Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Michael Moore, Professor of Biology, publishes with colleagues from Spain in American Journal of Botany

Blanco-Sanchez M; Moore Michael J; Ramos-Munoz M; Pias B; Garcia-Fernandez A; Prieto M; Plaza L; Isabel I; Escudero A; Matesanz S. Phylogeography of a gypsum endemic plant across its entire distribution range in the western Mediterranean. American Journal of Botany, Early View, March 2021. DOI: 10.1002/ajb2.1625

Conclusions of this research, from the abstract: "Lepidium subulatum diverged from its nearest relatives similar to 3 million years ago, and ITS and psbA/matK trees supported the monophyly of the species. These results suggest that both geological and climatic changes in the region around the Plio-Pleistocene promoted its origin, compared to other evolutionary processes... Despite being an edaphic endemic, Lepidium subulatum possesses high genetic diversity probably related to its relatively old age and high population sizes across its range. Our study highlights the value of using different markers to fully understand the phylogeographic history of plant species."

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Co-authors He Ren '20, Jane Sedlak '19, and Matthew Elrod publish in Environmental Science and Technology

 This latest article from alumni Ren and Sedlak, former research students in the Elrod lab, describes a method "that allows for the study of the reaction of sulfate radicals and several olefinic precursors." 

Ren, He; Sedlak, Jane A.; Elrod, Matthew J. 2021. General mechanism for sulfate radical addition to olefinic volatile organic compounds in secondary organic aerosol.  Environmental Science & Technology 55(3): 1456-1465  DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.0c05256 (goes to American Chemical Society publications site)

From the abstract:
"Specific mechanisms for each olefinic precursor were developed, as well as a generalized mechanism that can be used to predict the sulfate radical reaction pathways for any olefin. The product yield results indicate that this mechanism is dominated by carbon backbone fragmentation pathways: 61, 83, 79, and 100% for AA, MVK, MBO, and MA, respectively. Several of the observed organosulfate products have also been detected in field observations of SOA, which indicates the potential relevance of this mechanism in the atmosphere."  Learn more about Professor Elrod's research interests.

Friday, March 19, 2021

New Publications from Matt Elrod, Oberlin alumni, and Aaron Goldman

New Publications from Chemistry Faculty and Alumni, and Biology Faculty:

Elrod, Matthew J., Professor of Chemistry; Jane A. Sedlak (OC '19); He Ren (OC '20). Accurate Computational Model for the Hydration Extent of Atmospherically Relevant Carbonyls on Aqueous Atmospheric Particles. ACS Earth and Space Chemistry 2021, 5, 348-355.  (full-text access through Interlibrary Loan)

Cover, Journal of Molecular Evolution

Goldman, Aaron D
., Associate Professor of Biology; Liberles, D. A. The Journal of Molecular Evolution Turns 50. Journal of Molecular Evolution.  DOI: 10.1007/s00239-021-10000-w, Early Access, Feb. 2021.

Thursday, March 04, 2021

Kevin Woods publishes in Semigroup Forum; Aaron Goldman in Journal of Molecular Evolution

Two new publications from Math and Biology faculty; as indexed in Web of Science 

Bogart, T., Goodrick, J. and Woods, Kevin (Professor and Chair of Mathematics). Periodic behavior in families of numerical and affine semigroups via parametric Presburger arithmetic. - Semigroup Forum DOI: 10.1007/s00233-021-10164-3 (Early access; no volume or pagination available)  Subscriber access at publisher's website (SpringerLink)

From the abstract: The tool we use is expressibility in the logical system of parametric Presburger arithmetic. Generalizing to higher dimensional families of semigroups, we also examine affine semigroups  SnNm generated by vectors whose coordinates are polynomial functions of n, and we prove that in this case the Betti numbers are also eventually quasi-polynomial functions of n.

Goldman, Aaron. D
. (Associate Professor of Biology) and Kacar, B. Cofactors are Remnants of Life's Origin and Early Evolution. - Journal of Molecular Evolution  DOI: 10.1007/s00239-020-09988-4 (Early access; no volume or pagination available)  Free full text at publisher's website (SpringerLink)

From the abstract: The RNA World is one of the most widely accepted hypotheses explaining the origin of the genetic system used by all organisms today. It proposes that the tripartite system of DNA, RNA, and proteins was preceded by one consisting solely of RNA, which both stored genetic information and performed the molecular functions encoded by that genetic information. Current research into a potential RNA World revolves around the catalytic properties of RNA-based enzymes, or ribozymes....Evidence from prebiotic geochemistry, ribozyme biochemistry, and evolutionary biology, increasingly supports these hypotheses. Certain coenzymes and cofactors may bridge modern biology with the past and can thus provide insights into the elusive and poorly-recorded period of the origin and early evolution of life.

