About us

Hello!  This is the blog for Big Read: Open Access Science, a book discussion group in Yolo County, California.  The discussions are organized between the Yolo County Libraries and a group of graduate students at the University of California, Davis.  We hope to make this a sustainable interaction to help avid readers effectively choose and learn about popular contemporary science topics in biology, ecology, and evolution.  Please visit our blog pages to catch up on discussion and learn about current and upcoming events.

 WHO WE ARE                                                                                                                                                       

JEREMY BERG – I am a second year PhD student in the Population Biology Program at UC Davis. My research interests are in finding ways to use population genomic data to understand the effects of natural selection on humans and other species in the recent past. My non-academic interests include distance running and a certain British science fiction TV show.

 ANGUS CHANDLER – Here is a Human Being focuses on how YOUR GENOME shapes who you are. However, the final paragraph urges us not to dismiss the role of EVERYTHING ELSE: “But I will also remind them about environment: about the microbiome…”. This is what I study: The non-pathogenic microbial communities that inhabit every surface of animal bodies, scientifically termed the microbiome.  Click here to read more about the crazy ways these microbes affect animals  or visit my lab’s website if you just want to know more about my work.

PATRICK FULLER- I am a third-year graduate student in the Population Biology Graduate Group at UC Davis. I am studying convergent evolution in reef fishes with Dr. Peter Wainwright (fishlab.ucdavis.edu)

JAY JOHNSTONE – I am glad to have been running the Davis branch of the Yolo County Library since 1996. I prepared for this career with a BA in History, UC Berkeley, 1966, a teaching certificate and a Masters in Librarianship, SJSU, 1975. I am excited about using technology to bring libraries and our customers together in new ways for our common good.

ELIZABETH LONG – Don’t let the fact that I’m an Ecologist fool you- I spend much of my time researching, teaching, and thinking about genetics. While my PhD research focuses on the intersection of genetics, ecology, and evolution I really just enjoy getting outside and chasing butterflies.  Find me at http://butterfly.ucdavis.edu/crew/eclong

OLIVIA RHODES – My name is Olivia Rhoades, and I am a third year PhD student at UC Davis. I study the red abalone coastal fishery and its impact on abalone populations and kelp forest community dynamics. I love reading books, and I’m really excited about this book club! 🙂

SARAH SIGNOR – I am a graduate student at UC Davis, and I use genetic techniques to study evolution.  The species I work with is a fruit fly, however I am excited to learn about genomics in something a little bit bigger!

PUIYUK SIN – I am a bilingual (English and Cantonese) Librarian at the Yolo County Library – Davis Branch.  I handle Asain Language materials including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.

TOMOMI TAKADA – I am a third year PhD student in Population Biology at UC Davis.  I am interested in the evolutionary consequences of parental care in fishes, and I love working with computers to analyze big datasets.

JUDY WEXLER – I am second year graduate student in UC Davis’ Population Biology group. With a background in science writing, I’m very excited to discuss popular science literature and get people from different backgrounds excited about all aspects of biology!

MoriaMORIA ROBINSON – I am first year graduate student in UC Davis’ Population Biology group. I enjoy chasing butterflies in my free time, and have been lucky enough to discover a way to do so in my professional life as well! I love the natural sciences and look forward to discussing a variety of topics with readers. More about my research at http://sharonstrauss.wordpress.com/people/.

405370_667864861405_1919064685_nSHAHLA FARZAN – I am a graduate student in the Ecology Graduate Group at UC Davis, studying the impacts of phenological mismatch on twig-nesting bee species and their associated nest parasitoids.



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASARAH LONGO – I am a second year PhD student in Population Biology at UC Davis. I am studying the evolution of  a novel feeding mechanism in seahorses, pipefish and their close relatives. In an alternate reality I was an English major in college, so I love any chance to discuss a good book—even if it isn’t about fish or medieval knights.


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