Tuesday, 24 April 2018

BioMaths Colloquium - 27/04/2018

BioMaths Colloquium Series - 2017/18

  27 April 2018 - 3pm Maths Seminar Room

(room 224 Talbot Building 2nd floor)

The coupling of calcium signalling and mechanics: models and experiments

Dr Katerina Kaouri

(School of MathematicsUniversity of Cardiff, UK) 

Image by Katerina Kaouri

Our BioMaths Colloquium Series resumes for the spring term with a seminar by Dr Katerina Kaouri, from the School of Mathematics at University of Cardiff (UK). Katerina Kaouri holds a DPhil in Applied Mathematics from Oxford, on the modelling of sonic booms (see here a TED-Ed animation on sonic booms). After postdoctoral work in mathematical biology at Oxford and Nottingham she worked as a business consultant for a few years. Then, upon returning to her home country, Cyprus, she taught at various Cypriot universities for several years and co-founded the non-profit organization SciCo Cyprus to communicate science to the public in interactive and entertaining ways, a mission close to her heart. Katerina is currently a Lecturer in Applied Mathematics at Cardiff University. 

Katerina uses deterministic and stochastic mathematical modelling, asymptotics and simulations to tackle questions arising from biology, physics and engineering, but also from industry and the society. In her math-bio research she focuses on the interplay of calcium signalling and mechanics, a challenge which is crucial in embryogenesis but can be of interest also in wound healing and cancer. Regarding the industry and society side, in 2016 she led the organization of the first Study Group with Industry in Cyprus, an intensive academia-industry workshop where 50 mathematical modelling experts from 17 countries solved four industrial challenges. She is also a core team member of the EU-funded Mathematics for Industry Network (31 countries) and of the SciShops.eu project (12 countries) tackling 250 societal challenges across Europe.

Calcium signalling is one of the most important mechanisms of information propagation in the body. In embryogenesis the interplay between calcium signalling and mechanical forces is critical to normal embryonic development, but poorly understood. Several types of embryonic cells exhibit calcium-induced contractions and several experiments indicate that calcium oscillations and contractions are linked via a two-way feedback mechanism; disruption of these calcium oscillations leads to embryo abnormalities. I will discuss some of these experiments and present appropriate mathematical models.

The discussions will continue over biscuits and tea/coffee after the seminar. 
Hope to see many of you!

For the list of forthcoming seminars, see here

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Wallace Coffee Talks - 19 April 2018

Wallace Coffee Talks - Spring 2018
19 April 2018 - 1pm - Zoology Museum


eDNA as a conservation tool: from crayfish to cetaceans

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is increasingly being utilised as tool for detecting and monitoring a range of species in both terrestrial and aquatic environments. Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are difficult to locate when at low abundances, however eDNA has proven to be an effective technique for enabling early detection of target species. eDNA has the scope to be applied for non-invasive genetic sampling of  populations of large mammals such as cetaceans, to inform management for effective conservation strategies. 

Matt Perkins (Swansea University, UK)
Materials and ecology of marine infrastructure
Marine infrastructure presents novel habitats within coastal ecosystems, comprising hard substrate of non-local origin (concretes, rocks, metals). My research aims to test the ‘ecological performance’ of such materials by examining settlement communities, in order to make recommendations upon the ecological impacts and opportunities such materials present. As a new member of the department, in this talk I will also briefly describe some of my past work as a community ecologist using stable isotopes to examine food web structure.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Wallace Coffee Talks - 12 April 2018

Wallace Coffee Talks - Spring 2018
12 April 2018 - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Mechanistic modelling of collective motion in animal groups

Bird flocks, fish schools, and herds of sheep being chased by sheepdogs are examples of systems that consists of many individuals that can somehow move and respond to external stimuli as one unit. How does that work? In this talk I will present some standard “answers” to this question, some recent results suggesting we may want to revise these “answers", and explain how work of this type may be useful to society.

