Saturday, December 15, 2012

Entomological Society of America Meeting

It has been a while since I've updated the lab blog, and a lot has been going on.

I attended the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America in November in Knoxville, Tennessee,  Knoxville is a wonderful place, and if you haven't been, you really should go.  The fall colors were just starting to fade when I arrived.

Fall foliage in Knoxville
I spent the week catching up with colleagues, friends and former students.  One of the best surprises of the meetings was catching up with Christian Carter, now a graduate student at Mississippi State University, but formerly of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  Christian worked as a lab technician with Theo Sumnicht in my former lab for almost two years.  He now works with population models for cactus moths.

Christian presents his research at the ESA meeting

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fifth International Fire Congress

I recently attended the Fifth International Fire Congress, hosted by the Association for Fire Ecology.

Highlights from the conference:

Below is my poster, highlighting my work on the effects of prescribed fire on Ozark forest ant communities.  I completed this work under the advisement of Dr. Steve Yanoviak.

Here's Kyle Lapham from The Nature Conservancy's Iowa Field Office talking about collaborative work in fire implementation.

Micah-John Beierle presents his research on the fire history of the southern rolling plains of Texas during one of the presentation sections.  Micah recently completed an M.S. in the Texas Tech University Department of Natural Resources under the advisement of Dr. Ernest Fish.

Several colleagues and myself live-tweeted the conference, including @TTU_firelab, @firescienceGOV, @Nature_fire, @ThatFireSciGuy, and others.  Posts can be found under #firecon12

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Verble Lab Roadshow

Dr. Verble-Pearson will be traveling for the next couple of weeks to attend the Entomological Society of America meeting in Knoxville and meet with colleagues and collaborators.

Meanwhile, the undergraduate workers are making great progress on their work-- Over 50% of the ant specimens from New Mexico's largest wildfire have been sorted and pinned.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wildland Firefighter Course

For the past week, I have been running a night NWCG Type II wildland firefighter course in conjunction with SAFE Club students.  Students have been using self-guided S-130, S-190, and I-100 c.d. based courses.  They also took their arduous pack test, and they all passed!  The pack test is a 45 minute - 3 mile hike with a 45 lb pack.  We'll be doing our S-130 field day in a few weeks.  I'll post more about it soon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

FFT2 Training

The Texas Tech Student Association for Fire Ecology (SAFE) recruited 10 students that were interested in training to become Type II wildland firefighters to be part of my first FFT2 training seminar.  Seth Pearson from The Nature Conservancy-- Arkansas Field Office is leading training.  Many of the students hope to find seasonal employment in wildland fire in the summer.

Third URF student joins lab

The Verble lab welcomes a third undergraduate research fellow from the Texas Tech Honors College.  Andrew Ebrahimian will be doing work on heat hardening in Pogonomyrmex rugosus.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


We hit 1000+ pageviews and 100+ Twitter followers this week.  Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to stop by and check out the work in the Verble Fire Ecology Lab.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Visit to Junction, TX

I had the opportunity to meet with Texas A&M Forest Service fire training personnel in Junction, Texas this month.  While there, I also met faculty from TTU's Junction campus, which is a beautiful hidden gem in the southwestern Texas hill country.  An exciting field site for incoming students!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lab Update

The undergraduate students in the laboratory have been hard at work learning to pin ants.  Not an easy task at first, but they are making excellent progress.

Visit to Muse WMA

Last week, Dr. Gad Perry and I visited the McGillivray and Leona McKie Muse WMA in central Texas.  As a newly formed WMA (2006), they haven't had a chance to do a lot of management or research, but are excited about the prospects of both.  It was a beautiful unseasonably cool day.  Here are a couple shots from the trip:

Touring an RX burn site

Epiphytic cactus?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Second Undergraduate Research Fellow Joins Lab

The Verble-Pearson lab extends a warm welcome to our newest member, Vidhur Sohini.

Vidhur is an undergraduate research fellow through the Texas Tech Honors College.  Vidhur is a senior business major with a pre-medicine emphasis at Texas Tech University.  He will be working on a project assessing relationships between ant morphology and thermal tolerance.

Welcome, Vidhur!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Honors Undergraduate Research Fellow Joins Fire Lab

Our lab is excited to announce that Victoria Young, a Texas native and Honors College student, will be joining the laboratory as an undergraduate research fellow.  Victoria is a sophomore at Texas Tech University and has a strong interest in biology.  Welcome, Victoria!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to School

Today is the first day of the fall semester for Texas Tech students.  Here's to a prosperous and successful semester!  Cheers! 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fire Ecology Lab Twitter

Follow our lab on Twitter:  @TTU_FireLab

Seeking Graduate Students

The fire ecology lab in Texas Tech University's Department of Natural Resources Management is currently accepting applications for M.S. and Ph.D. students for January of 2013. Projects topics include, but are not limited to, fire effects on insects, plant flammability and combustibility, and animal responses and adaptations to fire. Tuition, stipends and research funding are available. Previous fire management or research experience is preferred, but not required.

Interested applicants should contact Dr. Robin Verble-Pearson ( More information is available on my lab webpage, or the departmental webpage,

Welcome to Texas Tech University.

The Verble-Pearson Fire Laboratory established a permanent home in Texas Tech University's Department of Natural Resources.  Dr. Verble begins her official appointment on 1 September.

Links to news of her appointment can be found here.

Stay tuned for more information as the semester gets underway.