Monday, March 01, 2021

From LEED office buildings to Mars rover: new publications from John Scofield and Christina Smith

Recent publications from John Scofield, Professor of Physics, and Christina Smith, Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics, as reported in Web of Science

Scofield, John H., Brodnitz, S., Cornell, J., Liang, T. and Scofield, T. 2021. Energy and Greenhouse Gas Savings for LEED-Certified US Office Buildings.  Energies

From the abstract: [Here]we present results from the largest study of measured, whole-building energy performance for commercial LEED-certified buildings, using 2016 energy use data that were obtained for 4417 commercial office buildings... Only LEED offices certified at the gold level demonstrated statistically significant savings in source energy and greenhouse gas emissions as compared with non-LEED offices. 

Energies is a peer-reviewed, open access journal from MDPI, "a pioneer in scholarly open access publishing".

Journal cover: JGR Planets

Smith, Christina L
., Lemmon, M., Moores, J. E., et al. 2020. The Line-of-Sight Extinction Record at Gale Crater as Observed by MSL's Mastcam and Navcam through similar to 2,500 Sols.  Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets 125: e2020JE006465.

From the abstract: [Finding based on monitoring by Mars rover Curiosity]... Extinction as a function of azimuth and elevation angle were investigated and the extinction as a function of azimuth was generally found to be smooth and thus the dust well-mixed horizontally. The extinction as a function of elevation shows increased dust loading at lower elevations during dusty seasons, indicative of dust lifting from the base of the crater.

JGR-Planets is one of dozens of journals published by the American Geophysical Union, accessible in the Wiley Online Library.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Dan Stinebring collaborates in NANOGrav, resulting in three new publications

 These three articles were published in December 2020, from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves.  Professor of Physics Dan Stinebring has long collaborated in the NANOGrav Collective.


  • Alam, M. F., Arzoumanian, Z., Baker, P. T., et al. 2021a. The NANOGrav 12.5 yr Data Set: Observations and Narrowband Timing of 47 Millisecond Pulsars. - Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 252: 4.
  • Alam, M. F., Arzoumanian, Z., Baker, P. T., et al. 2021b. The NANOGrav 12.5 yr Data Set: Wideband Timing of 47 Millisecond Pulsars. - Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 252: 5.
  • Arzoumanian, Z., Baker, P. T., Blumer, H., et al. 2020. The NANOGrav 12.5 yr Data Set: Search for an Isotropic Stochastic Gravitational-wave Background. - Astrophysical Journal Letters 905: L34.

 Learn more about NANOGrav.

Access Astrophysical Journal Letters and Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series at The Institute of Physics, IOP Science website (subscribers only).

Friday, February 05, 2021

Research of Michael Moore and collaborators featured in "Plants Are Cool, Too!"

 Reposted from the Oberlin College Campus Digest, February 5, 2021: 

Mike Moore walking with others through forested area on Kaua'i
The research of Professor of Biology Mike Moore and collaborators (including several Oberlin students) on rare Hawaiian plants is the subject of the January 28, 2021 episode of the "Plants Are Cool, Too!" video series. The episode "How to save a species from going extinct," documents the many biologists involved in preventing the extinction of ultra-rare plants that grow only on the island of Kaua'i.
(see Faculty and Staff Notes)
Image extracted from the video

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Roger Laushman publishes in Plant and Soil, with Jake Nash '16 (now at Duke Univ) and C. Schadt, Univ Tennesee

Nash, Jake, Laushman, Roger, Professor of Biology, & Schadt, Christopher. (2020). Ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity interacts with soil nutrients to predict plant growth despite weak plant-soil feedbacks. Plant and Soil, 453(1-2), 445-458. doi:10.1007/S11104-020-04616-Y  
From a special issue:  Agroforestry: a belowground perspective.

Burr Oak leaves and acorn, image from USDA
via Wikimedia Commons
Partial abstract: "We investigated whether plant-soil feedbacks of an ectomycorrhizal tree (Quercus macrocarpa) [Burr Oak] varied based on soil nutrient status and whether fungal community composition and diversity could explain feedback patterns. ...There was a positive home vs. away plant-soil feedback, though feedbacks with individual hosts were not significant regardless of fertilization. Still, hosts harbored distinctive fungal communities that were predictive of plant growth."