Field of Science

Excavates and Rhizarians: A talk for phylogeny course

For this awesome undergrad phylogenetics course I'm taking, we get to do presentations discussing the diversity and evolution of various clades (in the case of 'unusual' and unpopular groups, of our own choosing), as the instructor really wanted to bring some organisms into the class. Of course I totally picked primates and scoffed at anyone who would talk about lowly slime. No, actually, quite shockingly, I kinda took over the protists. In fact, I couldn't decide between Rhizarians and Excavates, since I love them both, and asked the instructor for assistance in deciding between them. He was apparently likewise stumped, and dared to allow me double time (20min!) to do both. That made me really, really happy -- I was allowed to ramble on about protists for a whole twenty minutes!

To compensate for the sub-par blogging as of late (going a little insane with the chaos of 5 courses and research; speaking of the latter, I suddenly have to finish my entire project and write my part of the manuscript in the next six weeks o_O Suddenly got a new job that happens to be so fucking exciting I cannot find the words to properly describe it!!! In fact, I'm still kind of in shock and disbelief as it suddenly fell upon me seemingly out of nowhere. YAY! =D ), I'm gonna dump my presentation on you guys. It's full of sexy protist pictures, and I even bothered to make a narration to go along with it (go to Actions>Show speaker notes). Unfortunately, the 10MB limit means many of the nice images had to be shrunk and ruthlessly compressed, so it's note quite like the original. Also, I had to split it into two halves, and have only finished narration for the first half at the moment, and intend to finish the second half tomorrow or the day after.

Anyway, without further ado, here's the presentation:

Protist Talk Part 1: Excavates
Protist Talk Part 2: Rhizarians

Please let me know if there's any problems or questions or whatever. Also, it's not meant to be too detailed, as Powerpoint works best for actual talks, not narrating slides on the internet. Hopefully I'll get around to covering many of the points in blog format eventually...

PS: In contrast to my rant yesterday, this phylogeny course is actually completely AWESOME. The prof manages to make potential snorefest topics like Bayesian inference really interesting. And accessible. Like, the stuff actually makes sense and sticks in your head! I have heard good things about the course and its instructor, but even then it definitely surpassed my expectations. I'd go as far as to say this is my favourite course this year (aside from my own student-directed seminar, of course >_> should have some loyalty to that as a coordinator). Yeah, apparently Phylogenetic Biology can be one's favourite course of the year. Wayne Maddison can do that.

I think part of the magic is that he doesn't try to overwhelm us with the sheer magnitude of the field, and instead focuses on stuff that matters, and why it matters. All while keeping it in context with applications and biological relevance. At any given point, you actually understand why you're learning a given topic, and that seems to be essential both in teaching and presentation. And hard to master in both genres...

Or maybe I'm just secretly an evolutionary biologist. I'll keep denying that though...

EDIT 27.03.10: Finished narration for Part 2!


  1. Wow... Amazing.
    Both the presentation and the fact that you're still in undergraduation.

    I'm looking forward for your notes on the second presentation.

  2. Psi, you're the one that made protists cool for me.


Markup Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i>italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">FoS</a> = FoS