CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Seasonal timing of growth and reproduction in a warming world; genes, phenotypes and fitness

Marcel VisserSPEAKER: Professor Marcel Visser, Head of Department Animal Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW)

DATE: Friday, 5th February 2016
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room KE1.207 (CADET building)
TIME: 12:00 noon
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood LT12 (X2.05); and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

ABSTRACT: Species need to time their reproduction and growth such that these activities match the annual period of favourable conditions, often set by the seasonal timing of other species.

Climate change has led to unequal shifts in timing among species at different trophic levels, leading to mismatched timing. A key question is how fast species can adapt to their warming world.

I will address this question using our work on a simplified food chain of oaks – winter moths – great tits, combining field work, field experiments and experiments in captivity. Furthermore, we recently sequenced the great tit and this has opened new possibilities to look at the genetic variation in the physiological mechanisms underlying seasonal timing.

I will present some of our ongoing work including setting up selection lines of early and late laying great tits using genomic selection.

BIO: Prof Marcel E. Visser (1960) graduated from Leiden University in 1987, and continued there as a PhD student in the Animal Ecology Group for four years, working on the life-history of insect parasitoids.

After his PhD he obtained an EC Science Programme Fellowship to continue his parasitoids research at Imperial College (UK). In 1993 he shifted systems when he became a post-doc at the NIOO-KNAW, working on lseasonal timing in great tits. In 1996 he was appointed as a Senior Researcher and in 2002 as Head of Department.

Main interests are the interaction between ultimate and proximate aspects of timing, particularly in the Oak – Winter Moth – Great Tit/Pied Flycatcher system. In January 2007 he obtained a personal VICI grant from NWO and in January 2014 his ERC Advanced grant started. He is currently subject editor for Global Change Biology and on the Editorial board of Philosophical Transactions B.

In June 2005 Marcel was appointed as Professor on Seasonal Timing of Behaviour at Groningen University and in April 2012 Professor on Ecological genetics at Wageningen University but he remains based at the NIOO-KNAW.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Kate Buchanan.

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