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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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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
appeared first on GEE Research.

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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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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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