CoMPLEX Annual Conference 2012

Evolutionary Ecology

CoMPLEX's Annual Conference was held Wednesday 1st February 2012 as a celebration of Professor Rob Seymour's continuing work with CoMPLEX since the beginning of the programme.

Biodiversity, is essential for our survival. It provides basic necessities - food, fuel, clean water, climate regulation- as well as benefits such as textiles, medicine, breakdown of waste and crop pollination.

Professor Rob Seymour at the Conference
CoMPLEX PhD student Gwen Knight presenting However it also brings us things we don't want - superbugs that survive conventional antibiotics; invasive plants and animals that diminish biodiversity at the regional scale; and potential new killers like bird 'flu and MRSA. With biodiversity being challenged at the local, regional and global scales, in what has been called the sixth great extinction in earth's history, there has never been a more important time to understand the processes that act to generate (evolution) and maintain (ecology) the levels of biodiversity we find around us.

The Conference was held as a full-day event with the morning dedicated to CoMPLEX students and Research Fellows speaking about their work, with the afternoon being dedicated to ecology and evolution. It showcased some of the current and future important topics in these two areas including the effects of competition on the evolution of ageing; early warning signals of ecological catastrophe in coral reefs; the evolution of sexual signalling in courtship and the indirect effects of vaccination on the ecology of non-target viruses. The conference culminated in a lecture by Prof Steve Jones (UCL) and Prof Jonathan Silvertown (Open University), the latter of whom delivered the annual Huxley Lecture of the London-based Centre for Ecology and Evolution. Further details are available at the bottom of this webpage.

CoMPLEX PhD student Zena Hadjivasiliou presenting CoMPLEX Students
CoMPLEX's Dr. Sam Tazzyman presenting CoMPLEX Students chatting over coffee


A short version of the CoMPLEX Annual Conference 2012 schedule can be accessed here, but you can access a full PDF programme with presentation abstracts by clicking on the image below.



•    Ms Gwen Knight (UCL) •    How a decline in MRSA infection incidence revealed a better way to use antibiotics
•    Mr Anton Flugge (UCL) •    The memory of spatial pattern
•    Dr Tak Fung (Queen’s University Belfast) •    Modelling coral reefs: alternative stable states and signals warning of critical transitions
•    Dr Sam Tazzyman (UCL) •    The strategy of sperm depletion
•    Dr Robin Freeman (UCL) •    Chasing birds: tracking the movement and behaviour of animals in the wild
•    Mr Ben Calderhead (UCL) •    Riemannian Manifolds and Statistical Models: The use of Differential Geometry in Probabilistic Modelling.
•    Dr Miguel Bernabeu (UCL) •    Large scale simulation of brain haemodynamics
•    Ms Zena Hadjivasiliou (UCL CoMPLEX) •    The two sexes paradox: could mitochondrial-nuclear interactions be the answer?
•    Dr C. Patrick Doncaster (University of Southampton) •    Evolution of aging in a crowded world
•    Prof Roger Bradbury (Australian National University) •    Coral reefs in the flat Anthropocene
•    Dr Mark Jit (Health Protection Agency) •    The effect of mass vaccination on the ecology of human papillomaviruses
•    Dr Peter Sozou (LSE) •    Signalling in courtship
•    Prof Steve Jones (UCL) •    'Make mine mollusc: or evolution in patchy environments'

Centre for Ecology and Evolution -  Huxley Lecture

The CEE Huxley Lecture followed the CoMPLEX Annual Conference.

‘The Crowd, the Cloud, and Conservation’

The best natural history programmes on TV attract audiences of nearly ten million; a million or more are motivated enough to join RSPB or BTCV. It is estimated that perhaps 100,000 people in the UK are involved in regular biological recording each year. This is the crowd that conservation can draw upon for help and it existed long before the internet made it possible to crowdsource tasks. The internet enlarges the crowd and changes its relationship with conservation, which need no longer just be local. The internet cloud also delivers all kinds of useful tools and capabilities. I shall look at how the crowd and the cloud are being utilized in conservation, at the challenges that this presents and at the opportunities for conservation that they will offer in the near future.

Prof Jonathan Silvertown (Open University) took the lecture. Please visit his personal website for his profile:

bhf epsrc bbsrc mrc nerc

Page last modified on 09 mar 12 16:42