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Meet Dr. Teresa Rose Osborne

By Nancy Foasberg


Rose plays with dead Pacific Island land snails in lab.

Rose plays with dead Pacific Island land snails in lab.

“I want as many people as possible to know about this research that I’m so proud of and to read and understand it for themselves.”

-Terese Rose Osborne


Welcome to the Villanova Author Interview Series! In this series, Nancy Foasberg, MLS, Falvey’s  Scholarly Communication Librarian interviews authors who have benefited from Falvey’s Scholarship Open Access Reserve Fund (SOAR), which provides financial support to members of the Villanova community who plan to publish in high quality open access publications.


Dr. Teresa Rose Osborne

Department: Biology

Title: Postdoctoral Scholar

Article Title: “Flying snails: immigrant selection and the taxon cycle in Pacific Island land snails

Research Interests: Evolutionary ecology of terrestrial invertebrates, particularly land snails, and abiotic challenges to Neotropical ant locomotion


Can you tell me more about what inspired your research?
This research started as a term project for my Biogeography course in graduate school, the study of which organisms live where, how they got there, and trends in organism traits over broad spatial scales.

I chose Pacific Island land snails as the focus of my term project. The general assumption among island land snail researchers is that snails travel between islands by being blown by wind or carried by birds and other flying animals. Before my research, I’m aware of only one paper that systematically evaluated the plausibility of wind- and bird-mediated inter-island travel using multiple Pacific archipelagos and multiple land snail groups—and that paper was published back in 1975!

For my term paper, I decided to follow up this previous study using a somewhat different approach. My findings agree with Joseph Vagvolgyi’s—land snail species that occupy multiple archipelagos have smaller shells on average, indicating that land snails that travel great distances between Pacific archipelagos are typically small, consistent with wind and bird transport of land snails.

Later, I decided to turn my term paper into a chapter of my dissertation and eventually a publication. I met with my then committee member (now co-author) Mark Lomolino to discuss how to present my idea in the most scientifically compelling light.

He suggested that I use the concept of the taxon cycle to strengthen my research questions. The taxon cycle hypothesizes that for any given island species and its descendent species (a.k.a. a single taxon), when the taxon is new to an archipelago, it can’t be very picky about the habitats it uses, because it isn’t yet adapted to that archipelago.

In many Pacific Islands, habitat quality increases with island elevation. The taxon cycle predicts that new species will be excluded from high-quality habitats by other locally adapted species, but as the taxon of interest spreads throughout its new archipelago and becomes more locally adapted, it becomes more specialized in its habitat use and can better compete in high-quality, high-elevation habitats.

The taxon cycle predicts that widespread species found on multiple archipelagos would occupy several different kinds of habitats, but only at low elevations; whereas species unique to a single archipelago or single island would each occupy a single kind of habitat and would be found at higher elevations.

My co-author Mark was a big fan of the taxon cycle hypothesis, but I was skeptical of its applicability to land snails; as far as I can tell, no island land snail researchers had ever taken the possibility of the taxon cycle in land snails seriously before.

I tested for associations between how many islands a land snail species occupies, how many different habitats it uses, and its habitat elevation so that I could show Mark that the taxon cycle wasn’t going to work for us. Instead, I found the opposite! The predictions of the taxon cycle were supported in our dataset!

While we have yet to definitively prove that the taxon cycle describes evolution in Pacific Island land snails, we have shown that the possibility can’t be dismissed out of hand.


Rose looking at a Pacific Island land snail of the family Partulidae in the Belau archipelago (Republic of Palau, Oceania).

Rose looking at a Pacific Island land snail of the family Partulidae in the Belau archipelago (Republic of Palau, Oceania).

For the non-biologist, what’s the most exciting thing about your research in this paper?
Well, for a non-biologist, I think that the idea of land snails flying across the ocean is pretty exciting! I like to imagine tiny shells blown high in the sky, in what we sometimes call “aerial plankton.” But for another land snail biologist, flying snails are probably the least surprising finding in this paper. I think the scientifically surprising findings are (1) there is evidence consistent with the taxon cycle in Pacific Island land snails, and (2) Pacific Island land snail species that are found only on a single island tend to have small shells. Let me tell you why these results might be surprising to an island land snail researcher.

