Monday, 8 August 2016

Postgraduate Seminar Speakers 11th August 2016

Postgraduate Seminar Speakers 11th August 2016
1pm - Zoology Museum (Wallace 129)

S P E A K E R   1
O ye of little plague? Linking genetic diversity of North American Signal Crayfish populations (Pacifastacus leniusculus) with prevalence of crayfish plague (Aphanomyces astaci)

Chloe Robinson

Signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) were first introduced to the UK in the 1970s through aquaculture and currently occupy a widespread distribution. Signal crayfish cause detrimental effects on native biodiversity, namely on their conspecific the white-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes). The invasive crayfish are larger, more aggressive and more fecund than A. pallipes and subsequently outcompete them for food and shelter. The spread of crayfish plague (Aphanomyces astaci) from P. leniusculus causes 100% mortality in A. pallipes populations without having any adverse effects on the invasive crayfish. Despite their current status, very little is known about the dispersal and population genetics of P. leniusculus, especially in relation to plague infection levels. Catchments which are free of crayfish plague despite the presence of signal crayfish, could potentially see the coexistence of natives and invasive crayfish and identifying rivers early which are at risk of infection could minimise loss of native populations and aid in conservation of the species.

S P E A K E R   2
From Community to Individual: DNA Metabarcoding Reveals Pollen Transport by Hoverflies

Andrew Lucas

Pollination by insects is a key ecosystem service, and important to wider ecosystem function.  Using DNA metabarcoding to identify pollen, I have constructed pollen transport networks for hoverflies (Syrphidae) in the genus Eristalis and investigated pollen transport networks in grasslands in west Wales. The results are giving new insights into how pollen transport networks are structured.

S P E A K E R   3
The importance of body orientation in collective herding behaviour

Dan Sankey

For social animals, coordinating their motion to remain cohesive can provide selective advantages. An early study by Herbert Prins suggested that during stationary periods, ungulates can use body orientation to ‘vote’ on their preferred travel direction. Modern empirical and theoretical studies have since emphasised the importance of inter-individual alignment (a product of orientation) in collective decision making, although generally this has not been explored in the ‘pre-departure period’, or in free ranging animal groups. I will present high-resolution GPS (1 Hz) and inertial sensor (40Hz) data for a herd of n=16 goats over a 10-day period in the Namib Desert, Namibia. I will show how integrating compass heading from magnetometer/ accelerometer data with other measures from GPS data (e.g. linear distance; speed) provide information on individuals’ orientation even when sedentary or slow moving, allowing for a fuller understanding of the specific movement cues and social interactions that drive group movement dynamics.

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