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Past News

The Cohen lab cohosted the first BA-SURE symposium at RTC with NSF and 6 other REU site program participants including UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, the California Academy of Sciences, Baker University, UC Merced with Yosemite National Park, and San Jose State University.

Sarah gave an invited presentation on tunicate genetics at West Coast Regional Tunicate Management Meeting in Seattle, WA; followed by family fieldwork in the San Juan Islands with host Dianna Padilla (Stony Brook University and Friday Harbor Labs).

Another summer has flown by! REU, STAR, and other summer interns (including RTC's first high school intern presenter, Molly Moritzburke!) presented talks on their summer research on main campus and at RTC.

Welcome new high school research intern, Maddie Ryan, from Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton!

Summer 2013 undergraduate researcher Margot White received a travel award to attend the American Genetics Association meeting on Evolution and Plasticity in Seattle in June to present a poster on her analysis of MHC diversity and recombination rates in killifish populations with varying demographic histories

Congratulations to undergraduate researcher and RISE fellow Riley Smith (SFSU BS, Biology/BA American Indian Studies 2014)! On her way to the PhD program at Northern Arizona University where she will study amphibian genetic biomarkers related to contaminants in aquatic ecosystems!

Welcome summer interns Charlotte Marx (UCSD), Elizabeth Gutierrez (returning STAR intern and Master's candidate, UCBerkeley), and Molly Moritzburke (Redwood High School)!

Congratulations to Laura Melroy on her research award from the SFSU Graduate Student Council in Biology to further her seastar studies!

Welcome 2014 NSF REU EcoEvoDevo RTC interns (Anna Costanza from Goshen College, Daniel Zarate from Santa Barbara City College, Erin Marek from Transylvania University, David Franklin from Georgia Southern University, and Kelly Flanders from Pacific Lutheran University) to your host labs at RTC (Carpenter, Chang/Ruiz, Cochlan, Cohen, and Kimmerer) following your week of orientation and camping with main campus colleagues!

Darragh Clancy featured with sea vomit in Highlights from 2014 Google Science Fair Hangouts!

Congratulations to Joseph Spaulding on his CSUPERB travel award to carry out temporal resampling in Alaska

Welcome to Shana Gallagher from Tufts University, new summer intern studying Leptasterias with Laura Melroy

Former lab member Karen Alroy featured on the NSF DEB blog

Salt march harvest mouse immunogenetic research of Anastasia Ennis featured in Bay Nature

Sarah collected ascidians as part of the California Academy of Sciences Verde Island Passage NSF-funded Biotic Survey in the Philippines (April - May, 2014)

Graduate research seminars presented in the RTC Rosenberg Seminar Series by Joseph Spaulding (on chimerism in botryllid ascidians) and Anastasia Ennis (on population structure and immunogenetics of endangered salt marsh mice) (April 2014)

Congratulations to Beth Sheets on her new position in the Palumbi lab at Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, on Monterey Bay!

Congratulations to 2013 Cohen lab summer intern Margot White (Macalester College, HHMI) accepted to the PhD program at Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla!

Congratulations to former Cohen lab research tech and postbac Karen Alroy, DVM, now aAAAS NSF fellow!

Our seagrass genetics work covered here: SF State NewsSeagrass WatchScience CodexMarin Independent Journalphys.orgScienceDaily 

Seagrass restoration genetics in mesocosms paper published in PLOS One, featuring Cohen lab postdocs Brian Ort and Sheh May Tam
Conservation of Eelgrass (Zostera marina) Genetic Diversity in a Mesocosm-Based Restoration Experiment

Sarah presents at BAASICS.4 Watershed (Bay Area Art and Science Interdisciplinary Collaborative Sessions on Aquatic diversity in San Francisco Bay (ODC Theatre, January 2014)

Kristina Yu of the Exploratorium visits the lab to discuss collaborative microscopy presentations (January 2014)

Tricia's paper on acanthocephalan mole crab parasite phylogeography available in Early View, Journal of Biogeography

Undergraduate winter extern Rebecca Levine visits the lab for a week from Swarthmore College (January 2014)

