CIE Seminar Series 2014 – Integrating next generation DNA sequencing with ecology: seal scats and stickleback SNPs by Dr Bruce Deagle

Bruce DeagleSPEAKER: Dr Bruce Deagle, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, Tasmania
DATE: Friday, 11th April 2014
LOCATION: Warrnambool Campus, Room B3.03
TIME: 2:00 pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood, Room L1.05 and Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka4.207

ABSTRACT: In this talk I will discuss my experiences in two general areas of molecular ecology which have benefited immensely from high-throughput sequencing technologies:

First, I will present work on the use of DNA metabarcoding of faecal samples as an approach for studying animal diet. Results from field-based studies on Australian fur seals and Adelie penguins will be highlighted. In addition I’ll discuss our recent research with captive harbour seals which illustrates the difficulties of obtaining quantitative information about relative abundances of prey in the diet based on sequence read proportions.

Second, I will present results from population genomics analysis of threespine stickleback with a focus on uncovering the genetic basis of local adaptation across stream–lake ecological transitions.

These case studies provide insight into the promise and pitfalls of high-throughput sequencing. They also illustrate how this technology can be applied to examine how species react to ecological change on a variety of time scales.

BIO: My research focuses on the application of advances in the field of genetics to better understand ecology and evolution of animal populations. My current position (2014) is as a postdoctoral researcher at the Australian Antarctic Division working on Antarctic krill genomics (funded by a Bob Hawke Antarctic Science Fellowship). For my PhD thesis I studied DNA-based methods for determining animal diet and continue to do work in this field. I have also studied the evolutionary genetics of threespine stickleback populations.