Search

Archive

2009

Fitz Seminars: 2009

Dr Martim Melo on 'Bird Speciation in the Gulf of Guinea'

Date: Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Time: 13h00
Venue: Niven Library

Martim Melo, a CoE postdoctoral fellow at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, will present a talk on 'Bird Speciation in the Gulf of Guinea' on Tuesday 28 April.

According to Martim, the Gulf of Guinea island system, West Africa, constitutes a spectacular centre of bird endemism, with 33 species unique to the region. It comprises three oceanic islands (Annobón, São Tomé, Príncipe), one land-bridge island (Bioko) and one ecological island (Mount Cameroon), all part of the Cameroon line of volcanoes. He will present genetic, morphological and behavioural data from several bird groups to investigate: i) the importance of isolation for the speciation process; ii) the applicability of the current ‘ecological model’ of speciation, which was developed in parapatric and sympatric situations (presence of gene flow), to allopatric situations (no gene flow), and iii) the link between character divergence at the population level and the evolution of reproductive isolation.

Dr Timothée Cook on 'The ecology of diving birds: behavioural and sexual responses to environmental variability'

Date: Tuesday, 4 August 2009
Time: 13h00
Venue: Niven Library

Timothée Cook a CoE postdoctoral fellow at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, will be giving a talk on 'The ecology of diving birds: behavioural and sexual responses to environmental variability' on Tuesday 4 August.

Timothée's synopsis: "I am currently doing a COE post-doc with Peter Ryan on the foraging ecology of South African marine species of cormorants. Here, I present a summary of the results I obtained during the PhD I did in France on the foraging ecology of blue-eyed shags (the Crozet and Kerguelen shags). Blue-eyed shags are cormorants that live in the Southern Ocean. They are adapted to living in the cold and display important diving abilities, making them particularly interesting candidates for the study of diving ecophysiology. Furthermore, they display strong sexual differences in foraging ecology. I use blue-eyed shags as a model for studying the effect of environmental variability on diving strategies and sexual divergence in foraging behaviour."

Prof. Dominique G Homberger on 'The functional morphology of the avian integument: Implications for the evolutionary origin of bird flight'

Date: Monday, 17 August 2009
Time: 13h00
Venue: Niven Library

Dominique G. Homberger is a Professor of Zoology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Louisiana State University.

Dr Rowan Martin on 'Long-term monogamy in a long-lived parrot'

Date: Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Time: 13h00
Venue: Niven Library

Rowan Martin will be present his PhD research on the Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrot that was conducted while at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Rowan's synopsis: "Mating systems can be viewed as the outcome of life-history trade-offs and conflict between parents over the care of offspring. Evolutionary theory predicts that under strict long-term monogamy the reproductive interests of males and females are aligned and sexual conflict over parental care should be minimised. Using a series of brood size manipulations I explored patterns of parental care and their consequences for offspring in the monogamous Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrot. I further explore the role of hatching asynchrony and food availability in the process of brood reduction. Parrots around the world are disproportionately threatened and understanding the processes that underpin patterns of reproductive success can provide us with valuable conservation tools."

Dr Jérôme Fuchs on "A molecular perspective on evolutionary processes and biodiversity in Africa: from Pan African phylogeograhy to diversification within the southern African arid zone"

Date: Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Time: 13h00
Venue: Niven Library

Jérôme Fuchs is a postdoctoral researcher in the FitzPatrick Institute.

Seminar by Dr Jeffrey Peters: "Multilocus phylogeography: population structure, gene flow and selection in Anas ducks"

Date: Thursday, 19 November 2009
Time: 13h00
Venue: Niven Library

Dr Jeffrey Peters is from Wright State University in the USA.

Dr Peters' synopsis: "My research program uses sequence data from multiple loci to examine the spatial arrangement of genetic diversity in co-distributed species of Anas ducks. These data suggest that Holarctic ducks have had idiosyncratic population histories and that levels of connectivity between Old World and New World populations vary considerably among species. Regardless of these differences, for 5 of the 6 species, the data suggest that males are more likely to disperse between continents than are females; thus, male-dispersal maintains species cohesion. A second focus of my research examines how natural selection acting on DNA influences our ability to infer population histories. Using the gadwall (Anas strepera) as a model, I found that selection has had a strong influence on non-coding DNA and that this influence biases estimates of population-level parameters. However, some signatures of history, such as relative differences in population sizes and differences in the direction of gene flow, are robust to the influence of selection. Collectively, these studies illustrate the need to examine multilocus datasets to delineate populations and to better understand how historical and contemporary processes have influenced populations. Future studies will include a multilocus analysis of community genetics for global duck populations."

Mduduzi Ndlovu on "The moult and movement ecology of African ducks"

Date: Friday, 20 November 2009
Time: 13h00
Venue: Niven Library

Fitz MSc student, Mduduzi Ndlovu will present his PhD proposal

Dr Orjan Bodin on "Network based models of fragmented landscapes: concepts, applicability, and predictability"

Date: Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Time: 13h00
Venue: Niven Library

Dr Orjan Bodin is from Stockholm University, Sweden.

Dr Bodin's synopsis: "Network based models of fragmented landscapes have received increasing interest since the late 90s. A network describing a fragmented landscape consists of: (1) Nodes (representing individually and spatially distinct habitat patches) and (2) Links (representing the possibility for species dispersal between individual patches). Thus, the network represents the landscapes spatial structure of connectivity (from an organisms point of view). It encapsulates the potential of an organism to traverse the landscape by moving from patch to patch. The network approach thus merges dispersal processes with spatial patterns of habitat patches, hence enables topological process-oriented analyses of landscape connectivity.

This work presents a set of case studies from rural and urban Sweden and southern Madagascar that are utilizing the network modeling approach in studying aspects of landscape connectivity. Experiences are synthesized in respect of the modeling frameworks possible advantages, shortcomings, applicability and ability to predict species presence/absence/abundance. A number of network based modeling approaches targeted to assess the importance of individual patches are also suggested and discussed."

Dr David Grémillet on: "Winners & Losers: Rating the impact of climate change on seabirds in the North Atlantic"

Date: Monday, November 30, 2009
Time: 13h00
Venue: Niven Library

Dr David Grémillet is from the CNRS in Montpellier, France.

"The aim of my research is to understand the impact of global change on marine top-predators using detailed investigations of the ecophysiology of seabirds in their natural environment. My investigations in the field of functional ecology are based upon novel biotelemetry technologies, metabolic studies and thermodynamic modelling. Such field studies mainly take place in the Atlantic (Davis Strait, Greenland Sea, Barents Sea, North Sea, English Channel, and Benguela) where major environmental changes are currently taking place. These studies allow me (1) to evaluate the energetic plasticity of a variety of seabird species i.e. their capacity to maintain their energy balance when facing rapid environmental change, and (2) to test their value as ecological indicators of marine food webs, and (3) to contribute to a better management of aquatic ecosystems and marine biodiversity."

Assistant Professor Bengt Hansson on: "Evolutionary aspects of dispersal and migration in the great reed warbler"

Date: Tuesday, 8 December, 2009
Time: 13h00
Venue: Niven Library

Assistant Professor Bengt Hansson is from the University of Lund, Sweden

This talk will be about animal movements in general and about dispersal and migration in the great reed warbler in particular. Topics range from colonisation patterns, dispersal distances and migration routes to inbreeding, life-time reproductive success and sexual conflicts. Most results are based on reproductive and pedigree data from a long-term study population of great reed warblers at Lake Kvismaren, southern Central Sweden.