Monday, 24 February 2020

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 27 February 2020

Biosciences Seminar Series - Winter 2020
27 February 2020 - 1pm - Zoology Museum


The evolution of parental care diversity in Amphibians

Dr Isabella Capellini

Our Biosciences Seminar Series resumes for the 2020 winter term with a talk by Dr Isabella Capellini from the School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast, UKIsabella is an evolutionary ecologist, interested in the evolution of reproductive strategies, biological invasions, the ecology and evolution of sleep, and in general eco-evolutionary life history studies,  taking a comparative approach.


Abstract
Once evolved, parental care plays a key role in promoting social evolution, cooperation and conflict within the families, and alters the trajectory of life history evolution. Parental care is also extremely diverse across species, ranging from simple behaviour like attendance of the eggs to complex adaptation like food provisioning, lactation and viviparity. Most studies on parental care focus on one or few care forms, or reduce diversity to a simple presence/absence condition. Thus, we still do not know how diversity itself evolves, what the drivers of its evolution are, and whether all forms of care equally affect life history evolution. Amphibians offer the opportunity to address these questions being one of the most diverse taxon in reproductive, life history, and parental care strategies. By explicitly considering diversity and using phylogenetic comparative methods, we find support for some of the long standing hypotheses on the evolution of parental care, but also reveal a much more complex and unexpected picture on how and why care forms evolve, and what consequence different care forms have for the evolution of egg and clutch size.

   


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


For the list of forthcoming seminars see here

Friday, 14 February 2020

Wallace Coffee Talks - Winter 2020
25th January - 1pm - Zoology Museum


Fancy a cup of coffee or tea and learning more about the researchers at Swansea university? Come join us at the Wallace coffee talks: an informal seminar series where students, staff and others related to Swansea university speak about their research or personal interests.


Carolina Gutierrez
Development and validation of an Operational Welfare Score Index (LOWSI) for farmed lumpfish Cyclopterus lumpus L.
Lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus L.) are widely used for sea lice control in commercial salmon farming, but their welfare is often challenged by poor husbandry, stress and disease outbreaks, compromising their ability to delouse salmon and causing public concern. For this reason, it is extremely important to identify when the welfare of the lumpfish is compromised in a practical and effective way, so corrective actions can be taken reducing stress-related mortalities and improving the sustainability of the industry. This talk will present the Lumpfish Operational Welfare Score Index (LOWSI) we have developed based on a Likert-scale assessment of skin and fin damage, eye condition, sucker deformities and relative weight. 


Alex Purdie 
Growing sea lice in the laboratory to support the aquaculture industry  
Sea lice, Lepeophtheirus salmonis, are an obligate ectoparasite of salmonids which costs the salmon farming industry millions of pounds every year. At low infection density (ca. 5-10 per fish) lice induce stress and form ulcers which can lead to secondary infections, at higher infection densities (ca. 100 per fish) lice can kill their host. Salmon cages stock fish at a high density, this provides the lice with a bountiful and easy to reach supply of hosts, causing lice populations to increase dramatically, often with hundreds of lice per fish. These epizootic episodes are costly for the farms and also increase infection rates in wild salmonid populations – this has been linked to the decline of some wild populations. New and improved sea lice controls are therefore required, and to develop these the industry needs a reliable supply of lice to test treatments on. However, the only way to culture lice is by using a live host salmonid, this leads to a high cost per louse and serious ethical issues. This talk will cover an MRes project which aims to culture sea lice in the laboratory without the use of a host. It will explore the key stages required to close the loop in this parasitic life cycle, notably by providing a reliable source of food for the lice which contains both nutrients to feed the lice and can induce the lice to attack it as if it were a salmon. If successful, the aquaculture industry will have a new reliable source of lice to use in the laboratory, which is both cheaper and more humane than the current system. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Biomath Colloquium 07/02/2020

BioMaths Colloquium Series - 2019/20

  07 February 2020 - 3pm Zoology Museum

(Wallace Building, Singleton Campus)


Biomechanics and mechanobiology for bone tissue engineering in vitro

Dr Zhao Feihu


(College of EngineeringSwansea University) 

image by Zhao Feihu

Our BioMaths Colloquium Series resumes for the winter term with a seminar by Dr Zhao Feihu, from the Zienkiewicz Centre for Computational Engineering at Swansea University.  Zhao is a Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering and joined Swansea University in 2019, from the Eindhoven University of Technology. Zhao's research interest are in mechano-biology, using computational and experimental approaches, such as in silico bone tissue engineering, effects of stretching and mechanical stimulation on the development and characteristics of cells, etc.


Abstract
Mechanical stimulation can regulate cellular activities in vivo, e.g. differentiation, proliferation and extracellular matrix (ECM) production. In vivo evidence has shown that higher bone mineral density can be achieved under mechanical stimulation (mechanical strain and/or fluid induced wall shear stress). If mechanobiological findings can be translated to bone tissue engineering in vitro, we may accelerate osteogenesis and enhance mineralised bone tissue formation, which for example can be used for drug testing to treat osteoporosis. Therefore, we aimed to explore this possibility by applying different mechanical stimulations to the cells (stem cells and bone cells) using different bioreactor techniques. Furthermore, to refine the in vitro bone tissue engineering experiments and reduce trial-and-error experiments, we used in silico (computational) approaches to find the optimal cellular mechanical stimulation for bone tissue engineering, and predicted how mineralised bone tissue grew within biomaterial scaffolds under different mechanical stimulations.  



