On my way to Cape Town

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The small number of you who check in here occasionally may have noticed that posting has been light lately. Not only am I on my way to Cape Town for research work on white proteas,1 but I've been working like mad for the last several weeks to get a proposal ready for submission to the Evolutionary Genetics Program in the Evolutionary Processes Cluster at the National Science Foundation. I finished a pretty solid draft last night and sent it to my collaborators. We'll have our last conference call2 Wednesday afternoon Cape Town time. I'll make final revisions on Thursday and send them to my collaborators, who will make the final upload to FastLane. We'll submit the proposal on Friday and keep our fingers crossed.

I'm very excited about the proposal. It builds nicely on the work I've been doing with a graduate student and post-doctoral research associate for the past 2 1/2 years3 and extends it, using cutting-edge DNA sequencing technology, to provide an unusually complete description of the genetic architecture of adaptively significant traits involved in a striking evolutionary radiation. I hope reviewers agree.

1I'm writing this while sitting in the departure lounge at Logan International Airport. I'll be back in the States late on the afternoon of 20 January.
2Via Skype.
3Full disclosure. The post-doctoral research associate and graduate student working with me on this project really deserve all of the credit for its success. They collected all of the samples, established experimental plants in greenhouses and gardens, extracted and analyzed all of the DNA for microsatellite variation, and measured all of the traits whose evolution we're trying to understand. My role has been, mostly, that of cheerleader and statistical consultant.