As of September 2019, the Bell Lab has (partially) moved to the California Academy of Sciences! Rayna is now Assistant Curator of Herpetology in the Institute for Biodiversity Science + Sustainability at CAS and a Research Associate with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). Most members of the Bell Lab are still based at the NMNH and so we’ll continue to be a bi-coastal lab as Rayna transitions to her new position.
Kristin Charles completed an undergraduate research project with me and Dr. Dan Portik when we were all at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. She collected genetic and phenotypic data from sky island, land-bridge island, and lowland rainforest populations of African leaf-folding frogs to investigate diversity and divergence across the Afrixalus paradorsalis species complex in Central Africa. Her newly accepted paper is: Charles, Kristin L., Bell, Rayna C., Blackburn, David C., Burger, Marius, Fujita, Matthew K., Jongsma, Gregory F.M., Leaché, Adam D., Portik, Daniel M. 2018. Sky, land-bridge, and forest islands: diversification in the African leaf-folding frog Afrixalus paradorsalis (Anura: Hyperoliidae) of Lower Guinea. Journal of Biogeography doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13365. Congratulations, Kristin!
Cassandra completed an undergraduate honors project with me while I was a postdoc at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. She measured 100s of notes from males of four different reed frog species (plus hybrids!) to investigate call divergence among closely related species. Her newly accepted paper is: Gilbert Cassandra M, Bell Rayna C. 2017. Evolution of advertisement calls in an island radiation of African reed frogs. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (in press) doi/10.1093/biolinnean/blx129/4629668. Congratulations, Cassandra!
It's finally starting to feel like autumn in D.C. and the Bell Lab is feeling very quiet after a busy summer. Here are Bell Lab members and friends staying cool in the shade at the annual Smithsonian Staff Picnic and Folk Life Festival while debating how best to spend our Smithsonian monopoly money on food and libations.
This is another one of my favorite photos from the summer: Mike, Dr. Billy Flint (James Madison University), Cerrie and Kyle searching for Plethodon dixi in Dixie Caverns during Type Locality Project fieldwork in Virginia.
Lab excursion to introduce summer Bell Lab visitors Mike and Kyle to Baltimore, Maryland with our own personal tour guide (and soon to be Dr.) Nicole Angeli and maritime enthusiast, Dr. Andrew Gottscho. The National Aquarium does not disappoint!
One of the many perks of being part of the Smithsonian Institution is that our organization includes 19 museums and nine research centers across the world! To celebrate Molly's first visit to the lab we took an afternoon field trip to the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (conveniently located right across the national mall) to check out the Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors exhibition.