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.

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 - 25th January 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.

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