To my knowledge, island land snail researchers never paid much attention to the taxon cycle hypothesis. I assumed that Pacific Island land snails wouldn’t conform to the taxon cycle, and I was surprised to find otherwise.

If land snails are flying between islands, we would expect that small-bodied land snail species would occupy the greatest number of islands and archipelagos. Indeed, land snails species native to multiple archipelagos are smaller than species native to multiple islands in a single archipelago. However, land snail species native to a single island are just as small as widespread species. Why? Shouldn’t they be bigger, since they travel between islands even less frequently than single-archipelago species do? I don’t know why single-island species are so small, but my best guess is that instead of flying between islands, single-archipelago species might be rafting on vegetation blown out to sea. By being large and living in vegetation, single-archipelago land snails can both avoid traveling away from their home archipelago and better travel within their archipelago. But this still doesn’t explain why single-island land snails tend to be small, instead of, say, a mix of sizes. This one is going to be a puzzle for me for a while.


Your article is openly available so that everyone can read it. For you, what’s the benefit of making your work open?
The scientific publishing industry is broken. Researchers make no profits off our publications, and often, we even must pay publishers before their journals will share our work. If we want to read another researcher’s work, we usually must pay for it directly or hope that our institution pays the journal for access. A handful of large, for-profit scientific publishers own many of the scientific journals and profit from the free labor of researchers while selling access to our collective intellectual labor back to us as a scientific community.

I prefer to publish in journals owned and run by scientific societies, which add value to the scientific community not just through their journals, but also through conferences they host, small grants they offer to students and other researchers, and more. If some organization is going to profit from my free labor, I’d rather it’s a scientific society than a for-profit publisher.

I published this research in Frontiers of Biogeography, an open-access journal run by the International Biogeography Society. Frontiers of Biogeography asked that my co-authors and I pay a small fee to help support the journal, and thanks to Falvey’s Scholarship Open Access Reserve (SOAR), Villanova is paying that fee for us.

Rose photographs Pacific Island land snails

Rose photographs Pacific Island land snails

And I’d also rather that other scientists can read the fruits of my labor for free, both because it’s fairer and because more people are likely to read it! Pay-to-read scientific publishing isn’t just unfair to scientists. It also makes it much more difficult for non-scientists to access our work. Anything that makes it harder for non-scientists to access and understand scientific information is dangerous for society.

Unfortunately, pay-to-read publishing isn’t the only problem here. Many scientists—myself included—have a habit of writing in ways that are difficult for anyone outside our subfields to understand, let alone the general public. That’s why I’m participating in Villanova’s research blog series. I want as many people as possible to know about this research that I’m so proud of and to read and understand it for themselves.


Now that this article is published, what’s the next direction your research will take?
I’m in a career transition at the moment, so I’ve been thinking about this question a lot. My postdoctoral position at Villanova University ends this summer, and I hope to start a faculty position soon. I’m very curious about how different kinds of environmental challenges impact land snails. In this study, I looked specifically at how travelling between archipelagos impacts shell size. In the future, I’d like to look more closely at whether land snails are rafting between nearby islands in the same archipelago. My previous work also examined how high temperatures, drying out, and the pull of gravity might affect land snail habitat use, shell size, and shell shape, respectively. My future research will continue these lines of inquiry.

For example, here at Villanova, I study how different kinds of environmental challenges affect the way ants run. I’m going to take that same perspective to land snails and see how well land snails of different sizes and shapes can crawl on flat, vertical, and inclined surfaces.

As a kid, I was always fascinated by slugs, and that’s the reason I became a biologist. Slugs are basically snails with small, disc-shaped shells covered with skin. There are even intermediate snail-slug animals called semi-slugs that have a visible external shell that’s too small for the snail to hide in. This makes slugs a great example of evolution in action, because we can see the “missing link” semi-slugs in the world today.

In my future research, I want to investigate what environmental conditions prompt snails to evolve into slugs. Researching slugs will bring my scientific curiosity full-circle and will make the Young Rose who lives in the back of my mind very happy!


Nancy Foasberg, MLS, is the Scholarly Communication at Falvey Library.

