model the natural and human factors that determine the extinction and resilience of insular vertebrate fauna and leverage this understanding into metrics for use in conservation assessments.
We propose to develop a cross-scale research program that focuses on the relationships between phylogenetic diversity, genetic diversity and functional diversity of a biologically and economically important taxonomic group; bats.
This project focuses on pairs of closely related bat species that sharply differ in their longevity. Detailed genome comparisons between closely related species with different life spans will test different theories of aging.
This training program responds to the challenges of new careers at the interface between science and decision making with an interdisciplinary set of new courses and a suite of activities united by the theme of “Scientific Training and Research to Inform DEcisions” (STRIDE).
The project focuses on a relatively unexplored yet crucial aspect of plant-animal mutualisms; volatile chemical communication between plants and vertebrate frugivores.
This project focuses on a diverse group of tropical bats in which various species evolved acute, specialized hearing, supersensitive eyes, the ability to smell subtle plant chemicals, or highly developed vomeronasal systems (thought to contribute to mating and social hierarchy).
The goal of this project was to discover the mechanisms underlying the survival of remnant populations in the WNS-affected area.
Noctilionoid bats comprise more than 200 species that span the entire ecological diversity of land mammals. They range from tiny insectivores and nectarivores to large carnivores, and even vampire bats. This is an unparalleled system for understanding how, when, and where bats evolved new diets, changed roosting habits and developed different kinds of echolocation. Together with the N. B. Simmons Lab, we are generating species-level phylogenies using molecular and morphological data, and including fossils of >20 extinct species. These phylogenies provide frameworks for investigating patterns and processes of ecological adaptation, speciation, and extinction across a hyperdiverse group of mammals.
The project will generate hypotheses about the evolutionary relationships of 5 different groups of bats, each containing at least one exclusively Antillean species. These evolutionary relationships will then be used to establish the timing and pattern of separation among bat species in the Antilles and their South and Central American relatives, and will also be compared with similar hypotheses about other terrestrial organisms. Drs. Nancy Simmons, Rob DeSalle, and Liliana Davalos will use standard methods for obtaining and analyzing morphological and molecular data from the study groups. Patterns of evolutionary relationships resulting from these data will be compared applying at least 5 different approaches.
The common shrew, Sorex araneus, is a small mammal of growing interest in neuroscience research, as it exhibits dramatic and reversible seasonal changes in individual brain size and organization (a process known as Dehnel’s phenomenon). Despite decades of studies on this system, the mechanisms behind the structural changes during Dehnel’s phenomenon are not yet understood. To resolve these questions and foster research on this unique species, we present the first combined histological, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and transcriptomic atlas of the common shrew brain. Our integrated morphometric brain atlas provides easily obtainable and comparable anatomic structures, while transcriptomic mapping identified distinct expression profiles across most brain regions. These results suggest that high-resolution morphological and genetic research is pivotal for elucidating the mechanisms underlying Dehnel’s phenomenon while providing a communal resource for continued research on a model of natural mammalian regeneration. Morphometric and NCBI Sequencing Read Archive are available at https://doi.org/10.17617/3.HVW8ZN.
A de novo assessment of TE content in 248 mammals finds informative trends in mammalian genome evolution.
How traits affect speciation is a long-standing question in evolution. We investigate whether speciation rates are affected by the traits themselves or by the rates of their evolution, in hummingbirds, a clade with great variation in speciation rates, morphology and ecological niches. Further, we test two opposing hypotheses, postulating that speciation rates are promoted by trait conservatism or, alternatively, by trait divergence. To address these questions, we analyse morphological (body mass and bill length) and niche traits (temperature and precipitation position and breadth, and mid-elevation), using a variety of methods to estimate speciation rates and correlate them with traits and their evolutionary rates. When it comes to the traits, we find faster speciation in smaller hummingbirds with shorter bills, living at higher elevations and experiencing greater temperature ranges. As for the trait evolutionary rates, we find that speciation increases with rates of divergence in the niche traits, but not in the morphological traits. Together, these results reveal the interplay of mechanisms through which different traits and their evolutionary rates (conservatism or divergence) influence the origination of hummingbird diversity.