CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Conservation physiology research: new knowledge on animal endocrinology and broad scale physiological responses to environmental challenges

Edward NarayanSPEAKER: Dr Edward Narayan, Lecturer – Veterinary Physiology, School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Science, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW

DATE: Friday, 11th December 2015
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds,Room Ka5.303
TIME: 12:00 noon
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood LT5 (B3.07); and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

ABSTRACT: This seminar will be based on the central theme of conservation physiology which shaped my early career research based on the reproductive and stress endocrinology of an endangered amphibian species.

I will share my postdoctoral research experiences where I have applied the conservation physiology research niche to generate new knowledge on the comparative endocrinology of some Australasian anurans and small mammals.

I will talk about the applications of non-invasive physiological tools for assessing animal responses to ecological threats such as infectious diseases, climate change and feral animals. Also for quantifying the physiological responses of wildlife species to management interventions such as transportation and captive management.

Finally, I will share current research program based on evaluating the consequences chronic stress in wildlife species, and assessing stress in livestock animals to improve on-farm management and productivity.

BIO: Dr Narayan graduated with a PhD degree, which pioneered non-invasive endocrinology tools for amphibians – the novel development and validation of non-invasive enzyme immunoassays for the evaluation of reproductive hormonal cycle and stress hormone responses to environmental stressors.

He then joined Griffith University, Queensland with successful postdoctoral fellowship. Edward has led an innovative research program based on the Conservation Physiology of wildlife in Australia. His dynamic career research platform is based on comparative vertebrate physiology, stress endocrinology, reproductive endocrinology, animal health and welfare, and conservation biology.

Edward’s research team comprising of supervised Honours, Masters and PhD students (and numerous student volunteers) have made significant new discoveries, including understanding the sub-clinical physiological impacts of the debilitating pathogenic disease (chytridiomycosis) on amphibians; the physiological impacts and fitness consequences of acute and chronic environmental stressors on amphibians.

Furthermore, Edward has also developed non-invasive stress hormone monitoring tools for iconic native marsupials including the Koala and the endangered Greater Bilby. He has also studied the stress physiology, health and welfare of Tigers in Australian Zoos.

Edward has published over 50 peer reviewed research in collaboration with researchers in Australia including Deakin University, Murdoch University, University of Melbourne, Macquarie and Griffith University.

Dr Narayan has extensive postdoctoral research fellowship training in institutions spanning 4 countries (New Zealand-Landcare Research), Australia (Griffith University), India (Australian Academy of Science Early Career Fellowship – University of Pune) and Canada (Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Saskatchewan).

Edward currently holds membership of the Endocrine Society of Australia, International Association of Stress Physiologists, Society for Experimental Biology, Australia & New Zealand Society for Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry and International Society for Wildlife Endocrinology.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Kate Buchanan.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Using natural experiments and next-generation sequencing to link genotype and phenotype in birds

Scott EdwardsSPEAKER: Professor Scott Edwards, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

DATE: Wednesday, 9th December 2015
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room Ka3.406
TIME: 10:00am
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood T3.05; and Warrnambool Campus, Room B3.03

ABSTRACT: Next-generation sequencing is unleashing a plethora of variation both within and between speicies and allowing stronger links between genotype and phenotype.

In this talk I will present recent efforts from my lab to take advantage of natural experiments, both within and between species, to understand the genetic basis of micro- and microevolutionary change in birds.

We use ddRad-seq to study the genome-wide effects of a bacterial pathogen on natural populations of a common North American songbird, the House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus). We next show how whole-genome alignments and novel high-quality genomes of flightless birds (Palaeognathae) suggest a role for both coding regions and non-coding regulatory regions in the evolution of novel phenotypes in birds, including feathers and flightlessness.

BIO: Scott Edwards is Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Curator of Ornithology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. He came to Harvard in December 2003 after receiving his PhD in zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, a postdoctoral fellowship in immunogenetics at the University of Florida, and serving as a faculty for 9 years in the Zoology Department and the Burke Museum at the University of Washington, Seattle.

His research focuses on diverse aspects of avian biology, including evolutionary history and biogeography, disease ecology, population genetics and comparative genomics.

From 2013-2015 he served as Division Director of the Division of Biological Infrastructure at the US National Science Foundation. At Harvard he teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and is passionate about helping increase the participation of underrepresented students, postdocs and faculty in the environmental sciences.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Lee Rollins.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Stress and the reproductive and metabolic physiology of free-ranging birds

Pierre DevicheSPEAKER: Professor Pierre Deviche, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, USA

DATE: Friday, 4th December 2015
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka5.303
TIME: 12:00 noon
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood LT 5 (B3.07); and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

ABSTRACT: When exposed to adverse conditions, vertebrates mount an endocrine stress response that is accompanied with numerous behavioural, hormonal, and metabolic changes. The mechanisms that underlie these changes are multiple and complex, and their dependency on stress hormones in free-ranging organisms remain poorly understood.

