Saturday, November 14, 2009

An exciting week with the phenotype in the centre of focus: Thesis nailing, lab-meeting (18 November) and dissertation

We have an exciting week in front of us, starting with the nailing of Fabrice Eroukhmanoffs PhD-thesis on Monday 16 October at 15.00. This ceremony will take place at "The Oak" in the bottom floor of the Ecology Building, and drinks will of course be served. Hope to see you all there!

On Wednesday (18 November), we will have our regular lab-meeting in "Darwin" at 10.00. Fabrice will show his Powerpoint-presentation to get some last feedback before the thesis defence on Friday 20 November. We will also discuss a recent paper by David Houle in the journal PNAS, where he suggests that time is now mature for the formation of a new scientific field: "Phenomics". After all the other "-omics"-revolutions in biology (genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics), Houle suggests that we should now return to the most interesting unit of evolution, and what made most of us interested in biology in the first place: The Phenotype. In spite of all the many advances in genomics and other reductionistic fields in molecular biology, our knowledge about how phenotypes evolve, and how they should be measured and quantified is still quite limited. Hopefully, this paper will open up our eyes for a bright future in the field of evolutionary ecology, and give some new idéas for research. You can download the paper here. If the links do not work, contact me or Anna Runemark ( and try to get a PDF from us instead. By, the way, do we have any "fika-volunteer" on Wednesday morning?

The exciting week does not end on Wednesday, luckily. On Thursday, Fabrice's thesis opponent, Professor Andrew Hendry from McGill University (Canada) will give a research seminar at 13.00 in the "Blue Hall" (note the time: it is one hour earlier than the "official" Thursday seminar which starts at 14.00). Hendry has done a lot of research on rapid evolutionary change in natural populations, gene flow, "eco-evolutionary dynamics" and ecological speciation. Thetitle of Andrew's talk on Thursday 19 November is:
"Ecological speciation (or the lack there-of) in sticklebacks, guppies and Darwin's finches"
Finally, this exciting week with the phenotype in focus will have a grand finale on Friday November 20 in the "Blue Hall" at 10.00, when Fabrice will defend his thesis. I hope as many as possible can and will join in to see Fabrice defending himself against Andrew Hendry, who is known to be a very critical and detail-oriented scientist. Most welcome!

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