Margot White visits the lab for a week of work writing up her summer project on MHC variability and bottlenecking (January 2014)

Congratulations to Anastasia Ennis on her CSU COAST award to further her research on endangered salt marsh harvest mouse immunogenetic variation related to population constriction (January 2014)

Presentations at the annual Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology in Austin, Texas this January included Cohen lab summer interns Margot White (HHMI, Macalester College; poster), Alejandro Bellon (Swarthmore College; talk), and Ashley Contreras (CSU STAR 2013; poster)

Beth Sheets presents her Master's thesis talk, Global phylogeography of the widely introduced tropical ascidian, Botrylloides nigrum, on December 18.

Sarah just returned from participation in a fascinating discussion on the past and future of the field of Evolution and Development (EvoDevo), and Ecology, thanks to the NSF-sponsored workshop in Durham, North Carolina at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent)

Congratulations Benson Chow, Calvin Lee, and Laura Melroy for your Biology Department IRA research awards! Thanks to everyone in the lab for thoughtful writing and editing.

Katie Nuessly presents her thesis talk, 
Do abiotic factors explain the local-scale distribution of the Leptasterias sea star?
November 22, 2013, RTC Bay Conference Center

Tricia Goulding's Master's accepted for publication in the Journal of Biogeography
Phylogeography of a marine acanthocephalan: lack of cryptic diversity in a cosmopolitan parasite of mole crabs.

Carrie Craig and Vanessa Guerra are presenting at the 2013 
Conference of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation. San Diego, CA. Nov. 3-7.

Talk: Different feeding in the larval and adult stages of an introduced copepod detected by 
DNA-based identification of prey in the gut. 
Carrie Craig, Wim Kimmerer, C. Sarah Cohen

Poster: Population genetic diversity of Ciona intestinalis sp. A on the Pacific coast of America. 
Vanessa Guerra and C. Sarah Cohen

Congratulations to Carrie Craig on her new paper in the Journal of Plankton Research
A DNA-based method for investigating feeding by copepod nauplii
Carrie Craig, Wim J. Kimmerer, and C. Sarah Cohen
published 14 October 2013, 10.1093/plankt/fbt104  [Abstract]

Welcome new Cohen lab graduate students: Ann Holmes, Calvin Lee, and Laura Melroy!

Darragh Clancy and Beth Sheets presented research talks on the genetics of invasive tunicates at the International Conference on Marine Bioinvasions in Vancouver, BC, August 20-23. They both received Early Career Scientist Travel Awards from the North Pacific Marine Science Organization to attend this conference. Sarah presented a Cohen/Kimmerer lab group project on invasive copepod diversity in San Francisco Bay.

Summer research interns from five RTC labs
 presented talks on their STAR, REU, HHMI and other work in the Bay Conference Center, August 8, before a potluck sponsored with the help of the RTC graduate student association. Thanks for a great summer and symposium!

Anastasia Ennis received a Great Lakes Education Scholarship Program award to fund her research on the population genetics of the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse in SF Bay marshes.

Poster presentation by Linda Shaw of NMFS, Juneau at the invasive species session of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region’s annual conference in Anchorage, Alaska of our collaborative research (with Benson Chow, Danielle Desmet, Peter Drell, Sarah Cohen) on interactions of Dvex with herring spawning 

Carrie Craig attended a two week course on "Larval Invertebrate Diversity, Form, and Function" at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Bocas del Toro, Panama, in July.

Gabriel Peixoto, a new undergraduate researcher in the NIH RISE program joins our lab.

Riley Smith (undergraduate Ecology major) was accepted into the Climate Change Scholars Program for Fall 2013. She presented her poster “Phylogeography of a Direct-Developing Seastar, Leptasterias aequalis, in Relation to the San Francisco Bay Outflow” at the 2013 Evolution Society Conference in Snowbird, Utah in June.

Welcome new high school research intern: Abigail Dunn from Branson High School in Marin

Welcome summer teacher researchers in the CeSAME STAR program! Damion Delton is back for his third summer! Elizabeth Guterriez and Ashley Contreras are here for their first time at RTC.

