Friday 23 October 2015

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 22 October 2015

Biosciences Seminar Series - Autumn 2015
22 October 2015 - 1pm - Zoology Museum (Wallace 129)

Using Species Conservation to Drive the 

Restoration of Ecosystems

Dr Cynthia Froyd

This week's seminar will be by our won Cynthia Froyd. Cynthia is an ecologist interested in long-term dynamics, disturbance ecology and natural resource management, especially of forest systems. She uses paleoecological data to understand past ecological conditions, to inform present day management and conservation planning.

Long-term ecology (palaeoecology) provides the temporal data that is crucial to many modern conservation planning issues. Palaeoecological research techniques allow the detailed examination of biodiversity and ecological change over hundreds to thousands of years. Aspects of many international environmental agreements (i.e. the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment) require a temporal perspective significantly longer than that which can be obtained using traditional ecological methodologies alone.
A number of issues pertinent to modern conservation planning may be addressed through the examination of the long-term ecological record including: the stability and resilience of ecosystems over time, regime shifts or thresholds of nonlinear change, the range of natural ecosystem variability, the examination of baseline reference conditions on which to base measures of change, and natural disturbance regimes. These themes are examined for the Galapagos archipelago. 

Reconstructions of long-term plant community dynamics and environmental change are presented from sites throughout Galapagos, providing evidence of: the first human presence in the islands and resultant impacts on native vegetation, doubtfully native plant species’ provenance, changes in both terrestrial and aquatic communities over time, plant extinctions, the ecological consequences of reductions in large herbivore populations, and long-term changes in ecosystem function.

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

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 14 October 2015

Biosciences Seminar Series - Autumn 2015
14 October 2015 - 1pm - Zoology Museum (Wallace 129)

Using Species Conservation to Drive the 

Restoration of Ecosystems

Prof Carl Jones

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This week we will be hosting Prof Carl Jones, an eminent conservation biologist who succeeded to bring several species back from the brink of extinction. Carl's work has especially focussed on Mauritius, where Carl has been active since 1979 on the conservation of birds, plants, reptiles and the restoration of island ecosystems. 

A particularity of his approach is the application of captive breeding and horticultural techniques to wild populations, to increase productivity and survival of endangered animals and plants. This approach has been fantastically effective for a wide range of species and has allowed the restoration species of forest habitats and small islands.

Carl will discuss the rebuilding of communities through multiple introductions of species, as well as ecological replacements for extinct species. He will focus on Mauritius and the reintroduction of plants, reptiles and birds to restore island ecosystems.

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

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Science Club Series 2015/16

The Science Club Series resumes

Science Club Series - 2015/16

Venue: Zoology Museum

Time: 1pm

Last week also our Science Club Series resumed, with 2 events! First, on Tuesday 06 October Prof Spencer J. Greenwood (University of Prince Edward Island, Canada) gave a great talk on The Secret Life of Lobster Vets: unravelling host-pathogen-environment interactions in our favourite crustacean. Spencer is a Professor at the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Prince Edward Island (Canada) and also Director-Research Scientist at the AVC Lobster Science Centre (Atlantic Veterinary College, also at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, Canada). Spencer's research focusses on crustacean biology, using molecular methods to address questions about host-pathogen interactions and aquatic species and parasitology, and is closely linked to industrial applications of new research findings. At his seminar, Spencer focussed on his research on lobsters:

The American lobster (Homarus americanus) fishery forms the backbone of the coastal Maritime economy adds approximately $1 billion to the Atlantic Canadian economy annually. At the AVC Lobster Science Centre, we are applying current transcriptomic technologies (microarray and RNASeq) to explore a variety of basic questions in lobster biology. A summary of recent findings on the lobster’s immune response to different pathogens, biomarkers of larval life stage transitions, biomarkers of sexual maturity, and the impact of anthropogenic stressors (live holding/shipping and pesticides) will be presented.

Then on Thursday we started a cool series of workshops on Scientific Presentation, with a roundtable discussion about the peer review system (see here). These events are mainly targeted for graduate students, but staff members will be welcome, too. We will continue this week with a workshop on using Social Media for science communication, followed by workshops on poster presentations at conferences and on how to write scientific manuscripts for publication. And there will be more to come!

For the full list of Science Club Events, see our blog here