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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 […]

The post It Pays to Be Different:
Evolutionary Distinctiveness and Conservation Priorities
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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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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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