Welcome summer undergraduate research interns!  Noah Jaffe now from Pitzer College (and former high school volunteer), Margot White, HHMI scholar from Macalester College, RTC/SFSU REU intern Edgar Garcia from Brown University, and also collaboration with REU interns Tiare Schiller (Cochlan lab) and Janet Garcia (Todgham lab)

Ten NSF REU fellows arrive this week to begin 5th year of SFSU/RTC joint EcoEvoDevo program with 10 week research internships hosted individually by 10 laboratories on main campus and at RTC

Postdoctoral associate Dr. Vanessa Miller-Sims is starting our new project on genetic identification of seagrass accessions, a contract with the Washington Department of Natural Resources

Congratulations to undergraduates completing their degree this semester, including Cohen lab researcher and REU fellow: Erica Perry! Also, congrats to new graduate Scott Gablenz (bioinformatics 699 researcher, spring 2013).

Welcome back to Alejandro Bellon, summer undergraduate research intern from Swarthmore College (and previous January extern) here at RTC for 10 weeks to investigate flow and growth rates in colonial ascidians.

Riley Smith wins a prize for her poster on Leptasterias phylogeography at the SFSU College of Science and Engineering research showcase (May 2013).

Anastasia Ennis wins an SFSU Biology Department Arthur Nelson scholarship award for her proposed thesis work on endangered salt marsh harvest mouse population genetics (May 2013)

Katie Nuessly presents her poster on Leptasterias seastar aggregation behavior, a portion of her thesis work, at the SFSU Graduate Showcase (May 2013)

Visiting student researcher Natasha Kozlowski, joins us for 3 weeks from Alaska Pacific University, to work on Dvex growth experiments (April - May 2013)

Congratulations to Carrie Craig and Riley Smith for presenting their genetic work on local marine invertebrates at SFSU's Biology Department Open House! (April, 2013)

The Exploratorium (an experiential science museum) reopens at its new location on the Embarcadero in downtown San Francisco, on the waterfront at Pier 15, with new SF Bay focused exhibits such as Bay Voices and others developed with participation from Cohen lab members

Riley Smith receives NSF NESCENT funding to present her work on the phylogeography of inter-tidal sea stars, Leptasterias sps., in relation to water outflow of the San Francisco Bay at the Evolution conference, June 21-25, 2013, in Snowbird, Utah! 

Presentations at the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography meeting in New Orleans, LA (February 2013)! Sarah Cohen presented on genetic diversity in populations of Asian copepods established in the San Francisco estuary, and Carrie Craig presented her thesis work in progress on copepod feeding in the wild. We came home with good feedback and new intriguing questions to share with co-authors Erica Perry, Vanessa Miller-Sims, Catie Alves, and Wim Kimmerer!

Vanessa Guerra and Kathryn Nuessly received travel grants from the Graduate Student Council in Biology, SFSU

Presentations at the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology in San Francisco, January 2013, by Beth Sheets, Darragh Clancy, Riley Smith, Vanessa Guerra, summer interns Leah Lee, Erica Perry, Catie Alves and Abby Vander Linden, and including Cohen lab coauthors Carrie Craig, Vanessa Miller-Sims, and Joseph Spaulding. Fabulous job and great meeting!

Congratulations to Darragh Clancy for her COAST award to continue her work on the aggressive invasive tunicate, Didemnum vexillum, in California and Alaska

Congratulations to Anastasia, Carrie, Darragh, and Vanessa Guerra for winning SFSU IRA awards to further their research!

Congratulations to Darragh Clancy for winning a COAST travel award to present her work on the genetics of an aggressive invasive ascidian, Didemnum vexillum, at the January 2013 Alaska Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage, Alaska.

Riley Smith won an undergraduate poster presentation award at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society's (AISES) national conference in Anchorage, AK for her presentation entitled, "Phylogeography of a direct developing seastar, Leptasterias aequalis, in relation to San Francisco Bay outflow". (Nov. 2012)

The Blatchley Middle School EcoExplorers, 6th and 7th  grade group in Sitka, Alaska,  scoured the docks to collect invasive tunicate samples for our CSUPERB research on founder population genetics, a collaboration with Associate Professor Marnie Chapman of the University of Alaska Southeast, as well as the Sitka Sound Science Center.