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Land Acknowledgement Panel & Lenape Materials in the Classroom

Moderator Elisha Chi, Autumn Coard and Meg Martin.

Moderator Elisha Chi (left), Autumn Coard (center) and Meg Martin (right).

On Feb. 21, 2024, Falvey Library hosted two events promoting a dialogue about indigenous representation on campus and in the classroom. The first event, Panel on Land Acknowledgements, was a student-led conversation about the formation of NISA, Native Indigenous Students Association, and the student experience on campus. The discussion was around NISA’s efforts for sustainability, community, and representation by creating a safe, welcoming space for all indigenous students. Madonna Kongal discussed how Villanova University needs to take responsibility and educate students about the Lenni-Lenape people and the indigenous experience. Meg Martin spoke on Land Acknowledgement as a tool to set the tone and act as a marker of accountability for the University. DePaul recommended Villanova University create more opportunities to invite Indigenous speakers and broaden historical intersectionality in teaching. Villanova must take an active role in outreach, recruitment, and development of strong relationships with the Lenni-Lenape people.

Autumn Coard and Meg Martin of NISA with attendees

Autumn Coard and Meg Martin of NISA chat with attendees after the event.

Moderator & Panelists:

Meg Martin (panelist) is a junior communication major with a media production specialization. She is bear clan from the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation in upstate New York , Southern Ontario, and Quebec.  

Modonna Kongal (panelist) is a sophomore political science major, with a minor in communications. She is from the Arawak Tribe of Linden, Guyana. 

Autumn Coard (panelist) is a sophomore communications major, with a peace and justice minor. She is from the Shinnecock Indian Nation on the Eastern end of Long Island. 

Adam DePaul (panelist) is the Chief of Education and Tribal Storykeeper of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania. Additionally, he is a PhD candidate and instructor at Temple and Aracadia University with a primary research area in Cultural and Mythological Studies, and the co-founder and president of NAISAT (Native American and Indigenous Studies at Temple).

Elisha Chi (moderator) is a registered descendant of the Inupiaq of the Bering Straits region and Irish/British Catholics, raised on Duwamish lands in the anti-feminist radical traditionalist Catholic community of Seattle. Currently a PhD candidate working here in the Lenapehoking at the intersection of theology/religious studies, ethics, and Indigenous studies, a Forum for Theological Education Dissertation Fellow, and a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow for 2024/2025, her current project is titled “Stories and Silence: Issues and Methods Supporting the Decolonization of the Catholic Church.” Her work articulates anti-colonial academic methods and pedagogical practices that pursue institutional decolonization and Indigenous land return. 

Modonna Kongol of NISA and Adam DePaul

Modonna Kongol of NISA and Adam DePaul answer questions from the audience.

The panel discussion was co-sponsored by Falvey Library, Falvey‘s DEI Committee, the Center for Peace and Justice Education, the Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest, and NISA, the Native Indigenous Students Association.

In the afternoon, Adam DePaul and Dr. Kimberly Takahata, Assistant Professor in the English Department, provided an informal discussion around opportunities to integrate Native American material into many different disciplines. Attendees discussed with DePaul ways to provide greater access to materials, language to use in assisting with research, and allowing space for students to engage with their own experience to build connections of shared experience in different communities.

Interested in Learning More?

Check out these library resources on Indigenous histories and cultures:


Indigenous Histories and Cultures in North America (Adam Matthew Digital)

Beaudry Allen Headshot

Beaudry Allen is a Preservation & Digital Archivist, Distinctive Collections & Digital Engagement Department, Falvey Library.





Welcome to Falvey: Margot Accettura Joins Research Services & Scholarly Engagement

Margot Accettura, STEM Librarian.

Margot Accettura joined Research Services & Scholarly Engagement (RSSE) as the STEM Librarian. From Morristown, N.J., she earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Skidmore College and a master’s degree in imaging science from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Currently enrolled at PennWest Clarion University, Accettura will receive a master’s of science in library information science this year. Previously working for her undergraduate library and the Phoenixville Public Library, Accettura feels her role at Falvey perfectly integrates her STEM experience and passion for libraries.

