The Mills Lab is on Fire: Four successful defenses in April!


April 2019 was a momentous time for the Mills lab as we saw three graduate students and one undergraduate student successfully defend their dissertations or thesis and graduate!

On April 19th we had a double-header, as  PhD Candidate (and "Mother of Hares") Marketa Zimova and MS Candidate Tashi Dhendup successfully presented and defended their research.  Marketa's dissertation research talk "Evolutionary ecology of color molt phenology and camouflage mismatch" covered several fascinating studies on color molt phenology and camouflage mismatch in color molting species across North America and also Europe.  Tashi's MS thesis defense "Tiger monitoring in Bhutan using non-invasive genetic tools" focused on his efforts to estimate tiger density in Bhutan and to develop robust and cost-effective tools for tiger monitoring.

The following week, MS Candidate Brandon Davis presented and successfully defended his thesis "Weasely recognized or stoatally camouflaged: Quantifying coat color of a cryptic predator," focusing on the coat color molt in sympatric species, snowshoe hares and weasel species in West Virginia and Montana.  Finally, our undergrad student and "hare-whisper" Lindsay Barnard also successfully defended her undergrad thesis, "Behavioral plasticity to reduce camouflage mismatch in snowshoe hares," which looked at behavioral plasticity in the hares at our captive facility.

While we are so proud and excited for Market (Dr. Zimova!), Tashi, Brandon and Lindsay, we are also of course sad to see them go.  Collaborations will no doubt continue however, and we are sure they will do great things as they move on.

We'll continue to post more about these amazing students as they all deserve individual posts reflecting  on their work and futures, but for now we wanted to make sure we recognize and say congratulations to all four of them!! We'll miss you!

-Jen Feltner, PhD Candidate


Feature Image: Clockwise from top left corner: Marketa, Tashi, Lindsay and Brandon presenting their research


Image 1: The group from the Mills-Mitchell lab retreat following everyone's defenses (Image credit Tashi Dhendup)