Jessica A. Rick

PhD Student, CE Wagner Lab, University of Wyoming

TAFIRI R Workshop 2018

This past week, fellow Wagner Lab PhD student Jimena Golcher-Benavides and I had the opportunity to teach a 3-day R workshop for scientists from the Tanzanian Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI). The workshop comes out of a collaboration between the Wagner Lab and TAFIRI Kigoma, and was taught at the TAFIRI facilities in Kigoma, Tanzania. We had 21 researchers attend the workshop, who traveled to Kigoma from TAFIRI stations all over the country. We were also joined by guest instructor Masumbuko Semba, PhD student at the University of Dar es Salaam. Most participants had little to no previous exposure to R, but all were eager to learn.

Previously, I thought R was just a part of the alphabet; but now, I know that it is a powerful tool to help me with my research, and I look forward to learning even more.
— R Workshop Participant
 Beautiful bags for the participants, designed by fellow instructor Jimena.

Beautiful bags for the participants, designed by fellow instructor Jimena.

We spent a busy three days covering the basics of R and R Studio, from setting a working directory to importing and exporting data, to finally plotting and running statistics on those data. As instructors, it was an incredible experience to share our own knowledge of this powerful statistical software in an effort to provide these researchers with a tool to bring their research to the next level. Participants came early and stayed late, often continuing to work through coffee and lunch breaks in a desire to make as much progress and learn as much as possible from the short workshop.

 Participants hard at work learning R.

Participants hard at work learning R.

Though each participant went through struggles and frustrations along the way, every single person had a smile on their face as they shared their pride in their accomplishments during presentations on the last afternoon. They encouraged each other to "practice often" so that they don't forget the things they learned, and there was resounding agreement to one participant's closing remarks that he wished for a week of such learning, rather than our short three days together.

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This workshop was co-funded by TAFIRI and a grant to CE Wagner from the National Science Foundation. Jimena and Jessica were funded by grants from the University of Wyoming Center for Global Studies (JGB), Program in Ecology (JGB), and NASA Space Grant Consortium (JAR).

Population genetics of wolf harvest -- paper out in Conservation Genetics

I am excited to announce that my paper on the effects of harvest on population genetics and gene flow in Minnesota wolves came out as an "online first" paper in Conservation Genetics this week! The paper can be found here, or you can access the PDF here.

This is my first peer-reviewed publication, and I am excited that it is finally out!

 Figure 4 from  Rick et al. 2017 , showing heat maps of areas of resistance to gene flow (orange) and corridors to gene flow (blue) in the Minnesota wolf population before and after harvest.

Figure 4 from Rick et al. 2017, showing heat maps of areas of resistance to gene flow (orange) and corridors to gene flow (blue) in the Minnesota wolf population before and after harvest.

Grants for Africa fieldwork!

I am excited to share that I have received two grants for conducting fieldwork in Tanzania this coming summer, one from the UW Center for Global Studies, and one from the Society for Freshwater Science! These grants make it possible for me to travel to Kigoma, Tanzania, to collect Lates specimens from Lake Tanganyika, and to see the lake in-person.

I am honored to be awarded these grants, and can't wait to see the place that I've been reading so much about!

 Mahale National Park, as seen from Lake Tanganyika. Image from the  Tanzania Tourism website .

Mahale National Park, as seen from Lake Tanganyika. Image from the Tanzania Tourism website.

Joining the Wagner Lab

This fall, I will be joining Dr. Katie Wagner's lab at the University of Wyoming and becoming a part of the Program in Ecology, Botany Department, and Biodiversity Institute! I will be studying fish evolutionary genetics/genomics on a project yet to be determined.