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The Best of Both Worlds:Planning for Ecosystem Win-Wins

Sun, 16 Nov 2014 12:25:44 +0000

The normal and healthy function of ecosystems is not only of importance in conserving biodiversity, it is of utmost importance for human wellbeing as well. Ecosystems provide us with a wealth of valuable ecosystem services from food to clean water and fuel, without which our societies would crumble. However it is rare that only a […]

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Planning for Ecosystem Win-Wins
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Life Aquatic: Diversity and Endemism in Freshwater Ecosystems

Thu, 06 Nov 2014 11:22:07 +0000

Freshwater ecosystems are ecologically important, providing a home to hundreds of thousands of species and offering us vital ecosystem servies. However, many freshwater species are currently threatened by habitat loss, pollution, disease and invasive species. Recent research from GEE indicates that freshwater species are at greater risk of extinction than terrestrial species. Using data on […]

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Diversity and Endemism in Freshwater Ecosystems
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Handicaps, Honesty and VisibilityWhy Are Ornaments Always Exaggerated?

Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:30:30 +0000

Sexual selection is a form of natural selection that favours traits that increase mating success, often at the expense of survival. It is responsible for a huge variety of characteristics and behaviours we observe in nature, and most conspicuously, sexual selection explains the elaborate ornaments such as the antlers of red deer and the tail […]

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Why Are Ornaments Always Exaggerated?
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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
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Inaugural lecture date for three GEE professors

4 April 2011

We are pleased to announce that our three colleagues:  Jürg Bähler (Professor of Cellular Systems Biology), Max Telford (Professor of Zoology) and Kevin Fowler (Professor of Evolutionary Biology) gave their Inaugural Lectures on Wednesday 8 June 2011 starting at 5pm, in the Darwin Lecture Theatre, followed by a Celebratory Reception in the Wilkins JBR, Wilkins Building.

Prof Jürg Bähler's lecture was entitled: 'Messing about with yeast'.

Prof Max Telford's lecture was entitled:  'The Diet of Worms and other stories from the evolution of the animals'.

Prof Kevin Fowler's lecture was entitled:  'Sex, stalks and flies'.

Abstracts and photos taken at the event are below.

Links:

Bahler_Jurg


Prof Jürg Bähler: view profile

Telford_Max


Prof Max Telford:  view profile

Fowler_Kevin


Prof Kevin Fowler: view profile

'Messing about with yeast'

Prof Jürg Bähler

Abstract

This may sound sad, but I have worked with fission yeast throughout my scientific career, first on chromosome pairing as a student in Switzerland, then on cell shape as a postdoc in America and in England, where I got stuck. After becoming independent in 2000, I embraced genomics and started to analyse gene expression at a global level (but yet again, with fission yeast). We are now continuing our global research on the regulation, function and evolution of genomes at London’s Global University.

'The Diet of Worms and other stories from the evolution of the animals'

Prof Max Telford

Abstract

My research attempts to further our understanding of the evolution of the great diversity of animals - from lowly sponges and jelly fish to the many phlya of worms,  insects, molluscs and vertebrates.

Underlying all studies of animal evolution is a tree describing the evolutionary relationships between the different groups and much of my research  has involved refining the evolutionary tree of the animals.

My doctoral work was on a phylum of worms called the arrow worms which share features of embryology with a major division of the animals called the deuterostomes. The evolution of the deuterostomes has a special interest  for humans as we vertebrates, along with starfish, sea urchins and acorn worms, are part of this group.  

My doctoral work showed the arrow worms are not deuterostomes with the implication that the characters they share are either more ancient than either group or have evolved more than once. 

More recently, my group has shown another very undeuterostome-like group of flatworms - Xenoturbella - ARE deuterostomes. This surprising result tells us that these simple worms are our close relatives and that they must have lost much of the complexity of our common ancestor.

Our plan now is to try to understand   how Xenoturbella and its kin have lost these advanced features by looking at its complete genomic DNA sequence.

'Sex, stalks and flies'

Prof Kevin Fowler

Abstract

Throughout my research career, my twin obsessions have been evolutionary biology and insects. My doctoral and postdoctoral studies used fruitflies to focus on diverse topics including the evolution of body size, costs of reproduction and the consequences of population bottlenecks. Since coming to UCL in 1994, I have become increasingly devoted to studying the evolution of ornamental traits, using stalk-eyed flies. These charismatic creatures, in which the eyes and antennae are borne at the end of lateral head projections (eyestalks), have proven to be excellent model organisms for the study of multiple aspects of sexual selection. I will review key findings from a dual perspective on the attributes of the ornamental trait (male eyespan) and on female mate preference for males of exaggerated eyespan. 

Jurg Bahler
Jurg Bahler
Jurg Bahler
Max Telford
Max Telford
Max Telford
Kevin Fowler
Kevin Fowler
Max Telford, Kevin Fowler, Andrew Pomiankowski, Jurg Bahler


GEE colleagues at the Reception
GEE colleagues at the Reception
GEE colleagues at the Reception
David Murrell, Matt Piper and Astrid Wingler
Marg Glover and Helen Chatterjee
GEE colleagues at the Reception
GEE colleagues at the Reception
Photos taken by Jane Dempster, Executive Officer to Head of Department, GEE



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