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Gee Research Blog

Sex Differentiation Begins During Early Development

Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:04:57 +0000

Males and females look different from each other, and these sexual dimorphisms are the result, largely, of sex differences in the expression of certain genes. Typically, scientists have studied sexual dimorphism in sexually mature adult animals, as this is the lifestage where differences are most apparent. However, many sex-specific phenotypes arise from sex-biased development, so […]

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Extinction and Species Declines:Defaunation in the Anthropocene

Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:35:52 +0000

We are in the grips of a mass extinction. There have been mass extinctions throughout evolutionary history, what makes this one different is that we’re the ones causing it. A recent review paper from GEE’s Dr Ben Collen discusses the current loss of biodiversity and suggests that our main concerns are species and population declines, […]

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Defaunation in the Anthropocene
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Evolving Endemism in East Africa’s Sky Islands

Fri, 08 Aug 2014 14:16:32 +0000

The World’s biodiversity is not evenly distributed. Some regions are hot spots for species richness, and biologists have been trying better to understand why these regions are special and what drives evolution and diversification. A recent paper by GEE’s Dr Julia Day and recent PhD graduate Dr Siobhan Cox, investigated the diversification of White-Eye Birds […]

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Predicting Extinction Risk:The Importance of Life History and Demography

Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:46:17 +0000

The changing climate is no longer simply a concern for the future, it is a reality. Understanding how the biodiversity that we share our planet with will respond to climate change is a key step in developing long-term strategies to conserve it. Recent research by UCL CBER’s Dr Richard Pearson identifies the key characteristics that […]

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The Importance of Life History and Demography
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It Pays to Be Different:Evolutionary Distinctiveness and Conservation Priorities

Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:15:25 +0000

The world is currently experiencing an extinction crisis. A mass extinction on a scale not seen since the dinosaurs. While conservationists work tirelessly to try and protect the World’s biodiversity, it will not be possible to save everything, and it is important to focus conservation efforts intelligently. Evolutionary distinctiveness is a measure of how isolated […]

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Evolutionary Distinctiveness and Conservation Priorities
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NERC PhD Studentship: Sexual selection, meiotic drive and fertility in stalk-eyed flies

Application Deadline:  10 May 2013

This project integrates field and laboratory based research on sexual selection. Stalk-eyed flies are a canonical example of sexual selection. In Teleopsis dalmanni, males have exaggerated eyespan and females show strong mate preferences for males with larger eyespan. Females have low fertility despite mating at high rates and exhibiting strong mate preference for particular males. Some populations harbour an X-linked meiotic drive system that results in female biased broods due to the degeneration of Y-bearing sperm. This project will further examine the inter-relationships between sexual selection, fertility and meiotic drive. The student will determine the frequency of drive in natural populations at established sites in Malaysia, the role of ecology and demography, and the consequences for the strength of sexual selection. In the laboratory they will exploit SNP and other genomic markers in order to reliably genotype individuals and progeny for meiotic drive, and study the association of meiotic drive with male eyespan and other aspects of male reproductive performance.

The UCL stalk-eyed fly research group is led by Prof. A. Pomiankowski and Prof. K. Fowler and studies multiple facets of the evolution of sexually selected traits. Given the project’s reliance on data collected from natural populations, the attributes of the successful applicant will include independence, initiative and enthusiasm in order to cope with the demands of field research. Note that applicants must have a minimum 2:1 BSc (or equivalent), preferably a Masters level degree, excellent numerate skills (computational and statistical), knowledge of population genetics and bioinformatics. Appropriate training will be provided by UCL. The studentship is funded by NERC and applicants need to satisfy NERC’s UK/EU eligibility requirements. It may be possible to fully fund EU candidates as well.

Applications should be sent as soon as possible, with cover letter, CV & contact details of two referees, to the primary supervisor Professor A. Pomiankowski (email: ucbhpom@ucl.ac.uk)

Closing date: 10th May 2013.

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