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Gee Research Blog

PREDICTS Project: Land-Use Change Doesn’t Impact All Biodiversity Equally

Mon, 13 Oct 2014 09:17:53 +0000

Humans are destroying, degrading and depleting our tropical forests at an alarming rate. Every minute, an area of Amazonian rainforest equivalent to 50 football pitches is cleared of its trees, vegetation and wildlife. Across the globe, tropical and sub-tropical forests are being cut down to make way for expanding towns and cities, for agricultural land […]

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Calculated Risks: Foraging and Predator Avoidance in Rodents

Fri, 03 Oct 2014 10:07:08 +0000

Finding food is one of the most important tasks for any animal – most animal activity is focused on this job. But finding food usually involves some risks – leaving the safety of your burrow or nest to go out into a dangerous world full of predators, disease and natural hazards. Animals should therefore be […]

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Foraging and Predator Avoidance in Rodents
appeared first on GEE Research.

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Applying Metabolic Scaling Laws to Predicting Extinction Risk

Thu, 25 Sep 2014 10:32:49 +0000

The Earth is warming. That much were are now certain of. A major challenge for scientists hoping to ameliorate the effect of this on biodiversity is to predict how temperature increases will affect populations. Predicting the responses of species living in complex ecosystems and heterogenous environments is a difficult task, but one starting point is […]

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The Importance of Size in the Evolution of Complexity in Ants

Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:14:37 +0000

Ants are amongst the most abundant and successful species on Earth. They live in complex, cooperative societies, construct elaborate homes and exhibit many of the hallmarks of our own society. Some ants farm crops, others tend livestock. Many species have a major impact on the ecosystems they live in, dispersing seeds, consuming huge quantities of […]

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Understanding Catfish Colonisation and Diversification in The Great African Lakes

Fri, 05 Sep 2014 10:29:42 +0000

Why some regions or habitats contain vast, diverse communities of species, whilst others contain only relatively few species, continues to be the subject of scientific research attempting to understand the processes and conditions that allow and adaptive radiation. The Great African Lakes exist as freshwater ‘islands’, with spectacularly high levels of biodiversity and endemism. They […]

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Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment

The Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment brings together scientists with shared interests in genetics, evolutionary and environmental biology. 

It traces its origins to the Department of Comparative Anatomy, founded in 1826 and incorporates the Galton Laboratory. 

Current research in the Department includes evolutionary and environmental biology, genetics including human genetics, and systems and theoretical biology.

Next Departmental Seminar

The evolutionary dynamics of antibiotic resistance: insights from experimental evolution with pathogenic bacteria

Craig Maclean, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
Wednesday, 8 October at 12noon
Venue TBA

Abstract

The rapid spread of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria is an elegant example of adaptation by natural selection that is undermining human health on a global scale by increasing the mortality rates and economic costs associated with bacterial disease. Given that exposure to high doses of antibiotic is rare and that resistance a carries a fitness cost, one of the main challenges in understanding the evolution of resistance has been to determine how resistance can be stably maintained in bacterial populations. I will address the following questions related to this problem: Why does resistance carry a cost? How and when will selection allow resistant strains to overcome the cost of resistance? And, finally, how do fitness costs and compensatory adaptation interact with antibiotic use to determine the stability of resistance? To address these questions, my group uses experimental evolution in the pathogenic bacterium P.aeruginosa combined with mathematical modeling, whole genome sequencing and transcriptome profiling. On a broader scale, this work provides important insights into the mechanisms and dynamics of adaptation, and the challenge of understanding evolution by horizontal gene transfer.

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