Katie Nuessly presented an RTC seminar on her graduate research progress, on "The impact of temperature on brooding, dispersal, and distribution in the Leptasterias sea star"

Vanessa Guerra is presenting her work on Ciona invasion genetics in two hemispheres at the CERF 2012 conference in Mar del Plata, Argentina. The Changing Coastal and Estuarine Environment: A Comparative Approach11 - 14 November 2012 

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has approved an Alaska Fish and Wildlife Fund grant to support the "Invasive Tunicates Impacts on Pacific herring in Southeast Alaska" project, a collaboration with partners at NOAA, University of Alaska, Sitka Sound Science Center, and the Sitka Tribe of Alaska.

Riley Smith was awarded an IRA travel grant to present research at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society in Anchorage, AK (Oct. 2012)

Riley Smith presented her phylogenetic work on the native seastar Leptasterias aequalis at the SACNAS national conference in Seattle, WA (Oct. 2012)

Beth SheetsKathryn NuesslyRiley Smith and Darragh Clancy were awarded San Francisco Bay Scholarships (August 2012)

Anastasia EnnisDanielle Desmet, and Joseph Spaulding join the lab as Master's students (August 2012)

Beth Sheets attended the São Paulo School of Advanced Sciences Evolution course in Ilhabela, São Paulo, Brazil (August 2012)

The summer has gone too quickly! Leah Lee, Abby Vander Linden, Catie Alves, Erica Perry, Zach Sturbaum, and Julia Smith presented their research at the RTC Summer Intern Symposium, Wednesday August 8th, in the Bay Conference Center

Riley Smith was awarded the Climate Change Scholarship from the Center for Science and Mathematics Education for Fall 2012. Congrats, Riley!

RTC STAR (STEM Teachers and Researchers) arrived at RTC this week to start their. We welcome Julia Smith and Zachary Sturbaum to our lab this summer!

Welcome summer researchers Leah Lee (Swarthmore College) and NSF REU students Abby Vander Linden (UW, Seattle), Catie Alvies (Connecticut College), and Erica Perry (SFSU) to the Cohen lab (June 2012).

SFSU/RTC REU students arrived this week to begin their 5 day orientation to EcoEvoDevo in the Bay area with field trips to estuarine and outer coast sites, labs to learn about model and non-model developmental biology systems, and research methods from microscopy to plankton and transect sampling (June 2012).

Seagrass spatial genetic survey paper of SF Bay published online early in the Journal of Heredity

CSUPERB award, seed funding to further studies of ascidian invasions using a highly variable recognition locus

Darragh Clancy wins a CSUPERB travel award to further her research on Didemnum vexillum invasion genetics 

Xuman (Ariel) Tang defends her Master's thesis, “Responses to Change:  Asexual and Sexual Reproductive Patterns of Eelgrass (Zostera marina) in San Francisco Bay”.

NSF REU cross-campus site grant, BREED, an EcoEvoDevo program, renewed for 5 more years! 
PIs Carmen Domingo (main campus) and Sarah Cohen (RTC)

San Francisco Bay seagrass population genetics survey paper accepted for publication in the Journal of Heredity (February 2012)

Gretchen Lambert visits the lab (February 17, 2012)

Graduate students (Ariel Tang, Benson Chow, Vanessa Guerra, Darragh Clancy) and Sarah Cohen participate in Gretchen Lambert's Ascidian Taxonomy Workshop at MLML (February 14-16, 2012)

Benson Chow wins a CSU Coast award to support his research on carryover effects in native and invasive tunicates (February 2012)

Vanessa Guerra is attending the ReGeneC workshop in conservation genetics focused on South America, VIII Taller de Genética para la Conservación: nuevas herramientas y nuevos conceptos in Chillan, Chile with assistance from ReGeneC and a CSU COAST travel award (January 2012)

Benson Chow and Michelle Wray (summer 2010 STAR teacher intern) presented their poster on tunicate regeneration at the SICB annual meeting in Charleston, South Carolina (January 2012)

Beth Sheets, Riley Smith, and Katie Nuessly won IRA awards from the Biology Dept. 

