Research Day (RD) is an annual one-day event in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech. It consists of a keynote presentation by department alumni and invited oral presentations by graduate students, breakout sessions with talks by graduate students, and poster presentations by graduate and undergraduate students. 

As such, it provides an opportunity for graduate students to showcase their research and fosters interaction among Biological Sciences research labs.  It also serves to update and highlight the breadth of research activities in the department to alumni and prospective graduate students.

The 2019 RD will be held on February 9th, 2019 at The Inn at Virginia Tech/Skelton Conference Center.  Deadlines for abstract submisson and registration to be announced.

Daniel Warner

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Daniel Warner

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Auburn University

Title: "Developmental plasticity and natural selection: case studies of environmental effects on phenotypic variation in lizard populations"


The environment shapes phenotypic variation within populations in two major ways; (1) by phenotypic plasticity whereby environmental factors directly influence phenotypes of individuals, and (2) as an agent of selection that “chooses” among existing phenotypes based on their relative performance. Understanding how these two environmental forces contribute to phenotypic variation is a major goal of evolutionary biology and a primary objective of my research. In this talk, I will draw from different case studies from my research on lizards that (1) illustrate how maternal and developmental environments shape phenotypic variation, (2) assess the potential adaptive value of developmental plasticity, and (3) quantify the spatial and temporal dynamics of phenotypic selection in wild populations. Taken together, these studies highlight the complex environmental interactions among different life stages that shape phenotypic variation in natural populations.


Daniel Warner is an evolutionary ecologist whose research integrates aspects of population ecology, physiology, genetics and behavior, and combines laboratory and field experiments to gain insights into adaptive evolution. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University (1998) and his Master’s degree from Virginia Tech (2000) (with advisor Robin Andrews). He was then employed as a fisheries biologist at the Florida Marine Research Institute (2001-2003) before starting his PhD research. He received his PhD at the University of Sydney (2007), where his research focused on the ecology and evolution of temperature-dependent sex determination in an Australian lizard. Thereafter, he returned to Iowa State University as a postdoctoral researcher. In 2012, he began a faculty position at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and in 2015 he transitioned to a faculty position in the Department of Biological Sciences at Auburn University. He has published over 80 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and has received multiple awards for his research (e.g., 2011 Young Investigators Prize from the American Society of Naturalists, 2014 Bartholomew Award from the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology).

Invited Student Speakers

To be announced

Breakout Session Student Oral Talks

To be announced


To be announced

Abstract Submission Guidelines

To be announced

Poster Submission and Printing Information

Posters should be 48" wide and 36" high; landscape is the preferred orientation. Students are responsible for having their posters printed by submitting them, along with an ISR, to the Biological Sciences IT Support Lab by the no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 4, 2019. Guidelines for submission can be found here.