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Professor Discovers New Dolphin Species

Humpback dolphins plying the waters in four regions of Africa, India, and Australia look very similar, but are in fact separate species, according to a new study released last month.

The findings were reported in the October issue of the journal Molecular Ecology, in a paper titled "Integrating multiple lines of evidence to better understand the evolutionary divergence of humpback dolphins along their entire distribution range: a new dolphin species in Australian waters?" 

Sergios-Orestis Kolokotronis, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences at Fordham, co-authored the study, which involved extracting 235 tissue samples and 180 skulls throughout the animals’ distribution, representing the biggest dataset assembled to date for the animals.

The goal of the study is to aid in the conservation of the dolphins (genus Sousa) by getting a better understanding of what makes them distinct. 

Each dolphin occupies a different section of ocean around the world, including in the Atlantic Ocean off West Africa (Sousa teuszii), in the central to western Indo-Pacific ocean (Sousa plumbea), in the eastern Indian and western Pacific Ocean (Sousa chinensis) and a new, as-yet-unnamed species off northern Australia.

Kolokotronis' study and his perspectives on what makes a species were featured in a recent article on the Smithsonian magazine's blog. 

—Patrick Verel


Military Times Names Fordham a Top School for Veterans

Fordham University is once again among the top 25 schools in the nation for returning veterans, according to the “Best for Vets” rankings released by Military Times on Nov. 11.

Michael Gillan, Ph.D., associate vice president and co-chair of FordhamVets Task Group, was in the middle of New York's Veterans Day Parade on a Fordham student-sponsored float when he got the news.

"What veterans share in common coming back from any conflict is that they want to get on with their lives," said Gillan. “They want to get on with being students."

He added that the University's commitment to the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program no doubt played a role. The program was an optional provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill passed in 2009 and is considered the most comprehensive expansion of veteran education benefits since World War II.

Even though there is a national cap on the Yellow Ribbon benefits, the University has surpassed the limit and increased its Yellow Ribbon commitment to cover all tuition and fees for Post-9/11 veterans, he said.

"We are once again able to say 'Top 25,'" said Gillan. "Plus, this is the fourth consecutive year that Fordham is the No. 1-rated private school in the metropolitan region."

—Tom Stoelker


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