Wednesday, 26 October 2016

BioMaths Colloquium - 28/10/2016

BioMaths Colloquium Series - 2016/17

28 October 2016 - 3pm Maths Seminar Room

(room 224 Talbot Building 2nd floor)

Modelling collective motion in animal groups

Dr. Daniel Strömbom

(Uppsala University, Sweden & Swansea University, UK

pic by Daniel Strömbom

We are delighted to welcome our speaker for the second Biomath Colloquium seminar of this term, Dr Daniel Strömbom from the department of Mathematics at Uppsala University in Sweden. We are especially excited as Daniel has now also joined us at Swansea University, as an Independent Research Fellow, hosted by the SHOALgroup of Dr Andrew King at the Biosciences Department. Thus, Daniel has also become our newest member of our Biomathematics Centre, so please do come to meet him this Friday! Daniel is keen to present his work and establish new collaborations.

Flocks of birds and schools of fish are a common sight. They come in all shapes and sizes and exhibit a variety of dynamical behaviours at the group level. For decades, researchers have worked on isolating sets of biologically plausible local interaction rules, such that if each member of a group follow these rules, the resulting structure and behaviour of the group as a whole will be similar to that observed in real flocks, schools, and other moving animal groups. 

from: PInterest
These local interaction rules are often of the type ‘stay close to your neighbours (attraction), but avoid getting close enough for collisions to occur (repulsion), and take the average heading of your neighbours (orientation)’. Mathematical, and/or computational, methods are typically employed to determine the group level properties that will emerge from a given set of local interaction rules.

In this talk I will provide an introduction to collective motion in animal groups, with an emphasis on mathematical/computational modelling approaches used in the field. In particular, the use of so called self-propelled particle models. Using work on the topic that I have been involved in from 2010 up to now as a backbone I aim to illustrate the utility of, and problematic issues with, the self-propelled particle model approach to collective motion in animal groups as it stands today. 

The discussions will continue over biscuits and tea/coffee after the seminar. 
Hope to see many of you!

Monday, 24 October 2016

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 25 October 2016

Biosciences Seminar Series - Autumn 2016
25 October 2016 - 1pm - Zoology Museum (Wallace 129)

(note change of day!)

Plant Biomass Degradation by White Rot Fungi

Prof Kristiina Hilden

Our speaker of this week, Prof Kristiina Hilden from the Department of Food and Environmental Sciences at the University of Helsinki, will present her research on fungal molecular biology and enzymology, such as comparing the functional genomics of plant biomass degrading fungi across various biotopes. Her research is wide ranging, from work on intraspecies diversity in fungal wood decay (see here) to improving green energy solutions (biorefineries and business needs, improved catalysts for sustainable biomass conversion - see here and cost-effective industrial production - see here). Thus, be prepared to a wide-ranging, stimulating talk!


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

For the list of forthcoming seminars this term, see here.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 13 October 2016

Biosciences Seminar Series - Autumn 2016
13 October 2016 - 1pm - Zoology Museum (Wallace 129)


the evolutionary ecology of animal colouration

Dr William Allen

Image from:

Our speaker of this week, Dr William Allen from Swansea University, is an ecologists and in his work he uses comparative approaches to understand patterns of diversity in animals’ traits, to understand their evolutionary history and ecological context. Given the title of his talk, come to listen and watch a colourful seminar! 

The colours and patterns of animals are perhaps their most apparent and charismatic features. This ease of observation along with the role colouration can have in a wide range of ecological and evolutionary processes (predation, competition, mate choice, thermoregulation etc.) also makes it an important phenotype for scientific investigation. In this talk I give an overview of my work on understanding broad scale patterns in colour pattern diversity between species. Studies span a wide range of vertebrate taxa including primates, ruminants, cats, geckos and snakes. Topics include the ecological and behavioural factors that underlie colour differences, what form can tell us about function and mechanism, and how investigating colouration can inform our understanding of basic evolutionary processes such as speciation. 

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

For the list of forthcoming seminars this term, see here.