The talk will use results of our recent research to analyze relationships between stress hormones and the metabolic and reproductive behaviour and physiology of free-ranging birds.

BIO: Pierre received a PhD in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology from The University of Liege, Belgium, in 1980. He then worked as a postdoctoral fellow in Germany and at Oregon State University before accepting a faculty position at The University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he taught and did research for 11 years.

He moved to his present position at Arizona State University in 1999, where he is Professor of Environmental Physiology and Senior Sustainability Scientist of the Global Institute of Sustainability.

Pierre’s research uses primarily birds as experimental models to investigate behavioural, (neuro) endocrine, and metabolic adaptations to local environments, in particular in relationship to reproductive cycles. He serves on the editorial board of General and Comparative Endocrinology, Hormones and Behavior, and Frontiers in Endocrinology, and is editor of Arizona Birds Online.

When not at work he can be found hiking, birding, and doing wildlife photography.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Kate Buchanan.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Deakin Faculty Industry Collaboration Grant: A Geoinformatic Solution to translating research information to conservation managers

CIE Seminar Dec 1st 2015SPEAKER: Joint presentation by Adjunct Associate Professor Barbara Wilson, School of Life & Environmental Sciences, Deakin University and Dr Juan Adeva, Solais Geoinformatics Pty Ltd

DATE: Tuesday, 1st December 2015
LOCATION: Melbourne Campus at Burwood, room T3.05
TIME: 2:00 – 3:00pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, room ka4.207; and Warrnambool Campus, room B3.03

ABSTRACT: Geoinformatics and web mapping provides an elegant solution to unlocking scientific research and translating this information for decision support and reporting tools in frontline conservation.

In this presentation we will demonstrate a proof-of-concept prototype web mapping system for research and monitoring outcomes at sites in the eastern Otway Ranges – Aurora Otway.

This system is built on three sample sites from the Wilson data set; a database with over 100 individual survey and research sites, some within in excess of 35 years of data on mammal species abundance and other environmental records. Aurora Otway demonstrates web mapping capabilities to access, display, report and export information from SQL. NoSQL and Geospatial databases through state-of-the-art geospatial crawler and indexing technology.

Conservation managers easily access research data, time-series environmental control charts, digital photographs (including fauna camera trapping) and text documents, including research theses and journal publications. Managers have a high degree of query control and can search analytics – this is demonstrated through the more powerful search and analytics capability in the Aurora NRM web mapping system.

Web mapping systems can be built to include Geographical Information Systems functionality, and easily display spatially explicit data such as fire history and vegetation divisions or communities and provides a platform for automation of management effectiveness reports.

BIO – Barbara Wilson: During her career in academia, government and private industry Barbara has developed considerable knowledge and experience in ecological research, environmental management, and government policy.

As Associate Professor (Deakin University, Victoria, Murdoch University, Western Australia) she led highly productive research teams focused on understanding Australian ecosystems.

Major research fields include: ecology, reproduction of native fauna, effects of fire on mammal fauna, Status of endangered species, impacts of Phytophthora cinnamomi on biodiversity, Biodiversity values and the sustainability of underground aquifers.

Barbara held leadership roles in Western Australian Government Environment and Conservation agencies, and also has extensive experience contributing to policy development as a member of Federal and State advisory bodies in areas including conservation legislation, forestry, National Parks, fire and land management.

Barbara’s international appointments included Visiting Fellow, Yale University, USA and Visiting Professor, University of Gottingen, Germany.

Her current research includes assessing long term mammal declines, cost effective monitoring programs and the field of Ecoinformatics.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Chemical communication: signals, signalers and receivers

Mark ElgarSPEAKER: Professor Mark Elgar, Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Animal Behaviour, School of Biosciences, Faculty of Science, University of Melbourne

DATE: Friday, 20th November 2015
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka5.303
TIME: 12:00 noon
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood T3.05; and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

ABSTRACT: Chemical communication is the oldest and most widespread form of information transfer among animals. Research in my group investigates the role of chemical communication in a range of contexts, including foraging, mating and social behavior.

In this seminar I will cover some of the research we have undertaken to investigate the role of chemical signals in animal behavior, focusing on both the signal and receiver.

BIO: My first degree was completed in the School of Australian Environmental Studies, Griffith University, and my PhD at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Nick Davies.