“As a member of the RSSE team, I will be working with students and faculty to support them with their learning and research goals. I will be working with the astronomy, biology, chemistry, computing sciences, environment science, mathematics, and physics departments. I will provide outreach to these departments, showing them the services that Falvey provides. I will also be providing information literacy instruction to courses.” Having a STEM background, Accettura feels she can connect with students in their collegiate careers at Villanova. “I understand what STEM students are going through…There are a lot of ways I think having a better knowledge of what the library had to offer would’ve helped me in my research and I’m hoping to share that with Villanova students and faculty.”

In her free time (when she’s not reading), Accettura enjoys running. She is part of a local running group in her town. “I also like to do archery and my new year’s resolution this year is to reignite my passion for piano which I played for 8 years in my youth.” Her reading recommendation for Falvey patrons: Circe, by Madeline Miller. “She writes re-imaginings of Greek mythology and I like all of her work.”

“I’m very excited for this opportunity and am looking forward to working with my liaison departments and the broader Villanova community,” she says. Accettura’s office (room 220) is on the second floor of Falvey Library. Email; (610) 519-8129.







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Cat in the Stax: Reading Recs for Women’s History Month

As Falvey’s Cat in the Stax, Rebecca writes articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

Wishing you all a wonderful spring break! Take this time to relax, hang out with friends, spend time with family. You deserve a rest after all the hard work you’ve put into the semester so far.

Photo courtesy of University of Iowa

March doesn’t just signify the arrival of spring break (and the coming of spring), it also marks the beginning of Women’s History Month, which runs from Mar. 1-Mar. 31. This observance first began in California in 1978 as a week-long celebration. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter made the first Presidential Proclamation declaring a week in March as National Women’s History Week. In 1987, Congress passed legislation that designated March as Women’s History Month. Since then, this month has been a time to remember and celebrate the achievements of women throughout American history.

Whether you’re traveling or chilling at home over break, if you have some free time, check out some of these books to read in celebration of Women’s History Month. For your convenience, all these texts are available online through Falvey:

Happy reading! Enjoy the rest of the break, and I’ll see you all next week.

Rebecca Amrick

Rebecca Amrick is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


Dig Deeper: International Mother Language Day

By Abby Stinson

Today, Feb. 21, marks International Mother Language Day, a commemoration established by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to honor the linguistic diversity that enriches our world. Sadly, 40 percent of the world’s population lacks access to education in their “mother language,” or native tongue, leading to the loss of a language every two weeks and erasing valuable aspects of history and culture.  

This initiative, inaugurated in 1999 in Bangladesh, aims to “promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world,” according to the UN. The 2024 theme, “Multilingual education: a necessity to transform education,” underscores the significance of incorporation indigenous languages into education systems. To further this goal, the UN is convening an online panel event featuring experts in multilingual education from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. They also have named 2022-2032 as the “International Decade of Indigenous Languages”, ensuring an opportunity to collaborate and stimulate global change in this department.  

The preservation of languages is paramount for maintaining identity, facilitating communication, fostering social integration, promoting education, and driving development. For more information, read here: International Mother Language Day | United Nations.

Dig deeper and explore the resources below.

Abby Stinson ’26 VSB, is a Marketing and Business Analytics major and a student worker at Falvey Library.






Foto Friday: Celebrating a Faithful Partnership

Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement (DCDE) recently celebrated a new partnership with Bethel AME Church of Ardmore, which will create a church archive collection for the public in Falvey’s Digital Library. The ongoing collection is comprised of many unique items, such as church records, photographs, and newspapers, detailing the history of Bethel AME Church Ardmore and African Methodist Episcopal Church across the United States.

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Foto Friday: New Popular Reading Pilot Program Launched

Students, faculty, and Falvey staff celebrated the launch of a new Popular Reading Pilot Program in Speakers’ Corner with over 400 new fiction and non-fiction titles now available for patrons to borrow. Offerings include new releases, literary fiction, romance, fantasy, mysteries, cookbooks, essay collections, and much more! With this new collection the Library is pleased to be able to expand its offerings to serve the whole Villanovan, beyond academics to support personal wellness, growth, and various areas of interest.



Last Modified: February 9, 2024

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