Beth Sheets, Joseph Spaulding, and Tren Kauzer (summer 2011 STAR teacher intern) presented their work at the Western Society of Naturalists meeting in Vancouver, WA (Nov 2011)

Ariel Tang and Carrie Craig present at the Beyond the Golden Gate Research Symposium in San Francisco (November 2011)

David Lake presents his thesis defense on Halloween! Bicoastal bivalves have divergent parasite lineages.

Santa Rosa Junior College Biology Club tours with 4 faculty led by Dr. Shawn Brumbaugh (October 2011)

Katie Nuessly, Darragh Clancy, Beth Sheets, & Carrie Craig are awarded San Francisco Bay Scholarships (October 2011)

Beth Sheets and Benson Chow are awarded COAST Student Travel Awards to present their research at the 
Western Society of Naturalists and Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meetings (October 2011) 

Sarah Cohen is elected a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences (October 2011)

Didemnum vexillum in Alaska! 
Our collaborative Citizen's Science BioBlitz discovery featured online as an NSF Innovation
publication available here.

Ariel Tang and Carrie Craig present at the State of the San Francisco Estuary Conference on September 20 & 21

Darragh Clancy, Katie Nuessly, and Benson Chow join the lab as Master's students (August 2011)

Verena Wang starts PhD program at University of North Carolina, Wilmington in Dr. Michael McCartney's lab (August 2011)


Successful launch of a collaborative program between Cohen Lab especially Joseph Spaulding and SEA Explorers of Sausalito (August 2011)

Mariana Padron defends her Master's thesis on Atlantic seahorse phylogeography (August 2011)


Ariel Tang receives a San Francisco Bay Scholarship from RTC and an IRA travel grant (August 2011)


Cohen lab members, summer 2011, including summer interns
(STAR teacher researchers, NSF REU, and high school interns)

STAR and REU members share their research at the RTC Summer Research Symposium (August 2011) 

Vanessa Guerra travels to Peru for field work (July 2011)

Beth Sheets and Vanessa Guerra travel to Panama to attend the 2011 PASI: Advanced Tunicate Biology course (June 2011)

Carrie Craig receives an ARCS award (May 2011)

Beth Sheets and Carrie Craig receive CSU COAST student awards for their research (April 2011)

Carrie Craig and Bobby Vogt (Kimmerer lab) present their project plans at the Interagency Ecological Program Annual Workshop, at the California-Nevada American Fisheries Society conference (March 2011)

Ellen Kosman, a former undergraduate lab member, accepted a PhD position at Florida State University (March 2011)

Dr. Lisa Torres and her lab visit from CSU LA and discuss their work on bioluminescent organisms (March 2011)

Darragh Clancy receives a scholarship from the University of Washington to attend a Marine Invertebrate Zoology course at Friday Harbor Labs this summer (March 2011)

Tricia Goulding and David Lake present their research at the Northern California Parasitology meeting at the RTC. Tricia receives the Balamuth-Horen award for her oral presentation. (March 2011)

Vanessa Guerra and Beth Sheets are awarded funding to travel to Panama this June for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Advanced Tunicate Biology Course (March 2011)

Carrie Craig gives an oral presentation of her research at the RTC Spring Seminar Series (Feb 2011)

Tricia Goulding is accepted into a PhD program at the University of California, Merced (Feb 2011)

Mariana Padron is accepted to give an oral presentation at the Syngnathid Symposium in Sweden in April (Jan 2011)

David Lake, Tricia Goulding, and Verena Wang present their research at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
 meeting in Salt Lake City (Jan 2011)

Verena Wang successfully defends her Master's thesis! (Dec 2010)

Tricia Goulding is awarded first place for her presentation at the Systematics meeting in London (Dec 2010)

Ariel Tang and Tricia Goulding present their research at the Western Society of Naturalists meeting in San Diego (Nov 2010)