My thesis research involved field experiments that evaluated the costs, benefits and role of communication among group foraging house sparrows. I was awarded an SERC Postdoctoral Fellowship to work on comparative studies at the University of Oxford with Paul Harvey, during which time I initiated research into the evolution of unusual mating behaviour in invertebrates.

I pursued this interest while holding a University Fellowship and then a QEII Fellowship at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. I joined the School of BioSciences (formerly Department of Zoology) at Melbourne in 1991 and was promoted to my current position in 2005.

I continue to be fascinated by animal behavior, and increasingly by the role of chemical communication in a range of contexts. One particular interest is the evolution of the diversity of the diverse morphology of insect antennae. Other activities include membership of the College of Experts of the Australian Research Council; Field Chief Editor of Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution; Section Chief Editor ofSocial Evolution | Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution; Associate Editor of Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology; and member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Ethology.

Former activities include Editor-in-Chief of the journal Behavioral Ecology and of the Australian Journal of Zoology. I was Associate Dean (Graduate Programs) and Assistant Dean (Equity) of the Faculty of Science (University of Melbourne), and non-Professorial and Professorial Member of the University Council of the University of Melbourne.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Natasha Kaukov.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Visual signalling in the sea: the function and evolution of animal colour patterns

Karen CheneySPEAKER: Dr Karen Cheney, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland

DATE: Friday, 13th November 2015
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka3.406
TIME: 12:00 noon
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood T3.05 and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

ABSTRACT: Coral reefs are one the world’s most colorful places partly due to their inhabitants that display an amazing array of conspicuous colour patterns, including psychedelic emperor fish and garish molluscs.

Although scientists have long known that color plays a role in sexual selection, the recognition of competitors and mutualistic partners, and warning of danger, there are few examples explaining the language of colour well.

With the use of new technology for understanding visual systems, visual modelling, spectrophotometric (light measuring), behavioural and comparative methods, we have advanced our knowledge of the ways in which fish see and how colour patterns function. In this talk, I will discuss various recent studies that have explored colour change, mimicry, disruptive colouration and aposematic signals in marine organisms.

BIO: Dr. Karen Cheney works in the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Queensland as a Research Fellow.

During her initial postdoctoral work, she investigated mimicry in marine organisms and now her interests span how animals use visual signals in the marine environment for interspecific signalling, camouflage and aposematic displays.

Her work is funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the Australia & Pacific Science Foundation (APSF).

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via John Endler.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – The dark side of light – species and community level impacts of night lighting

Theresa JonesSPEAKER: Dr Theresa Jones, The Behaviour and Evolution Group, The School of BioSciences, The University of Melbourne

DATE: Friday, 6th November 2015
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, CADET Building, Room KE1.207
TIME: 12:00 noon
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood HD3.008; and Warrnambool Campus, Room C1.13

ABSTRACT: The global increase in the radiance of artificial light at night (ALAN) is regarded as one of the most pervasive and under-appreciated forms of environmental pollution. Current ALAN levels in urban environments have been linked to changes in behaviour, reductions in individual fitness, declinesin species abundance and dramatic shifts in ecosystem composition.

One potential explanation for these biological disruptions is that ALAN lowers circulating levels of the hormone melatonin; a key regulator of day-night rhythm and a possible anti-oxidant. Melatonin is a highly conserved protein identified in all major taxonomic groups. However, most studies exploring links between ALAN, melatonin levels and changes in biological process are correlational.

We take a largely experimental approach in our research as we strive to understand the mechanisms driving the ecological impact of artificial light at night. Understanding the links between LAN intensity and spectra, levels of circulating melatonin and immune function, survival, and reproduction provides the critical foundation for the future development of sustainable urban lighting strategies.

Such strategies will need to balance the potential conflict between growing human demands for brighter night lighting and the adverse ecological effects this may promote.

BIO:

  • PhD: The Institute of Zoology, London – sexual selection in lekking sandflies; fieldwork in Brazil.
  • First postdoc: Uppsala University, Sweden – workedon lekking Hawaiian Drosophila and the ruff (Philomachus pugnax); fieldwork on Gotland (island on the east coast of Sweden) and on Maui in Hawaii.
  • 2001 – Royal Society Travel Fellowship – Melbourne University (one year only; l honestly meant to return to the UK) looking at age related male mating success in the hide beetle; no fieldwork, I was stuck in a basement in zoology with no window.
  • Then series of postdocs with Mark Elgar – spiders, zeus bugs and beetles; fieldwork in Cairns, Euroa and Shepparton.
  • Lecturer since 2011.
  • About four years ago – moved into ecological light pollution which is where the majority of my group now works and the others get bored of us talking about it!

