Luke judges science fair

Luke and fellow UH graduate student, Sarah Tucker, getting ready to judge a local science fair.

I recently volunteered to judge at the annual science fair for a local middle school. It was really inspiring to see all the creativity in the room. The whole experience was a good reminder of why I got into science in the first place. I feel that as we get more and more focused on a single subject (e.g., speciation of island birds), we tend to forget that our work should still be fun and exciting. These kids reminded me of that. What a great experience!

  • Luke
Posted in outreach, research, UH

Fieldwork on Kauai

Luke recently returned from conducting fieldwork in the upper reaches of the island of Kauai. Here, in some of the last remaining intact Hawaiian forests, native birds actually outnumber introduced birds!

Seen here is ‘anianiau, a Hawaiian honeycreeper endemic to Kauai.

The view from camp!

Posted in genomics, Natural History, research, travel

Fieldwork on Oahu’s offshore islets!

Val is conducting herpetological surveys on Oahu’s windward offshore islets and is also sampling two species of lizard to gain insight into introduction rates and population structure.


Posted in herps, Natural History, research, travel

Luke represents NatSci at SACNAS

Luke and colleagues represent the University of Hawaii College of Natural Sciences at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science conference in Honolulu this week.

Posted in conferences, outreach, UH

Fall 2020 Lab meeting schedule

  • Sept. 17 – Phylogenetic Path Models
  • Sept. 24 – Amber
  • Oct. 1 – Van
  • Oct. 8 – Veronica
  • Oct. 15 – Jan
  • Oct. 22 – Val
  • Oct. 29 – AJ
  • Nov. 5 – Open
  • Nov. 12 – Robyn
  • Nov. 19 – Jordan
  • Nov. 26 – Luke
  • Dec. 3 – Riley
  • Dec. 10 – Andy


Posted in lab, UH

Article in Kaleo student newspaper by Val

Val has a new popular article out in the University’s student newspaper Kaleo on bioplastics. Check it out here.

Posted in conservation, Natural History, outreach, UH

Burgess Shale!

Becky Chong and I had the chance to visit the Burgess Shale the other day, which has been a career-long dream of mine. It’s an incredible hike high up in the Canadian Rockies with beautiful views and many many fossils. It seemed like every other rock had something in it.

Posted in Natural History, travel

JMIH 2019

Some of us will be in Snowbird, Utah July 24-28 for the 2019 Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. If you’re around, please come say hi and check out these talks!

26 July – Friday

11:30 am. Sean Harrington, Riley Parks, Robert Thomson. Tip-dated phylogenetics and biogeography of Xenosaurus (Ballroom 3 – Cliff Lodge)

27 July – Saturday

2:45 pm. Van Wishingrad, Robert Thomson. Sceloporus occidentalis lizard landscape genetics in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. (Primrose A&B)



Posted in conferences, herps, travel

Field work

Anthony and I are just back from some fieldwork in the desert southwest focusing on our new NSF-funded whiptail project. Me, him, and Amber Wright did a big loop through Arizona, New Mexico, and west Texas. He has a nice writeup over at his website.


Amber and Bob prepping specimens near Socorro, NM.


Posted in herps, Natural History, research, travel

Evolution 2019 talk videos

In case you missed it, check out videos of Thomson Lab talks from this year’s Evolution meeting (list will be updated as videos are available)

The role of geography and climate in the global diversification of turtles
Bob Thomson
Part of: The bright side of phylogenetics 1

Spatial scale and gene flow in landscape genetics processes
Van Wishingrad, Bob Thomson
Part of: Gene Flow 1

Patterns of phylogenetic MCMC convergence across empirical datasets
Sean Harrington, Bob Thomson
Part of: Systematics 2

The role of model testing and evaluation in phylogenomics
Jeremy Brown, Bob Thomson, Lyndon Coghill, Ashley Schoonmaker, Lauren Rodriguez
Part of: Phylogenomics 2


Posted in lab, travel, Uncategorized