Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 30 November 2017

Biosciences Seminar Series - Autumn 2017
30 November 2017 - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Social structure and life-history evolution in resident killer whales

Dr Daniel Franks

University of York, UK

Photo by Dr Dan Franks

Why females of some species cease ovulation before the end of their natural lifespan is a longstanding puzzle in life-history evolution. In humans, as well as some natural populations of cetaceans and insects, reproductive aging occurs much faster than somatic aging and females exhibit prolonged post-reproductive lifespans (PRLSs). Determining the mechanisms and functions that underpin PRLSs has proved a significant challenge. Here I bring together both classic and modern hypotheses proposed to explain PRLSs and life-history evolution and discuss their application with particular reference to our studies of killer whales. In doing so I highlight the need to consider multiple interacting explanations for the evolution of PRLSs and discuss the key role of social structure.

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

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 23 November 2017

Biosciences Seminar Series - Autumn 2017
23 November 2017 - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Marine megafaunal extinction

Dr Catalina Pimiento

Museum für Naturkunde - Berlin, Germany


Millions of years ago, an 18 meters shark (Megalodon) used to live in all oceans of the world. How did this shark achieve such a large size? When, how and why did it become extinct? In this seminar, I will be talking about the answers to these questions, which not only provide insights into the role of apex predators in Deep Time, but which lead us to uncover a previously unrecognized extinction event that not only affected Megalodon, but also the global marine megafauna. In contrast with the effects of the extinction of small organisms like invertebrates, this extinction event resulted in an important erosion of functional diversity, leaving communities highly vulnerable to future extinctions, like the one we are facing today. Our next step is therefore to assess the extent of the loss of functional diversity as a consequence of the current extinction crisis, which is particularly affecting large marine vertebrates. 

My work, however, is not only about research questions. Science education and public outreach are an important component of my agenda and I will be sharing those with you as well.

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

For the list of forthcoming seminars see here

Monday, 13 November 2017

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 16 November 2017

Biosciences Seminar Series - Autumn 2017
16 November 2017 - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Investigating the links between locomotor morphology, gait and metabolic cost

Dr Kayleigh Rose

from: Science Blogs

Our seminar series continues this week with our very own Dr Kayleigh Rose, Lecturer at our Biosciences Department at Swansea University (UK). Kayleigh's research focusses on biomechanics, with a particular interest in the kinematics and energetics of terrestrial locomotion, in relation to skeletal structure and gait mechanics. Kayleigh has joint out Department in 2017, after a postdoc and PhD at Manchester University.

The cost of transport (the energy required to travel a unit distance) is an important measure in investigating the selection pressures that have shaped animal locomotor systems. Extracting generalizations from large-scale comparisons between species is invaluable towards understanding the links between morphology, gait and metabolic cost, but only to a certain extent due to confounding phylogenetic and geometric factors. Here, using measurements collected from domestic chickens, I will highlight how within species comparisons and selectively bred species can offer further insights into the factors influencing the metabolic cost of transport.

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

For the list of forthcoming seminars see here

Monday, 6 November 2017

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 09 November 2017

Biosciences Seminar Series - Autumn 2017
09 November 2017 - 1pm - Zoology Museum

The evolutionary and mechanistic drivers of zebra stripes

Prof Tim Caro

We are excited to welcome this week Professor Tim Caro, Professor at the Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at UC Davis (USA), to our Biosciences Autumn Seminar Series. Tim is a behavioural ecologists and conservation biologist and has extensively published in both fields - not 'only' producing key journal papers but also writing and editing key books in these fields. Examples range from the fascinating Cheetahs of the Serengeti Plains and Antipredator Defenses in Birds and Mammals, to the classic textbooks on Behavioural Ecology and Conservation Biology and on Conservation by Proxy, to the recent one on Zebra Stripes. His current research continues to focus on both topics, Animal Coloration in mammals, such as zebra stripes (more on that in the seminar!), and coconut crabs, and Conservation Biology, especially in Tanzania - trying to find ways to halt lion killing in protected areas and the conservation of forest fragments. A key effort is also aimed at linking these two disciplines, by exploring the conceptual links between animal behaviour and conservation.

In this talk I will discuss evidence and present new data for and against each of the hypotheses for zebra's extraordinary coat coloration. Homing in on the reason that zebras are striped, I will discuss unpublished information collected on Bristol zebras that is leading to an understanding of how stripes confer a fitness advantage to their bearers. 

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

For the list of forthcoming seminars see here

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

BioMaths Colloquium - 03/11/2017

BioMaths Colloquium Series - 2017/18

03 November 2017 - 3pm Maths Seminar Room

(room 224 Talbot Building 2nd floor)

Mean-Field Models in Biology and Engineering

Prof José Carrillo

(Department of Mathematics, Imperial College LondonUK) 

from: Albi et al. (2013)

For our second BioMaths Colloquium Series for the 2017/18 academic year we are delighted to feature a seminar by Prof José Antonio Carrillo de la Plata, from the Department of Mathematics at Imperial College London (UK). José's research uniquely combines the Mathematical and Biological Sciences, such as the use and development of Kinetic and Diffusive Models in Mathematical Biology, from chemotaxis, to swarming and flocking, to computational neuroscience. José holds a Chair in Applied and Numerical Analysis and is also the Chair of the Organizing Committee of the EMS-ESMTB Year of Mathematical Biology 2018

I will review different aspects of applications of mean-field models arising in science, technology and life sciences. I will concentrate on 3 models in mathematical biology where these aspects are important in order to produce macroscopic models keeping the right qualitative behaviour. We will focus on swarming models, probabilistic models in computational neuroscience and pattern formation in zebra fish lateral lines. Finally, a model of consensus will be adapted as an algorithm for global optimisation.

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