Sunday, May 31, 2015

Good bye and see you soon! / hejdå! vi ses!

Posted by Jessica Abbott on behalf of Anais Rivas Torres

Hello everyone! Since I'm leaving soon, I would like to invite you to fika. I will provide something sweet on Tuesday. And we can just talk about how it's going or talk about some scientific hot topic. I hope see as many people as possible. Place and time as usual.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Maternal effects and epigenetics in humans

Elmar Tobi from Leiden University Medical Centre is visiting this week. He will give us an informal overview of his research showing how exposure to poor nutrition during early development affects the epigenome, using the famous longitudinal study of the Dutch hunger winter cohort. In other words, maternal effects, epigenetics, and how they affect health and disease.

The title is: Epigenetic consequences of the Dutch famine

If you want to check out Elmar's papers you can find a list here.

The talk starts at 15.15 on Thursday in Argumentet and will be followed by a trip to the pub later in the afternoon/early evening. There are more good reasons to join because you can also meet Antonio Cordero who just arrived to do a postdoc in Tobias' group. More about him later on this blog.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Coevolution of the sex chromosomes in Drosophila melanogaster

Posted by Jessica Abbott on behalf of Katrine Lund-Hansen

Since I´m leaving next week, I thought I could give a informal talk about why I have been spending so many hours in the lab.
We wanted to quantify coevolution of the two sex chromosomes in Drosophila through intriguing crosses.
Our results have been surprising and we are still trying to understand them, but they seem to have implication for our understanding of sex chromosome evolution,
sexual antagonism, and speciation.
So there is going to be a lot of talk about flies and sex chromosomes.

Same place, same time, I'll bring fika.

Hello and goodbye

Posted by Jessica Abbott

 As anyone who follows this blog will have noticed, we recently gained two new members. However we also lost an old member, Maren Wellenreuther, not too long ago. Maren left EXEB and the Evolutionary Ecology unit a couple of months ago to rejoin MEMEG, as she felt this would be a better fit for her. Although this is of course a loss for us, we respect Maren's decision and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavours!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Introducing new EXEB-members

Last week, two new members started at EXEB in Tobias' group.

Reinder Radersma

I am interested is the dynamic relationship between phenotypes and their environment, and how different solutions have evolved to deal with different levels of variability in the environment. I just started in EXEB to work with Tobias on epigenetic inheritance in water fleas (Daphnia). We will investigate the non-genetic inheritance of tolerance to toxins produced by cyanobacteria. Daphnia have low tolerance in spring, but built up tolerance over the summer. There are studies showing this is non-genetically inherited and there are also indications it might be epigenetic. Before, I worked in Oxford on social behaviour and genetics in great tits. I have looked at the heritability of social network traits and took also a population genetic approach to investigate how space and social structure affect the distribution of genotypes in the population. I did my PhD in Groningen on the ecological and evolutionary consequences of brood sex ratio variation, also in great tits.

Reinder's working on epigenetic inheritance in water fleas (Daphnia)


Hanna Laakkonen

I'm a lab manager in Tobias' group and my tasks vary from general administration to assistance in all the research related things, and also to research itself. I’m defending my PhD on phylogeography of amphi-boreal marine fauna this autumn, in the Finnish Museum of Natural History of Helsinki University. In my doctoral project I studied genetic diversity and phylogeography of boreal and arctic marine fauna, including some thirty invertebrate and thirty fish taxa. Study questions were related to genetic relationships (vicariance, dispersal, cryptic diversity, secondary contacts and introgression) of North Pacific and Atlantic animals, in the timescale from Pliocene to Holocene. In my master’s thesis I studied chronic effects of crude oil to plankton community, and thus I’m also very excited about Reinder’s project. While my background is in phylogeography, especially adaptation to new environments fascinates me, including the ecological drivers and evolutionary mechanisms behind it.

Hanna's a lab manager

Friday, May 8, 2015

Labmeeting: talk on genetics and social behaviour

For next week’s lab meeting I would like to give a presentation of some of the work I have done in the last few years on genetics and social behaviour in great tits.

Two interacting great tits by Shirley Clarke

Title: The interplay between genes and social structure

Many animals regularly engage in interactions with conspecifics. Because those interactions can have fitness consequences, there is scope for selection on social traits. There are however some complications, because individuals change their social environment by interacting and therefore the selection pressures they face change as well. Individuals can also choose their environment by choosing with which individuals they interact. Lastly, social interactions also affect the spatial distribution of genotypes and therefore the local gene pool. I will present work on the great tit population of Wytham Woods (Oxford, UK). We constructed social networks of foraging great tits with automated radio frequency identification techniques. For all years a pedigree was constructed and for some years most individuals were also genotyped on a SNP-chip. I investigated the genetic basis of social behaviour and so-called indirect genetic effects. I also looked at the effect space and social structure had on the distribution of genotypes. I will discuss the results and their broader implications.