An evolutionary & developmental biology lab

Category: Lab Fun Page 1 of 3

Because it’s not ALL work!

Lab mushroom trip – first outing since the pandemic!

Our social life took a hit during the pandemic, but we finally revived our annual mushroom-hunting trips to the Sonoma Coast.  It’s been dry so mushrooms were not as abundant as we hoped – but we got some yellowfeet, black trumpets, and bellybutton hedgehogs (Craterellus tubaeformis, C. cornucopioides, and Hydnum umbilicatum).

Snowshoeing near Donner Pass

The Kopp lab near Donner pass getting ready to snow shoe its way into the mountains.


Nigel, Ammon, Emily, and Laura snowshoeing around.


Yige, bides his time. Ammon and Logan still don’t know how smiling works.



Logan, Kohtaro, and Ammon displaying their snowball throwing technique. Logan’s can be described diplomatically as “serious”. Kohtaro’s is a more joyfull approach.  Ammon’s minimalist strategy is the safest way to throw a snowball.


On the receiving end is Olga, the master of not getting hit by snowballs. Leon reacts.


Nigel, Emily, and Maeve Delaney take a break after a long hike. Maeve, exhausted from being dead-weight on her parents backs,  patiently dissolves a cracker to rejuvenate.


Leon, under Artyom’s supervision, set out to build the lab a snow-bench.


Thanks Leon!


The Kopp lab


Bon voyage BBQ

On August 31, the lab said goodbye to Artyom, Olga, and Leon for the next year. The three of them are currently on sabbatical in Germany. We took respite from the 110 degree weather in the valley by escaping to Union Lake Reservoir in the Sierras where the temp was …only 95 F. Our BBQ produced delicious grilled chicken (thanks, Olga!) and did not burn down the forest, so we’ll call that a success.

Fire haze

Just chilling on the beach

Leon and his crew

Lab geezers

We’re entomologists, right?

The Kopp lab went on a springtime hike this Sunday! We explored pine forest at 3,500 feet of elevation near Sly Park. Flexing our entomology muscles, we introduced the youngest lab member to field work. He has a strong interest in the community ecology of rotting logs.


An immature cicada nymph!

Logan and Gio enjoy lunch together!!!

Leon delegates work to his field crew.

Gio and Ammon share a laugh.

Kopp lab members also appreciate the plant kingdom!

We started playing improvised baseball (or cricket) with pine cones.

That face!


The photographer and field crew leader takes a well deserved break.

And then there were six

…grad students in the Kopp lab!

On Sunday we said a bittersweet goodbye to Gavin, who just finished his dissertation! He’s headed off to Mark Rebeiz’s lab in Pittsburgh. Gavin will be sorely missed in Davis. To send him off, we had a holiday party with latkes, eggnog, and lots of wine.

Fried and Fun Seafood Party!

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Gio and Olga schemed for weeks to create the perfect menu for a Kopp lab deep fried sea food extravaganza. We consumed an impressive array of animals from across the metazoan phylogeny — arthropods (aka crab cakes), vertebrates (delicious salmon) and bivalves (mussels)!img_0949

Table Mountain Trip

It seems that weather gods are conspiring against the lab’s ambition of snowshoeing. For the past three years, dry winters made a snowshoe trip impossible. This year, each attempt to schedule a weekend for the snowshoe trip was foiled by mountain storms. But we took advantage of the rainy winter and went to see its effects on Table Mountain, a nearby mesa with breathtaking wildflowers. Dinner and lawn games followed at Slide Hill in Davis!

New lab pets

We’re pleased to introduce the newest members of our lab.

Some cave roaches



And then there are Olga’s Madagascar millipedes! Check out these cuties:


7th annual lab mushroom hunting trip!

Yet another mushroom hunt, yet another success.  Conditions were challenging (i.e. – rain), and mushrooms were surprisingly thin on the ground.  But, with due enthusiasm and perseverance, we found enough mushrooms of a few different species to enjoy a nice dinner afterward.  The menu featured mushroom minestrone soup, shaggy parasol and honey mushroom risotto, sauteed winter chanterelles and hedgehog mushrooms, and candy-cap cookies.

Murder Mystery Party

murder-mystery-partyNovember 6 – Zach organized a great murder mystery party, set in the Prohibition era.  The lab turned out to be full of gangsters, bootleggers, and other disreputable characters.  Hardly a surprise.

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