Recent News

Jetsetter! Jill gives talk at Trends in Biodiversity and Evolution Conference

Look out Portugal, Jill has arrived and is ready to dazzle the world with her talk at TiBE 2022 – The Biology of Colour! Jill is introducing her new software package for analyzing visual pattern complexity from digital images. Good luck Jill!

Celebrity alert! Dolph Schluter visits U of T

The Mahler Lab had the honour of hosting Dr. Dolph Schluter from the University of British Columbia as this week’s invited seminar speaker. Dolph is a distinguished scientist best known for his seminal work on character displacement in Darwin’s finches and the adaptive radiation of three spine sticklebacks! Thanks for the great talk and company Dolph.

Dolph uses lizard pole from Mahler Lab fieldwork as pointer during seminar

Let’s get political! MP visits Mahler Lab

This week members of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department met with MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith. We gave him a tour of the Mahler lab and discussed all of the cool research going on. Thanks for taking the time to talk science funding, Nathaniel!

Rowan presenting at 2022 ESA, ESC, and ESBC Joint Annual Meeting

Watch out Vancouver, Rowan will be presenting her work on insect aggregation pheromones at the joint meeting of The Entomological Society of America (ESA), Entomological Society of Canada (ESC), and the Entomological Society of British Columbia (ESBC). Good luck Rowan!

Slide from Rowan’s talk

Martha Muñoz visits U of T

Our lab was so excited to host Dr. Martha Muñoz from Yale University this week as our department’s invited seminar speaker. She gave a great talk about the anole thermal “nitch” and shared many great stories from her and Luke’s glory days! You will be missed Martha!

Martha and Luke enjoy a well deserved post-seminar pint at the GSU

New BJLS paper out NOW

Hot off the press! In collaboration with Rachel Goodman, Ken and Luke publish a new paper describing how climate shapes patterns of sexual size and shape dimorphism across the native range of the green anole lizard. Check it out in the publications page!

A day in the life of fieldwork with two assistants vs. no assistants

Jill and Rowan in Panama

Jill and Rowan are off to Panama for 6 weeks of fieldwork; Jill studying anoles and Rowan studying longhorn beetles! They are joined by two assistants, undergrad Michelle Su (University of Toronto) and PhD student Jana Riederer (University of Groningen). Goodluck out there guys… gotta catch em all!

New Ecology Letters paper out now!

See the publications page to check out the latest Mahler Lab paper describing our work investigating the evolution of community structure in Caribbean anoles.

Bow down to Master Miriam

Congratulations to our very own Miriam for successfully defending her MSc thesis! She is officially a master and is soon heading down to University of Chicago to start her PhD. We are so proud!!!

Rowan gives talk at the European Society of Evolutionary Biology Congress

Fresh out of the field Rowan is back on a plane heading to Prague to give a talk at ESEB 2022. You can catch Rowan’s talk at the adaptation along environmental gradients symposium. Knock em dead Rowan!

Figure from Rowan’s talk

Jill wins an OGS

Defeating poverty? Not quite, but still, Jill won an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, congrats!!

Rowan elected grad rep for SSB Council

She’s on a roll folks! Rowan was just elected the graduate student representative on the council for the Society of Systematic Biologists. Rowan will represent and advocate for the interests of grad students for the next two years. Go Rowan!!

Rowan wins EEB Outstanding TA award

Unsurprisingly Rowan won this year’s EEB Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. Rowan was nominated by students in EEB380 (Diversity of Insects). Congrats Rowan!

Mahler Lab takes Puerto Rico

The Mahler Lab and the Frishkoff Lab (UT Arlington) have headed down to Puerto Rico to continue fieldwork for their mark resample project. Our very own Gavia is leading a team of four UofT undergrads for the next two months! Good luck and happy herping everyone!

Mahler Lab EGSA Representation Alert

The Mahler Lab has swept the EEB Graduate Student Association (EGSA) election this year! Jill passes the torch down to Rowan as the new Co-President (alongside Eniolaye Balogun from the Ness Lab), Gavia is the new Secretary, and Jill takes over as Atwood Chair and Social Rep! Congrats guys!

Rowan heads to STRI for fieldwork

Our very own Rowan French is headed down to Panama today to start her 3 month fellowship at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)! She will be there studying her favourite organism, the longhorn beetle!

Gavia passes appraisal exam

Gavia’s quick wit and love for data analysis finally paid off.. she passed her appraisal exam unconditionally! Congratulations PhD Candidate Gavia!

Anolis bimaculatus spotted in the Quill Crater

While STENAPA rangers in Statia informed Jill and Gavia that the green tree lizard (A. bimaculatus) could not be found in the Quill National Park, that didn’t stop them from looking. Deep in the crater of the dormant volcano they found the charismatic lizard species high in a silk cotton tree (pictured below with A. schwartzi)!

