Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Thankyou, goodbye and good luck Mireia, Skye, Tammy and Anna!


(Photos shamelessly stolen from Facebook)

Posted by Erik Svensson 

As some of you already know, we have had some amazing and hard-working undergraduate internship students working in our labs and helping our PhD-students and postdocs who have now left EXEB to continue their education and work elsewhere. You probably already know who I am talking about: Mireia Ballesta (from Spain), Skye Butterson (from South Africa), Tammy Ho (from Singapore, studying at Manchester University, UK) and Anna Kell (from Wales, studying at Manchester University, UK). 

Mireia, Skye, Tammy and Anna have all been extremely helpful in both the field and the laboratory, helping and assisting mainly Anna Nordén, John Waller and Beatriz Willink in their day-to-day research. As an advisor of John and Beatriz I am of course very happy to see them getting this  help, and also getting training in teaching and advising, and I think I speak also for Jessica Abbott, who is main advisor for Anna in that respect. 

We have valued your contributions a lot, as well as your enthusiasm, good working spirit and humour. We wish all four of you good luck in your future careers, and we hope you will keep your time in Lund as one of happy memories. Thankyou!!!!

Friday, August 26, 2016


Next Tuesday I thought we could read a paper that has been on my to-read list for a while. It's a review by Scott Gilbert et al. entitled 'Eco-Evo-Devo: developmental symbiosis and developmental plasticity as evolutionary agents'.

I'm not sure if the paper says anything radically new, but I think it might be a nice entry point to a discussion about how ecology, evolution and development fit together and what the future of this interdisciplinary field might hold for us.

You can find the paper here and below the abstract:

The integration of research from developmental biology and ecology into evolutionary theory has given rise to a relatively new field, ecological evolutionary developmental biology (Eco-Evo-Devo). This field integrates and organizes concepts such as developmental symbiosis, developmental plasticity, genetic accommodation, extragenic inheritance and niche construction. This Review highlights the roles that developmental symbiosis and developmental plasticity have in evolution. Developmental symbiosis can generate particular organs, can produce selectable genetic variation for the entire animal, can provide mechanisms for reproductive isolation, and may have facilitated evolutionary transitions. Developmental plasticity is crucial for generating novel phenotypes, facilitating evolutionary transitions and altered ecosystem dynamics, and promoting adaptive variation through genetic accommodation and niche construction. In emphasizing such non-genomic mechanisms of selectable and heritable variation, Eco-Evo-Devo presents a new layer of evolutionary synthesis.

When: Tuesday August 30 at 10.00
Where: "Argumentet", 2nd floor, Ecology Building

There might be some fika ;-)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

EXEB seminar schedule autumn 2016!

Posted by Erik Svensson

The EXEB-schedule for autumn 2016 has now been finalized, based on the "Doodle"-poll. As usual, feel free to have a mix between journal club and articles to discuss, give a short research presentation or raise some topic for discussion or invite temporary visitors for short and informal seminars.

The person(-s) responsible for a Tuesday meeting should announce the topic on the blog, preferably in good time and ideally on Thursday or Friday the preceeding week so that people have time to read the article.

As usual,  meetings take place on Tuesdays at 10.00 and "fika" is compulsory :). If you have to change your date, you'll have to talk to some other on the list who can replace you.

Day                                           Person(-s)

Tuesday August 30                 Nathalie Feiner
Tuesday September 6             Jessica Abbott
Tuesday September 13           Reinder Radersma
Tuesday September 20           Weizhao Yang
Tuesday September 27           Tobias Uller
Tuesday October 4                 Antonio Cordero
Tuesday October 11                Seminar by Ayana Martins (visiting Erik's group)
Tuesday  October 18              Alexander Hegg & Qinyang Li
Tuesday  October 25               Beatriz Willink
Tuesday November 1              Anna Nordén
Tuesday November 8               John Waller
Tuesday November 15             Seminar by Stephen De Lisle (new postdoc in Erik's group)
Tuesday November 22             Nathalie Feiner
Tuesday November 29             Jessica Abbott
Tuesday December 6                Reinder Radersma
Tuesday December 13              Weizhao Yang


Monday, August 22, 2016

Welcome Alexander and Quinyang!

Qinyang Lis profilfoto

            Alexander Hegg                                                     Quinyang Li

Posted by Erik Svensson

Although there is outflow from EXEB - recently as Katie Duryea left us - there is also inflow. The two latest newcomers are Alexander Hegg, who will soon start his official PhD-position in Tobias Ullers group, and Quinyang Li who has commenced a position as research technician in Jessica Abbott's group. Although both Alexander and Quinyang are known to the EXEB members since before, since they have worked with us in various projects, I still wanted to take this opportunity to "officially" welcome them to more "permanent" positions (well, "permanent" by university standards, that is!). We are looking forward to have you around for quite many years ahead and wish you good luck in your future work. 


