Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Wallace Coffee Talks - 19 April 2018

Wallace Coffee Talks - Spring 2018
19 April 2018 - 1pm - Zoology Museum


eDNA as a conservation tool: from crayfish to cetaceans

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is increasingly being utilised as tool for detecting and monitoring a range of species in both terrestrial and aquatic environments. Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are difficult to locate when at low abundances, however eDNA has proven to be an effective technique for enabling early detection of target species. eDNA has the scope to be applied for non-invasive genetic sampling of  populations of large mammals such as cetaceans, to inform management for effective conservation strategies. 

Matt Perkins (Swansea University, UK)
Materials and ecology of marine infrastructure
Marine infrastructure presents novel habitats within coastal ecosystems, comprising hard substrate of non-local origin (concretes, rocks, metals). My research aims to test the ‘ecological performance’ of such materials by examining settlement communities, in order to make recommendations upon the ecological impacts and opportunities such materials present. As a new member of the department, in this talk I will also briefly describe some of my past work as a community ecologist using stable isotopes to examine food web structure.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Wallace Coffee Talks - 12 April 2018

Wallace Coffee Talks - Spring 2018
12 April 2018 - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Mechanistic modelling of collective motion in animal groups

Bird flocks, fish schools, and herds of sheep being chased by sheepdogs are examples of systems that consists of many individuals that can somehow move and respond to external stimuli as one unit. How does that work? In this talk I will present some standard “answers” to this question, some recent results suggesting we may want to revise these “answers", and explain how work of this type may be useful to society.

Ana Carolina Luchiari (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil)

Fish like us: how can fish help us to understand ourselves

I am a biologist and developed my MSc and PhD to answer how different environmental colors affect behavior and welfare in fish. For the past five years, I have been concerned with the development of novel behavioral testing tools (face validity) for the zebrafish, and with psychopharmacological approaches to study the mechanisms of alcohol abuse, and its effects on learning and memory (constructive and predictive validities). All psychoactive drugs are of interest when it can positively or negatively affect our brain. Currently, I am trying to understand individual differences in alcohol intake, transgenerational effects of alcohol on cognition, and the potential of alternative treatments for alcohol abuse.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 15 March 2018

Biosciences Seminar Series - Winter 2018
15 March 2018 - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Mapping and modelling the impacts of dams, weirs, and road culverts

Dr Stephanie Januchowski-Hartley

Our Biosciences Seminar Series continues with a talk by Dr Stephanie Januchowski-Hartley , who joined us this year as Sêr Cymru Rising Star Fellow at the Department of Biosciences at Swansea University (UK). Steph joined us from the Laboratoire Evolution et Diversité Biologique at Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse (France), where she worked as research fellow on evaluating impacts of dams, weirs and roads on freshwater fish distribution and community composition. Originally from Michigan (USA), Steph is a Conservation Biologist especially interested in freshwater/fish conservation and more generally about the relationships between humans and nature, and her research has taken her widely across the world. Steph also is dedicated to connect the ecological and social aspects of Conservation Science and is passionate about communicating science, conservation and nature, using diverse media including poetry, sketching and drawing, photography and macro & micro blogging. Steph is also President of the Society for Conservation Biology Freshwater Working Group and European Section Board Member and closely works with the British Ecological Society, too.

Fresh waters are some of the most heavily modified ecosystems on earth, impacted by diverse human-induced stressors, many of which are associated with urbanization and infrastructure. Under ongoing global change, there are the both threats to, and opportunities for freshwater resources, and the species and communities that depend on these resources. Despite this, our understanding about instream infrastructure such as dams, weirs, and road culverts remains limited. To develop proactive conservation strategies requires an understanding about current and potential future occurrences of human-induced stressors within the context of global climate change. Drawing on examples from Colombia, North America, and France, I will discuss how we have begun to address these challenges for freshwater ecosystems by determining spatial locations and characteristic of current and potential instream infrastructure. Drawing on these cases, along with knowledge gained from local-scale case studies, I introduce future directions that my lab will be taking to inform cross-scale policy and management decisions related to instream infrastructure.

Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!

For the list of forthcoming seminars see here

Biosciences Science Club Series 13 March 2018

Biosciences Science Club Series - Winter 2018
13 March 2018 - 12pm - Wallace Lecture Theatre (140)

Individual variation in fitness components in migratory white storks (Ciconia ciconia)

Dr Shay Rotics

We are delighted to welcome Dr Shay Rotics, from the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge (UK). Shay is an ecologist, especially interested in behavioural ecology and conservation science. He has recently started his Blavatnik Research Fellowship at LARG (the Large Animal Research Group at the Department of Zoology at Cambridge University), after completing his PhD on Movement - fitness relationships in white storks at the Movement Ecology Group at the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel).

Migration facilitates the exploitation of seasonally abundant food resources and favorable climate, yet, migration is also considered costly and risky. In my PhD study I investigated individual variation in survival and breeding success of white storks in light of their long-distance migration. Solar GPS-body-acceleration transmitters were used to monitor movement, behavior, and energy expenditure proxy (derived from overall dynamic body acceleration, ODBA) of juveniles (<1 year) and adults, which were coupled with environmental data. Using these multifaceted data, we found that the juveniles’ early life behavior, fall migration flight attributes and wintering decisions could illuminated juvenile survival differences. We further examined the spring return migration of the adults which provided insights on the causes of individual differences in arrival time to breeding grounds and consequently on breeding success. The research identified key factors that affect survival and breeding success in white storks and demonstrated the feasibility of addressing fitness components in the wild while combining high-resolution, multifaceted tracking and environmental data.

Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!

For the list of forthcoming seminars see here

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 08 March 2018

Biosciences Seminar Series - Winter 2018
08 March 2018 - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Asking good research questions in a wicked world

Prof Kathryn Monk

Our Biosciences Seminar Series continues with a talk by Prof Kathryn Monk, Honorary Professor at the Department of Biosciences at Swansea University (UK) and Principal Advisor for Science at Natural Resources Wales (UK).

How do we think about and develop our work in government and academia? Are we changing the way we think and work? In all walks of life, including research, policy, and tackling the grand challenges facing society, we increasingly recognise complexity, synergies, and the need for innovative approaches. We've moved from multi- to intra- to trans-disciplinary working in research, management, design etc. Between research and policy, how do we enable the impact of our research to be realised, let alone be confident that we have asked the right question in the first place?

Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!

For the list of forthcoming seminars see here

Monday, 26 February 2018

Biosciences Science Club Series 26 February 2018

Biosciences Science Club Series - Winter 2018
26 February 2018 - 12pm - Wallace 113

Wolves for Yellowstone: dynamics in time and space

Prof Mark Boyce

We are delighted to welcome Prof Mark Boyce, from the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta (Canada). Mark is Professor of Ecology and Alberta Conservation Association Chair in Fisheries & Wildlife and is widely known for his research in wildlife population biology in North America and Africa, ranging from elk, to wolves, cougars and wolverines ecollogy and prey selection, elk movement ecollogy and population dynamics, to harvesting effects on wildlife population, to carbon sequestration and conservation, as well as his work developing Resource Selection Analysis.

Predation is increasingly recognized as an ecological process that structures natural communities, and has been targeted as an important focus for conservation.  Yet, others have argued that the extent and magnitude of trophic cascades has been overstated and that few clear examples exist in terrestrial ecosystems, especially for behaviourally driven trophic cascades.  I will review the details of this debate regarding wolf recovery in Yellowstone National Park and conclude that as predicted by theory we see  spatial and temporal variability in predator-prey systems that likewise generate spatial and temporal variability in the expression of trophic cascades.  Outside protected areas in western North America, however, humans have a dominant influence that overwhelms trophic cascades and can result in bottom-up influences on community structure and function.

Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!

For the list of forthcoming seminars see here