Genetics, Evolution and Environment


GEE Events

CBER Research Talk - Adam Devenish - 22 February 2018

Title: Are Argentine ants leaving a mark beyond biodiversity loss?
Speaker: Adam Devenish (research profile)
Venue: G02 Watson LT, Medawar Building (map)
Abstract: Mutualistic interactions between ants and plants play a major role in shaping our landscape. One such mutualism is ant mediated seed dispersal (myrmecochory), whereby plants produce seeds with a nutritional elaiosome (the reward), which elicits a behavioural response in the ants to carry the seeds back to the nest (the service). While these mutualisms are thought to be vital for maintaining biodiversity and plant community structure, not all ant species interact with seeds in the same way. This specificity between ant and plant species means that this mutualism is potentially sensitive to perturbations by the global spread of non-native invasive ant species, as these invaders have a potentially different ‘palate’ to that of the native ant species.
In this talk I will explore how the ant invader, Linepithema humile (Argentine ant) is modifying the native ant and floral community structure, in the Cape Floristic Region (South Africa) and Iberian Peninsula (Spain), and the long-term consequences these invasions could be having on phenotypic seed traits.

Starts: Feb 22, 2018 1:00:00 PM

CBER Research Talk - Rory Gibb - 5 March 2018

Title: Understanding and predicting effects of land use on biodiversity and zoonotic disease
Speaker: Rory Gibb
Venue: Medawar Building G01 Lankester LT (map)
Abstract: Global environmental drivers such as land use, climate change and urbanisation are projected to have profound impacts on both public health and biodiversity this century. Although much attention has been paid to the predicted effects of climate change on zoonotic (animal-borne) and vector-borne diseases, the effects of land use change are much less well-studied at regional and global scales, despite its importance as a driver of landscape-scale variability in community composition, parasite transmission dynamics, and associated disease risk. Indeed, understanding such potential environmental synergies and trade-offs between zoonotic disease burden and other ecosystem outcomes such as food security and biodiversity conservation, represents a critical but under-studied dimension of planetary health. In this talk I will discuss these issues with reference to my PhD research, including a global analysis of the impacts of land use on the zoonotic potential of ecological communities, and a case study examining potential disease risk trade-offs associated with projected agricultural change and Lassa fever, an important rodent-borne zoonosis endemic to West Africa.

Starts: Mar 5, 2018 1:00:00 PM