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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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Synthetic Biology and Conservation

Mon, 07 Jul 2014 16:20:18 +0000

Synthetic biology, a hybrid between Engineering and Biology, is an emerging field of research promising to change the way we think about manufacturing, medicine, food production, and even conservation and sustainability. A review paper released this month in Oryx, authored by Dr Kent Redford, Professor William Adams, Dr Rob Carlson, Bertina Ceccarelli and CBER’s Professor [...]

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Measure Twice, Cut Once: Quantifying Biases in Sexual Selection Studies

Wed, 25 Jun 2014 10:44:30 +0000

Bateman’s principles are conceptually quite simple, but form the basis of our understanding of sexual selection across the animal kingdom. First proposed in 1948, Bateman’s three principles posit that sexual selection is more intense in males than in females for three reasons: 1) males show more variability in the number of mates they have (mating [...]

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Technology for Nature?

Mon, 16 Jun 2014 13:23:54 +0000

Many of our greatest technological advances have tended to mark disaster for nature. Cars guzzle fossil fuels and contribute to global warming; industrialised farming practices cause habitat loss and pollution; computers and mobile phones require harmful mining procedures to harvest rare metals. But increasingly, ecologists and conservation biologists are asking whether we can use technology [...]

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Nice Flies Don’t Finish Last: Meiotic Drive and Sexual Selection in Stalk-Eyed Flies

Thu, 12 Jun 2014 15:54:47 +0000

While it might seem as though our genes are all working together for our own good, some of them are actually rather selfish. Scientists have known about ‘selfish genetic elements’ for nearly a century, but research to understand their behaviour and effects is ongoing. Recent research in GEE reveals how sexually selected traits are signalling [...]

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A Crucial Difference: Celebrating Diversity in Nature

14 May 2010

7th April to 30th June 2010

North Cloisters, Main Building, Gower Street, UCL, WC1E 6BT

As part of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity, UCL Museums & Collections have organised an exhibition celebrating the diversity with our collections.

The four cases contain sets of objects from two natural history collections at UCL – the Grant Museum of Zoology and UCL Geology Collections. At first glance each object may appear to be the same.

In natural history there are no duplicates – every specimen is unique. For students and researchers at UCL, the existence of several examples of the same specimen type is crucial to the way their subjects are taught and studied. For a scientific theory to be tested many samples must be collected and analysed. It is only by understanding the variation within a group that its limits can be determined, and its relationships described.

2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. Biodiversity, the variety of life on Earth, is essential to sustaining the living systems that provide us with health, wealth, food, fuel and the vital services on which our lives depend. This exhibition celebrates some of that variety.

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