USDA Exploratory grant – CPB resequencing study

A postdoctoral position will be available in Dr. Sean Schoville’s lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in collaboration with Dr. Yolanda Chen (University of Vermont) and Dr. David Hawthorne (University of Maryland).



Understanding the mechanisms underlying rapid evolutionary change, particularly at the scale of the whole genome, is an important challenge for both theoretical and applied evolutionary biology. This project focuses on the Colorado potato beetle, and its relatives, to understand the structural and functional genomic changes associated with the beetle’s host range expansion onto potato, the colonization of novel climatic regimes, and the rapid development of insecticide resistance (to over 50 classes of insecticides!). With a dataset comprising 100 whole genomes, this is an excellent opportunity to publish a number of high-profile research papers.


Position Responsibilities:

The post-doctoral associate will have the opportunity to analyze whole-genome resequence data to assess the population genomics and structural genomic changes across a diverse sample of Colorado potato beetle genomes. This project will provide training opportunities in bioinformatics analysis, population genetic modeling and phylogenomic analysis. Desirable skills for this project include familiarity with Linux operating systems and computer programming (Perl, Python, and/or R), as well as previous experience analyzing population genetic data.


How to Apply:

Funding for this position is available for 1 year with the possibility of extension. The annual salary will range from $36,000 – $42,000/year, depending on experience, and health insurance benefits are provided. To apply, please send a single pdf with a cover letter, a CV, 1-2 representative publications, and names and contact information for 3 references to Dr. Sean Schoville, email:, by December 21, 2015. The start date is flexible but preference will be given to candidates that can begin early in 2016. The University of Wisconsin is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.


For more information about the research in our groups, please go to:

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On Relocalizing Vermont – hosted by Carl Etnier on WGDR

Yolanda was a guest speaker on WGDR on Carl Etnier’s radio show called “Relocalizing Vermont”

A streaming broadcast can be found here.


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New paper in a special issue of Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata

Chase and Kristian helped to co-author a paper with my collaborators, Rieta Gols and Betty Benrey. It is featured in a Special Issue of Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata featuring speakers from the 15th Society for Insect-Plant Interactions, held last year in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

This was Chase and Kristian’s first paper!

Chen, Y. H., R. Gols, C. A. Stratton, K. A. Brevik, B. Benrey. 2015. Complex tritrophic interactions in response to crop domestication: predictions from the wild. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 156(4):XX-XX.


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Rapid Evolution of Insect Pests in Agroecosystems

Sean Schoville and I are convening a symposium titled, “Rapid Evolution of Insect Pests in Agroecosystems”. This symposium is part of the International Congress of Entomology.

2016 XXV International Congress of Entomology, in Orlando, Florida, USA | September 25-30.

An unresolved challenge for agriculture is to understand how to manage the inherent ability of insect pests to rapidly evolve and overcome pest control measures. This symposium will broaden the entomology community’s understanding of rapid evolutionary processes that characterize pest adaptation to agroecosystems. Understanding rapid evolutionary change is a critical component to seeing “beyond the borders of entomology”, in order to explain and mitigate the inherent dynamism of arthropod pests to respond to (and frequently overcome) human management practices. To accomplish this goal, we have drawn on the diverse expertise of international researchers working in phylogeography, population genetics, invasion genetics, evolutionary theory, pesticide resistance, and pest management, covering a broad range of arthropod pests. We propose that greater knowledge on evolutionary processes, system complexities, and management strategies that can be used to improve agroecosystem sustainability.

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Increasingly, everyone is eating the same foods around the world.

Here is a really interesting interactive site that shows how people around the world are increasingly eating the same foods.

Hence, the homogenization of the world’s food supply allows insect pests of crops to achieve far broader distributions than previously possible.

Food is becoming increasingly less tied to endemic plants and animals. Here is another interesting article from National Geographic:

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