Lizard gold mine discovered in Anguilla

Anolis gingivinus is a species living on the edge… the edge of the barren, spikey, coral island of Anguilla. Luckily Jill and Gavia’s love of the beach led them to stumble upon Katouche Bay, which doubles as a beautiful beach and an anole gold mine!

Making progress in the two species island of Grenada

After many days of only collecting big boi Anolis richardii, Jill and Gavia almost gave up hope on finding the elusive Anolis aeneus… but aha! With the expert help of PhD student and Grenadian naturalist Leon Radix, they finally struck gold.

Jill and Gavia start fieldwork in Saint Lucia

Jill and Gavia are off to quite the start with their field season in the Lesser Antilles! As you can see in the image below they are still getting the hang of the lizard photography protocol…

New Mahler Lab paper en route!

New lab preprint up describing our work investigating the evolution of community structure in Caribbean anoles. Check it out! https://www.authorea.com/doi/full/10.22541/au.164484365.50484282/v1

Jill wins Rosemary Grant Advanced Award

Winner winner chicken dinner! Jill lands another Graduate Research Excellence Grant, this time from the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE). Congrats Jill!

Paper out by Ken and Chris

Check out the new paper by lab member Ken and lab alum Chris Boccia exploring Bergmann’s Rule in Microlophus lizards! We love Bergmann’s rule in this lab, can’t wait to read it. Congrats boys!!

Rowan passes appraisal exam

Despite not a single member of the Mahler lab being in attendance, Rowan had an amazing appraisal exam today and passed UNCONDITIONALLY. Her lifelong love of beetles finally has a practical purpose. Congratulations CANDIDATE ROWAN!!!!!

Jill wins Ontario Graduate Scholarship

Finally, Jill takes home a major external award! Congrats on landing the OGS!


Jill is elected EGSA co-president

Congratulations to our very own Jill Sanderson on being elected EGSA co-president (along side Bianca Sacchi of the Wright lab) and IT rep! Good luck in your new roles Jill!


Media coverage of Boccia et al. 2021

Check out cool coverage of Chris Boccia’s rebreathing anole work in Popular Science! Also, be sure to read Chris’ account of the story behind the project over at AnoleAnnals.


Ken gives invited lecture at university in Peru

In a full circle moment, Ken was invited to speak at his undergrad university, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia. He gave a great guest lecture about ecomorphology in lizards to an undergrad zoology class!


Miriam and Ken present at OE3C

Our lab was well represented at this year’s Ontario Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution Colloquium! Miriam presented a poster about her masters research and Ken gave a talk on femur architecture and bone mineral density. If you missed it, you can check out Ken’s talk on YouTube here. Great job guys!!


Rowan wins SSB award

Congratulations to our very own Rowan French for receiving the Graduate Student Research Award (GSRA) from the Society of Systematic Biologists!!


Boccia et al. 2021 Anolis rebreathing paper out now

Check out lab member Chris Boccia’s awesome new paper about aquatic anoles that use bubbles to breathe underwater! You can find the paper by visiting our Publications page and don’t forget to check out the media coverage by National Geographic. Congrats Chris!

Water anole, Anolis aquaticus, underwater with partially-formed bubble on its snout.
Photograph by collaborator Lindsey Swierk

Jill passes appraisal exam

With a 62 page document, excellent seminar, and comical answers to the question bank, Jill passed her appraisal exam unconditionally! Congratulations PhD Candidate Jill!


Gavia wins prestigious Vanier Scholarship

Congratulations to Gavia Lertzman-Lepofsky for winning the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS)! This significant financial award is designed to attract and retain world-class doctoral students, so huge congrats to our very own Gavia!!


Zifang and Sarah win undergrad poster prizes

Congratulations to undergraduates Zifang Xiong and Sarah Ravoth for winning best posters in the 2021 EEB Undergraduate Research Fair for Biodiversity & Morphology and Genetics, Evolution & Environment, respectively. While Sarah is technically only an honorary lab member.. we still claim her win as one of our own! Amazing job guys.


Jill gives talk at ASN Virtual Asilomar Conference

Jill gave a great research talk at the (sadly) virtual ASN conference this past weekend! If you missed the talk, you can catch it here around 3:40:00. Awesome job Jill!


Ken passes appraisal exam

Unsurprisingly Ken absolutely crushed his appraisal exam and is officially a PhD Candidate, congratulations Ken!!


Rowan wins NSERC CGSD Scholarship

Wow, she’s on a roll! Rowan was just awarded the CGSD award from NSERC. Congratulations!


Rowan wins STRI short-term fellowship

Rowan was just awarded a fellowship to conduct research as the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute! Congrats Rowan, have fun in Panama this summer!!


Jill wins Sigma Xi award

Congratulations Jill on winning a competitive Grant in Aid of Research award from Sigma Xi!

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