Ana Carolina Luchiari (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil)

Fish like us: how can fish help us to understand ourselves

I am a biologist and developed my MSc and PhD to answer how different environmental colors affect behavior and welfare in fish. For the past five years, I have been concerned with the development of novel behavioral testing tools (face validity) for the zebrafish, and with psychopharmacological approaches to study the mechanisms of alcohol abuse, and its effects on learning and memory (constructive and predictive validities). All psychoactive drugs are of interest when it can positively or negatively affect our brain. Currently, I am trying to understand individual differences in alcohol intake, transgenerational effects of alcohol on cognition, and the potential of alternative treatments for alcohol abuse.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 15 March 2018

Biosciences Seminar Series - Winter 2018
15 March 2018 - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Mapping and modelling the impacts of dams, weirs, and road culverts

Dr Stephanie Januchowski-Hartley

Our Biosciences Seminar Series continues with a talk by Dr Stephanie Januchowski-Hartley , who joined us this year as Sêr Cymru Rising Star Fellow at the Department of Biosciences at Swansea University (UK). Steph joined us from the Laboratoire Evolution et Diversité Biologique at Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse (France), where she worked as research fellow on evaluating impacts of dams, weirs and roads on freshwater fish distribution and community composition. Originally from Michigan (USA), Steph is a Conservation Biologist especially interested in freshwater/fish conservation and more generally about the relationships between humans and nature, and her research has taken her widely across the world. Steph also is dedicated to connect the ecological and social aspects of Conservation Science and is passionate about communicating science, conservation and nature, using diverse media including poetry, sketching and drawing, photography and macro & micro blogging. Steph is also President of the Society for Conservation Biology Freshwater Working Group and European Section Board Member and closely works with the British Ecological Society, too.

Fresh waters are some of the most heavily modified ecosystems on earth, impacted by diverse human-induced stressors, many of which are associated with urbanization and infrastructure. Under ongoing global change, there are the both threats to, and opportunities for freshwater resources, and the species and communities that depend on these resources. Despite this, our understanding about instream infrastructure such as dams, weirs, and road culverts remains limited. To develop proactive conservation strategies requires an understanding about current and potential future occurrences of human-induced stressors within the context of global climate change. Drawing on examples from Colombia, North America, and France, I will discuss how we have begun to address these challenges for freshwater ecosystems by determining spatial locations and characteristic of current and potential instream infrastructure. Drawing on these cases, along with knowledge gained from local-scale case studies, I introduce future directions that my lab will be taking to inform cross-scale policy and management decisions related to instream infrastructure.

Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!

For the list of forthcoming seminars see here

Biosciences Science Club Series 13 March 2018

Biosciences Science Club Series - Winter 2018
13 March 2018 - 12pm - Wallace Lecture Theatre (140)

Individual variation in fitness components in migratory white storks (Ciconia ciconia)

Dr Shay Rotics

We are delighted to welcome Dr Shay Rotics, from the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge (UK). Shay is an ecologist, especially interested in behavioural ecology and conservation science. He has recently started his Blavatnik Research Fellowship at LARG (the Large Animal Research Group at the Department of Zoology at Cambridge University), after completing his PhD on Movement - fitness relationships in white storks at the Movement Ecology Group at the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel).

Migration facilitates the exploitation of seasonally abundant food resources and favorable climate, yet, migration is also considered costly and risky. In my PhD study I investigated individual variation in survival and breeding success of white storks in light of their long-distance migration. Solar GPS-body-acceleration transmitters were used to monitor movement, behavior, and energy expenditure proxy (derived from overall dynamic body acceleration, ODBA) of juveniles (<1 year) and adults, which were coupled with environmental data. Using these multifaceted data, we found that the juveniles’ early life behavior, fall migration flight attributes and wintering decisions could illuminated juvenile survival differences. We further examined the spring return migration of the adults which provided insights on the causes of individual differences in arrival time to breeding grounds and consequently on breeding success. The research identified key factors that affect survival and breeding success in white storks and demonstrated the feasibility of addressing fitness components in the wild while combining high-resolution, multifaceted tracking and environmental data.

Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!

For the list of forthcoming seminars see here