Friday 24 May 2019

Wallace Coffee Talks - 28 May 2019

Wallace Coffee Talks - Spring 2019 
28 May - 12pm - Zoology Museum

The invasive Slipper limpet Crepidula fornicata in South Wales

The invasive non-native species Crepidula fornicata was first introduced to European coastal waters at the end of the 19th Century. It is now found in large numbers in most oyster production areas in England and Wales, and has been implicated to have major negative impacts on native bivalves. The vast majority of studies carried out on C. fornicata have focused on its potential impacts through habitat alteration and trophic competition. Little work has been carried out to gain an understanding of its biochemistry and its potential as a harbourer of infectious disease that could be of detrimental effect to important shellfish species. The aim of my PhD is to help bridge this knowledge gap and to gain a further insight into this non-native species. 

Metabolite profiling of a robust cyanobacterium for industrial biotechnology
Cyanobacteria are gram negative bacteria with the ability to photosynthesise, they are able to thrive in a wide variety of extreme habitats such as high ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and have many defence strategies to overcome this stress including the production of secondary metabolites. Metabolomics can be used to investigate this altered metabolism via targeted and untargeted techniques. Some metabolites produced under stress conditions are unique and are of increasing interest from a biotechnological perspective as sustainable sources of ingredients in a variety of industries. In this talk I will give a brief overview of my PhD with a focus on the changes in metabolite levels produced by Chlorogloeopsis fritschii, PCC 6912, during UV exposure and the work conducted at my 3-month placement at Unilever last summer. 

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Biosciences Science Club Series 23 May 2019

Biosciences Science Club Series - Spring 2019
23 May 2019 - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Microalgae Growth on Anaerobic Digestate in Raceway Systems

Hande Ermiş

Join us for a seminar by our visitor Hande Ermiş, PhD student at the Department of Environmental Engineering at  Istanbul Technical University (Turkey). Hande is visiting our ALG-AD group and she is interested in algal pigments and the use of micro-algae for bioenergy production.

Anaerobic digestion is one of the most common methods used to generate energy from renewable sources. On the contrary of the benefit of the use of anaerobic liquid digestate effluent, like soil conditioning in agriculture while reducing the cost of the logistics; the characteristics of the digestion effluent can cause phytotoxic effects in plants, eutrophication of water bodies and groundwater pollution, due to the high concentrations of ammonia and phosphorus in the anaerobic liquid digestate. Therefore, the application to agricultural land without treatment may constitute a risk, thus solutions for targeting both reducing adverse effects and increasing product values by valorization should be followed. Microalgae is one of the promising candidate to recover nutrients from anaerobic liquid digestate by assimilating nitrogen and phosphate into their biomass. The results clearly indicate that anaerobic digestate can be used as a nutrient-rich cultivation medium for microalgae with high growth rates despite the fact that liquid digestate is not the ideal growth media for microalgae due to its high ammonia content, dark color, and particulate matter. In this talk, I would like to demonstrate that coupling of microalgae growth with liquid digestate treatment is an economical and ecologically friendly technology for cheap biomass production for further valuable applications in open raceway systems.

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

For the list of forthcoming seminars see here

Tuesday 14 May 2019

Biomath Colloquium 17/05/2019

BioMaths Colloquium Series - 2018/19

17 May 2019 - 3pm Zoology Museum

(Department of Biosciences, Singleton Park)

Eco-evolutionary assembly in meta-communities

Dr Miguel Lurgi Rivera

(Department of BiosciencesSwansea University)

from Wallace, Lurgi et al. (2016)
Our BioMaths Colloquium Series continues for the spring term with a seminar by Dr Miguel Lurgi Rivera, from the Department of Biosciences at Swansea University.  Miguel is a theoretical ecologist and lecturer in Biosciences as well as a computer engineer,  broadly interested in community and evolutionary ecology. He is in particular interested in eco-evolutionary mechanisms involved in the assembly of complex ecological networks in meta-community contexts, using empirical data from real complex communities to test theoretical predictions.