Thankyou Katie, goodbye and good luck!


Posted by Erik Svensson 

Some might already know and others have noticed that one of EXEB's members have left us after two years as a postdoc in my lab: Katie Duryea has now finished her two-year NSF-funded postdoc to take up a  position at Great Basin College in Nevada. We wish Katie good luck in her new job, although it is of course always a bit sad when a close co-worker leaves us. However, Katie has indicated that she might come back for field work and continue our past and ongoing collaborations around sexual conflict and mating polymorphism in the damselfly Ischnura elegans, and we are certainly looking forward to that, as well as the exciting research publications that will come out from her past two years in Lund.

During her time in Lund, Katie has also been an integral part of the intellectual and scientific research environment of both my group and EXEB. I therefore think I am speaking for several of us in EXEB when I say that we will miss you very much. Thanks for these wonderful two years Katie!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Visit to EXEB by Masahito Tsuboi and talk about phenomics and the integration of micro- and macroevolution

Posted by Erik Svensson

For next week's EXEB-meeting (Tuesday August 23 at 10.00 in "Argumentet"), I am happy to welcome an outside visitor: Dr. Masahito Tsuboi from the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) and the "Macroevolution Group". Masahito is currently a postdoc in Thomas F. Hansen's lab at Oslo University.

Masahito is visiting my lab next week to discuss some future research collaboration, and will give a talk about his research entitled:

Bridging the gap between micro- and macro-evolution: a challenge of quantitative phenomics

Below is the Abstract of the talk and some information about Masahito's research background:

Abstract: One of the most enduring challenges in evolutionary biology is to understand how evolutionary processes observed at population levels scale up to the diversity observed at species or higher taxonomic levels. Over the past decades, theoretical maturation of quantitative genetics, development of phylogenetic comparative methods and accumulation of high quality phenotypic data have collectively start offering solutions to fundamental issues in linking micro- and macro-evolution. Applying quantitative genetic theories for macroevolutionary phenotypic data, my research tries to assess if and how tempo and mode of macroevolution could be understood by microevolutionary patterns. In my seminar, I will first briefly outline my idea and present some preliminary results. A stronger focus then would be placed on discussing the approach and further scopes.

About me: I obtained PhD degree last year from Uppsala University, Sweden, working with Prof. Niclas Kolm on brain size evolution in cichlids, pipefishes and seahorses primarily from above-species, macroevolutionary, perspectives. Currently, I am a Postdoctoral fellow funded by Japanese Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) based in University of Oslo, Norway, working with Prof. Thomas Hansen on the link between micro- and macro-evolution using dataset of vertebrate brain size, deer antler size, and fly wing morphology. 

"Fika" will be available. Everybody should be most welcome!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

First EXEB-meeting fall 2016: on the evolution of coral snake mimicry

Posted by Erik Svensson

I hope everybody have enjoyed the summer and has had some time to relax. It is time to start this fall's EXEB-meetings, and suggest we meet and discuss this recent beutiful paper on the evolution of Batesian mimicry between coral snakes and king snakes by Allison Rabosky and colleagues. The paper is open access and can be downloaded here. This paper contains a nice mixture of phylogenetic comparative methods, macroevolutionary questions, colour evolution, mimicry and herps! What more could one ask for? Abstract is appended below.

When: Tuesday August 16 at 10.00
Where: "Argumentet", 2nd floor, Ecology Building. 

I will bring "fika" :)

Coral snakes predict the evolution of mimicry across New World snakes 

Alison R. Davis Rabosky, Christian L. Cox, Daniel L. Rabosky, Pascal O. Title, Iris A. Holmes, Anat Feldman, Jimmy A. McGuire

Nature Communications 7, Article number: 11484 doi:10.1038/ncomms11484


Batesian mimicry, in which harmless species (mimics) deter predators by deceitfully imitating the warning signals of noxious species (models), generates striking cases of phenotypic convergence that are classic examples of evolution by natural selection. However, mimicry of venomous coral snakes has remained controversial because of unresolved conflict between the predictions of mimicry theory and empirical patterns in the distribution and abundance of snakes. Here we integrate distributional, phenotypic and phylogenetic data across all New World snake species to demonstrate that shifts to mimetic coloration in nonvenomous snakes are highly correlated with coral snakes in both space and time, providing overwhelming support for Batesian mimicry. We also find that bidirectional transitions between mimetic and cryptic coloration are unexpectedly frequent over both long- and short-time scales, challenging traditional views of mimicry as a stable evolutionary ‘end point’ and suggesting that insect and snake mimicry may have different evolutionary dynamics.