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

For the list of forthcoming seminars, see here

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 30 January 2020

Biosciences Seminar Series - Winter 2020
30 January 2020 - 1pm - Zoology Museum


Inferring macroevolutionary processes from phylogenies and fossils

Dr Daniele Silvestro

(University of Gothenburg, Sweden)


from: Rolland, Silvestro et al. (2018)

Our Biosciences Seminar Series resumes for the 2020 winter term with a talk by Dr Daniele Silvestro from the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of GothenburgDaniele is a computational biologist, particularly interested in macroevolution, and broadly in Bayesian inference and stochastic processes.


Abstract
Present biodiversity represents a snapshot of a very long and complex evolutionary history, during which species and entire clades have originated, diversified and –to a large extent– gone extinct. Reliable estimates of the processes that have shaped diversity through time and in space are crucial to understanding present biodiversity patterns. Here, I present a suite of Bayesian models to infer different macroevolutionary processes including the dynamics of speciation, extinction and dispersal and the evolution of quantitative traits. These methods show that both phylogenies of extant taxa and the fossil record provide valuable information about past and present biodiversity, although their integration remains challenging. Finally, I will outline how artificial intelligence can help the development of an interdisciplinary approach interfacing earth sciences, palaeontology, and evolutionary biology to further improve our understanding of the processes driving the evolution of organisms and ecosystems.

   


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


For the list of forthcoming seminars see here

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Wallace Coffee Talks - 07 January 2020

Wallace Coffee Talks - Winter 2020
07 January - 12pm - Zoology Museum


Fancy a cup of coffee or tea and learning more about the researchers at Swansea university? Come join us at the Wallace coffee talks: an informal seminar series where students, staff and others related to Swansea university speak about their research or personal interests.


Billy Moore
A coralline alga gains tolerance to ocean acidification over multiple generations of exposure 
Crustose coralline algae (CCA) play a crucial role in the building of reefs in the photic zones of nearshore ecosystems globally and are highly susceptible to ocean acidification. Yet the extent to which CCA can gain tolerance to ocean acidification over multiple generations of exposure is unknown. We show that while calcification of juvenile CCA is initially highly sensitive to ocean acidification, after 6 generations of exposure the effects of ocean acidification disappears. A reciprocal transplant experiment conducted on the 7th generation where half of all replicates were interchanged across treatments confirmed that they had acquired tolerance to low pH and not simply to laboratory conditions. Our results demonstrate that reef-accreting taxa can gain tolerance to ocean acidification over multiple generations of exposure, suggesting that some of these cosmopolitan species could maintain their critical ecological role in reef-formation.


Maze learning and memory in a decapod crustacean 
Spatial learning is an ecologically important trait well studied in vertebrates and a few invertebrates yet poorly understood in crustaceans. Considering many decapod crustaceans play key roles in marine and freshwater ecosystems and live in complex, three-dimensional habitats, learning the location of, and routes to, resources should be an adaptive trait we can investigate in these animals using mazes. We investigated the ability of European shore crabs, Carcinus maenas, to learn a complex maze over four consecutive weeks using food as a motivator. Crabs showed steady improvement during this conditioning period in both the time taken to find the food and in the number of wrong turns taken. Crabs also clearly remembered the maze as when returned two weeks later but without any food, they all returned to the end of the maze in under eight minutes. Crabs that had not been conditioned to the maze (naïve animals) took far longer to reach the end and many did not venture to the end of the maze at all during the one-hour study period. This study provides an initial description of spatial learning in a benthic decapod.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Wallace Coffee Talks - 10 December 2019

Wallace Coffee Talks - Autumn 2019 
10 December - 12pm - Zoology Museum


Fancy a cup of coffee or tea and learning more about the researchers at Swansea university? Come join us at the Wallace coffee talks: an informal seminar series where students, staff and others related to Swansea university speak about their research or personal interests.

Lloyd Hopkins & Emma Brisdion
For What It’s Earth: can podcasts encourage changes that last? 
Forest fires, pollution, over-consumption and climate change - it's hard not to feel down about the environmental outlook for the planet. Ever the optimist, my friend Emma pitched to me (Lloyd), the idea of a sustainability and environment podcast to raise awareness to a raft of issues whilst encouraging small, concerted lifestyle changes from the average person. Armed with a rough plan, a shoe-string budget and some microphones, we recently hit 17,000 total listens after less than a year. For both of us, this was our first real strike out into the world of science communication media. We'll be sharing how we got set up, our planning and recording process, the numerous lessons we learned and more. Discussion and ideas on science communication and outreach will be welcome and very much encouraged!



Twitter: @WhatEarthPod
You can find the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Acast  and Podbean

Monday, 2 December 2019

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 05 December 2019

Biosciences Seminar Series - Autumn 2019
05 December 2019 - 1pm - Zoology Museum


The importance of life cycle assessment in system design and how this relates to research

Dr Trisha Toop

(Harper Adams University, UK)

Image by Dr Trisha Toop

Our Biosciences Seminar Series concludes for the 2019 autumn term with a talk by Dr Trisha Toop from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Harper Adams University. Trisha is currently the Academic Engineering Expert for the Agri Project at Harper Adams University. Her project focuses on addressing the barriers to innovation in the agri-tech/food sector, and more broadly in using life cycle assessment methods for research in ecology, agriculture, and natural resource management..

Abstract
It is essential to consider all aspects of sustainability when designing new and improving existing systems. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a systematic approach that allows us to identify, measure, document and interpret the sustainability of a system. Initially developed for environmental assessment its scope is being broadened to include social and economic impacts also. This paper will explore how LCA can be used in research to report the sustainability of proposed systems. It will show how it has been used to identify areas for improvements in systems which were used as targets for research.
   


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


For the list of forthcoming seminars see here