Jean Carlos Mattos-Reano is currently working on his Master’s thesis project using ancient and modern DNA samples to investigate the phylogenetics of Southern and Northern Cassowaries (Casuarius casuarius and Casuarius unappendiculatus). Strong variation suggests that populations are isolated in different lowland basins, though the subspecies boundaries remain unclear.
For her Master’s research, Hazel Thwin is conducting a molecular study of Fire-tailed Myzornis, Myzornis pyrrhoura, from the family Timaliidae. Hazel is a student of Academy Curator Dr. Jack Dumbacher.
Dr. Jerome Fuchs is currently working with Dr. David Mindell on a species level phylogeny of the worldwide distributed family Falconidae using a combination of mitochondrial and nuclear loci. They primarily aim to reconstruct the biogeographic history of the family and understand how they diversified during their evolutionary history.
Drs. Jack Dumbacher, Jerome Fuchs, and David Mindell are collaborating with Drs. Joseph DeRisi and Amy Kistler at UCSF to screen wild populations of birds for known and unknown viruses. They are testing the utility of ViroChip microarray technology, designed in the lab of Dr. DeRisi at UCSF, for the discovery of pathogens in wild bird populations. Technician Zach Hanna is currently applying viral screening techniques in the CCG lab to bird genetic samples from Papua New Guinea islands and several localities in California to describe and understand the role of viruses in natural populations.