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via John Endler.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Birds not of a feather: Causes and consequences of variable sexual signalling in an Australian bird

Mike WebsterSPEAKER: Professor Mike Webster, Department of Neurobiology & Behaviour, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University, New York

DATE: Friday, 30th October 2015
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; and Warrnambool Campus, Room C1.13

ABSTRACT: Sexual signals, such as plumage coloration and song in male birds, are typically highly variable across individuals within a population.

This variation is thought to signal individual quality to conspecifics, information that females can use in selecting mates and males can use in avoiding rivals.

But for such signaling to be stable, there must be associated costs that maintain (relatively) honest signaling. In our studies of red-backed fairy-wrens we have been exploring potential physiological and social costs, and hence the signaling value, of bright plumage coloration in males.

In this talk I will give a progress report on that work, including new “hot off the presses” results that we are still struggling to interpret

BIO: Prof Mike Webster is on sabbatical in Geelong from Cornell University, where he is Director of the MaCaulay Sound Laboratory.

Mike’s interests lie in acoustic and visual signalling, their proximate control and evolutionary underpinnings. Mike works on a number of Australian birds and is really interested in learning about what’s going on at Deakin.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Natasha Kaukov.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Studies of sex and scientists: from theory to data to getting papers published

Michael JennionsSPEAKER: Professor Michael Jennions, Evolution, Ecology and Genetics,Research School of Biology,The Australian National University, Canberra

DATE: Friday, 23rd October 2015
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka3.411
TIME: 12:00 noon
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood LT11 (B1.20); and Warrnambool Campus, Room C1.13

ABSTRACT: Theory, data and publication: the good, the bad and the ugly – you can decide which is which. I will try to talk about all three.

First, I will present a basic model that asks: “What is the optimal offspring sex ratio to produce if your sons are more likely to die than your daughters during childcare?” There is no squiggly maths – only concepts.

Second, I will present results of studies on male genital size in humans and fish. What happens if you artificially select for a larger sexual organ?

Third, time permitting, I will present a survey asking whether the craving for statistically significant results taints the scientific literature.

BIO: Michael grew up in South Africa in the 70’s and 80’s. He did his undergraduate and MSc at Wits University in Johannesburg, and a PhD at Oxford. He then spent five years at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

The excitement of spending formative years in these exotic places clearly got to him because since 2001 he has been based in Canberra at the ANU.

He mainly studies sexual selection and sex roles, and has published research on frogs, birds, cichlids, damselflies, crickets, crabs and live-bearer fishes.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Kate Buchanan.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Putting the brakes on reproduction. Implications for conservation? Global climate change?

John WingfieldSPEAKER: Professor John Wingfield, Distinguished Professor and Endowed Chair in Physiology, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, University of California, Davis, California

DATE: Friday, 16th October 2015
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room KE1.207 (new CADET building)
TIME: 12:00 noon
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood T3.05; and Warrnambool Campus, Room C1.13

ABSTRACT: Seasonal breeding is widespread in vertebrates and involves development of the gonads, actual onset of breeding activities (e.g. cycling in females) and termination resulting in regression of the reproductive system.

Whereas males generally show complete spermatogenesis prior to and after onset of breeding, females of many vertebrate species show partial ovarian development and may delay onset of cycling (e.g. estrous), yolk deposition or germinal vesicle breakdown until conditions conducive for ovulation and onset of breeding are favorable.

Regulation of this “brake” on the onset of breeding remains relatively unknown, but could have profound implications for conservation efforts and for “mismatches” of breeding in relation to global climate change.

Using avian models it is proposed that a brain peptide, gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH), may be the brake preventing onset of breeding in females. Evidence to date suggests that although GnIH may be involved in the regulation of gonadal development and regression, it plays more regulatory roles in the process of final ovarian development leading to ovulation, transitions from sexual to parental behavior and suppression of reproductive function by environmental stress.

Accumulating experimental evidence strongly suggests that GnIH inhibits actions of gonadotropin-releasing hormones and may also have direct actions in the gonad. Thus, actual onset of breeding activities leading to ovulation may involve environmental cues releasing an inhibition (brake) on the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonad axis.

BIO: John Wingfield is interested in how organisms perceive their environment, integrate and transduce that information into morphological, physiological and behavioral responses.

Of particular interest are the mechanisms by which animals use this system to respond to changing environments and their ecological contexts.

He is currently Distinguished Professor and Endowed Chair in Physiology at the University of California, Davis. John is also participating in the Deakin University “Thinkers-in-Residence” Program.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Kate Buchanan.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.