In March 2015, one of my undergraduate mentees, Kasey Benesh, was awarded a year-long College of Sciences & Mathematics Undergraduate Research Fellowship! Starting this summer, Kasey will work in the Armbruster lab for a year to study conservation of cyprinid communities. Congratulations Kasey!




In March 2015, I presented some of my work on cypriniform phylogenetics and diversification at the Southeastern Ecology & Evolution Conference at University of Georgia.



In March 2015, Jon Armbruster was interviewed for our work on describing Peckoltia greedoi (link to article with video). This led to a huge media blitz, and Peckoltia greedoi was featured in all sorts of news outlets including CNN, BBC, The Telegraph, IFLScience, Washington Post, and even IGN
Screenshot (4/2/15) of Auburn University home page featuring article.

Peckoltia greedoi holotype
(Photo by J.W. Armbruster)





In February 2015, work I am a co-author as describing three new species of Peckoltia with Jon Armbruster and David Werneke was published open-access in ZooKeys (link). Because of Peckoltia greedoi, named for the Star Wars character Greedo, our new species was featured in Nerdist.

In November 2014, work that I am a co-author with Keith Ray and Jonathan Armbruster was published early the upcoming December 2014 issue of Southeastern Naturalist (link). We describe the occurrence of Southern Redbelly Dace, Chrosomus erythrogaster, in the Mobile Drainage, a watershed it has never been found before!

Photograph of specimen of Southern Redbelly Dace (Photo by C.K. Ray)

Me talking about fishes from South America (Photo by S. Smoot)









On November 8 2014, the Auburn University Museum of Natural History held its second annual Open House! We opened the museum collections to lethe public see behind the scenes. I always love the opportunity to talk about fishes!



In July and August 2014, the Armbruster lab attended the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists 2014 in Chattanooga, TN. I presented my work on the phylogenomics of paedomorphic Cypriniformes. I was also coauthored on two other presentations, presented by my labmates Edward D. Burress and Carla C. Stout, respectively
My presentation at the Chattanooga Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. (Photo by S. Michaelsen)


In June 2014, I presented results of the phylogenomic study on paedomorphic Cypriniformes at the Evolution 2014 meeting in Raleigh, NC.




In May 2014, I completed the Preparing Future Faculty Program at Auburn University, which helped prepare me for the role of becoming a faculty member in academia.
Me with the certificate I received for Preparing Future Faculty from Drs. Gisela Buschle-Diller (left) and 
S. Raj Chaudhury (right). (Photo by R. Dewitt)

My presentation at the Auburn University Graduate Scholars Forum 2014.
(Photo by C.C. Stout)

In March 2014, I presented preliminary results for my phylogenomic study of the relationships of paedomorphic Cypriniformes at Southeastern Ecology & Evolution Conference 2014 at Georgia Southern University. I also presented my research on the evolution of miniaturization in fishes of the subfamily Danioninae at the annual Auburn University Graduate Scholars Forum.




In January 2014, a story about my phylogenomics research with Dr. Jon Armbruster being performed in collaboration with FSU scientists Alan & Emily Lemmon was featured on the front page of the Auburn University website.
Screenshot (1/13/14) of Auburn University home page featuring article.



(Photo by L. Marchio)
At the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists 2013 in Albuquerque, NM, I presented my talk on the evolution of body size in the Danioninae, "What is Miniaturization?: Lack of Miniaturization in the Evolution of Body Size in a Group Including Some of the Smallest Fishes in the World (Danioninae: Cyprinidae)." I was graciously awarded a Stoye Award in the General Ichthyology category by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetology. This was also my first scientific meeting which I live-tweeted under @mt_ur_mind.




In June 2013, I presented my research as part of Auburn University's first 3 Minute Thesis competition, where students compete in condensing their research into 3 minutes. Click here to see a video of my presentation.
Photo from Auburn University Graduate School.

Miniature danionins: Paedocypris (upper left), Danionella (upper right), and Sundadanio (bottom) (Photo by M. Tan)




In the Fall of 2012, I presented my proposal seminar for my dissertation on the evolution of miniature danionins, and successfully passed qualifying exams to reach PhD candidacy.










Rosyside Dace Clinostomus funduloides, White Clay Creek, Christina River (Photo by M. Tan)



In the summer of 2012, I organized collecting of freshwater fishes from various localities in northern Delaware with volunteers (helpful friends!) as part of the All Cypriniformes Species Inventory, targeting Rhinichthys for C. Keith Ray's dissertation.

In March 2012, my first paper was published, a description of a new species of armored suckermouth catfish from Ecuador, Cordylancistrus santarosensis. Unique among Cordylancistrus, this species has intermediate loss of plates between the naked snout of Chaetostoma and the fully plated snout of other Cordylancistrus species. This paper was published open access in Zootaxa, and became one of the top 10 most highly accessed papers in Zootaxa for March 2012. This paper was covered in the media by National GeographicPractical FishkeepingSci-Newsand numerous blogs. Our collaborator Windsor Aguirre, who first collected the species, was featured by DePaul University (12). Cordylancistrus santarosensis holotype
(Photo by M. Tan)

Deep-fried 
Phalocronotus bleekeri is a tasty treat. (Photo by J.W. Armbruster)



In January 2012, I was lucky enough to travel to Thailand as part of the All Cypriniformes Species Inventory project. With colleagues, we collected specimens of Thai fishes from the Mun River and Mekong River. And of course, sampled the local cuisine! See my photo albums on Facebook: Parts 1, 2, 3.

At the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists 2011 in Minneapolis, MN, I presented a poster titled "Molecular phylogenetics of Hypancistrus (Loricariidae: Siluriformes) using cytochrome b." For my work, I was graciously awarded a Best Student Poster award by the Neotropical Ichthyological Association. Hypancistrus furunculus (Photo by M.H. Sabaj)

Scenic collection on a lake. (Photo by D. C. Werneke)


In the summer of 2011, I joined labmates C. Keith Ray, Carla Stout, and David Werneke of the Armbruster lab on a trip to collect freshwater fishes in the Great Lakes region (specifically Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) as part of the All Cypriniformes Species Inventory, targeting Rhinichthys for C. Keith Ray's dissertation.




In December 2010, I had the opportunity to do fieldwork in rainforest streams in Suriname, a South American country north of Brazil. I helped in collecting specimens and identifying species of fishes from remote streams.
Holding up a water lizard that is admittedly not a fish. (Photo by S.S. Piper)

I began my graduate studies at Auburn University the Fall of 2009. I was awarded a Graduate Dean's Fellowship on entering, which was awarded my first year I was enrolled.

  In Spring 2009, I graduated from the University of Delaware with an Honors Degree as a Bachelor of Sciences in the Biological Sciences with concentration in Ecology and Organismal Biology, Magna Cum Laude. I was also the first ever to minor in the newly minted Marine Studies. I also minored in Business Administration.