Understanding the drivers of community assembly poses a great challenge for community ecologists. Ever since Jared Diamond proposed rules for community assembly back in 1975, ecologists have searched for mechanisms behind these rules. Even before then, prominent ecologists such as MacArthur and Elton had realised that ecological interactions played a major role in determining the fate of communities. This research gained momentum during the last 70’s and 80’s, which ended up providing the foundations for what we now know as food web theory and ecological networks. One lesson learned is that the structure of biotic interaction networks can tell us a great deal about the stability and functioning of ecosystems. This structure is hence a major driver of community assembly. We also know that other factors, such as evolution and spatial context, can contribute to shape the communities we see. In this talk, I will combine ecological networks, meta-communities, and evolution via selection to create a modelling framework to better understand the role of ecological and evolutionary mechanisms -and their interplay- in the dynamics of community assembly.

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

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 16 May 2019

Biosciences Seminar Series - Spring 2019
16 May 2019 - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Methods for modeling among-animal variability in habitat selection studies

Dr John Fieberg

(University of Minnesota, USA)

Photo by Jayne Gallery
Our Biosciences Seminar Series continues for the spring term with a talk by Dr John Fieberg from our College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences - CFANS at the University of MinnesotaJohn is an Associate Professor of Quantitative Ecology and McKnight Presidential Fellow. He is a Biostatistician and Biomathematician, broadly interested in the application of statistical and mathematical models to problems in ecology and natural resource management. A special focus concerns the analysis of wildlife telemetry data, with application to survival, home range, and habitat selection modelling.

Understanding the causes and consequences of among-animal variation in habitat selection is key to addressing many fundamental questions in ecology and evolution. Popular conceptual frameworks used to study habitat selection include resource selection functions (RSFs) and step-selection functions (SSFs) estimated using logistic and conditional logistic regression, respectively. Both frameworks compare environmental covariates associated with locations that animals visit with environmental covariates at a set of locations assumed available to the animal. Conceptually, hierarchical models with animal-specific coefficients could be used to accommodate inter-individual heterogeneity when fitting RSFs or SSFs. A review of the literature suggests, however, that RSFs rarely include animal-specific selection coefficients. Further, straightforward and efficient one-step procedures for fitting SSFs with animal-specific coefficients have until now been lacking. 

We demonstrate simple methods for exploring among-animal variability in habitat selection parameters using models fit to individual animals. We also describe recent research showing how generalized linear mixed effects models, available in most statistical software packages, can be modified to fit hierarchical RSFs and SSFs in a single step. Together, these examples highlight the benefits of having multiple tools in the toolbox, including simple methods for exploratory data analysis and more sophisticated and comprehensive methods for modeling individual and population-level habitat-selection patterns. 


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

For the list of forthcoming seminars see here

Monday 6 May 2019

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 09 May 2019

Biosciences Seminar Series - Spring 2019
09 May 2019 - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Disease spread in times of global change - the importance of community ecology

Dr Konstans Wells

Our Biosciences Seminar Series continues for the spring term with a talk by Dr Konstans Wells from our Department of Biosciences at Swansea University. Konstans recently joined our Department - he is an ecologist and a modeller, broadly interested on the consequences of environmental change on biodiversity. He is in particular focussing on wildlife, invasive species and host-parasite interactions, looking at demographic and epidemiological dynamics, species range dynamics and bio-geographic patterns, with the aim to identify key processes for optimizing conservation and pest control efforts and the prevention of disease spread, under different environmental scenarios and policy schemes.

Pathogens that are capable of infecting multiple host species play a dominant role in the myriads of infectious diseases affecting humans and animals. But how do parasites actually spread among hosts and spill-over from one species to another? In practice, many of us are well aware that humans share not only a long history of companionship but also a diversity of parasites with dogs, perhaps more than with our closest primate relatives. There seems to be a lack of consensus, however, in how far host-parasite co-evolutionary history versus arising ecological opportunity drives parasite spread. In this seminar I invite discussion of concepts and tools that may help us to tackle such challenge.

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

For the list of forthcoming seminars see here