CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Marine life in the Plasticene era

Qamar SchuylerSPEAKER: Dr Qamar Schuyler, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Moreton Bay Research Station, University of Queensland

DATE: Friday, 3rd June 2016
LOCATION: Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.01 (Alfred Deakin LT)
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood – Room located within the Burwood City Centre and Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka4.207 (green room)

ABSTRACT: Marine debris is now among one of the most pressing environmental concerns of the 21st century. An estimated 4-12 million tons of debris enters the ocean annually, and nearly 700 species of animals are recorded to have interacted with this debris.

I will outline what we know about debris and what still remains unknown, and describe my research into the impacts of debris on sea turtles and sea birds at both local and global scales.

BIO: Dr. Qamar Schuyler is originally from the United States, where she received a BA in Marine biology and an MSc in Environmental Science, before migrating to Australia where she received her PhD from the University of Queensland in 2014.

In between educational endeavours, she worked in coral reef outreach and education in the Northern Mariana Islands, lived on a coral reef research vessel sailing through Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and led the research efforts of a live aboard dive vessel out of Port Douglas.

Dr. Schuyler recently completed a 2 year ARC Postdoctoral research fellowship with the University of Queensland, and is currently working as a quantitative ecologist with colleagues at CSIRO. Dr. Schuyler’s primary research interests are on the distribution of marine debris and its impacts to wildlife.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Graeme Hays.

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CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Keeping an eye on animal viruses: global spread, evolution and zoonotic potential

Soren.jpgSPEAKER: Professor Soren Alexandersen, Director, Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases (GCEID), School of Medicine, Faculty of Health, Deakin University

DATE: Friday, 27th May 2016
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, room ka5.303
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood, room HD2.006 (Richard Searby Rm) and Warrnambool Campus, Room C1.13

ABSTRACT: Viruses evolve relatively quickly and this is in particular the case for viruses with RNA or single stranded DNA genomes. Such viruses do not have significant proof reading activity of their polymerases during viral replication and consequently, the production of new virus genomes are error prone generating what is efficiently a swarm of slightly different virus genomes during replication.

Furthermore, the high error rate restricts their genome size, as a large genome with many errors would likely contain lethal errors and thus be an evolutionary disadvantage leading to bottleneck extinction.

In consequence, RNA and single stranded DNA viruses may replicate to a very high level (small genomes) that, together with the high error rate, provides a huge swarm of slightly different genomes that allows for rapid evolution by selection and thus may facilitate potential changes in e.g. host specificity.

In the presentation a general overview of how we prepare for and study such viruses are given together with specific examples of work on a number of animal and zoonotic viruses including foot-and-mouth disease virus, avian influenza virus and various coronaviruses.

BIO: Soren Alexandersen is a Veterinary Pathologist, Virologist and Epidemiologist specialising in molecular pathogenesis, epidemiology and control of virus infections since 1982.

He has worked at the NIH in Montana and at Iowa State University in the USA and has previously been Assistant and Associate Professor of Veterinary Pathology, Research Professor of Molecular Pathobiology and Professor and Chair of Veterinary Virology at the Veterinary and Agricultural University in Denmark.

He was then Director of the Danish Veterinary Institute for Virus Research at the Island of Lindholm for 5 years before leaving for the Institute for Animal Health in Pirbright, England in 1999. At Pirbright he was Head of Experimental Epidemiology focussing on foot-and-mouth disease and swine vesicular disease. In August 2004 he returned to the Danish Veterinary Institute for Virus Research, Denmark, as Research Professor and Head of Section to work on serious OIE listed virus infections of livestock.

In 2008 he became the Director of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD) in Winnipeg, Canada and in July 2010 the Executive Director of the National Centres for Animal Disease (NCAD) including the NCFAD laboratory in Winnipeg and the Lethbridge Laboratory in Alberta.

In October 2015 he joined Deakin University as a Professor and Director of the Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases (GCEID), a collaboration including Deakin University, Barwon Health/University Hospital Geelong and the CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory.

He has also been Adjunct Professor of Pathology and Exotic Virology at the Faculty of Life Sciences of the University of Copenhagen. He has worked and given invited lectures in most parts of the world and has published more than 130 international scientific papers.

He holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, a PhD in Veterinary Pathology and a DVSc in Molecular Virology from the Veterinary and Agricultural University in Denmark and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Pathologists and a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the United Kingdom.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Natasha Kaukov.

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CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Formation and Evolution of Skin Patterns in Birds

Marie ManceauSPEAKER: Dr Marie Manceau, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Biology, College de France, Paris

DATE: Friday, 13th May 2016
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, room ka4.207
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Burwood City Centre (BCC) and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

ABSTRACT: Natural patterns fascinate mathematicians and developmental biologists, yet the mechanisms underlying their formation and immense diversity remain unclear.

We address this question using color patterns, arguably one of the most diverse patterns, established during embryonic development. We take advantage of variation in the pattern of populations of wild birds displaying ecologically-relevant color patterns: Estrildids, Galliforms, and Ratites.

Using these birds in a combination of experimental developmental biology and mathematical approaches, we study the origin, nature, and mode of action of molecular factors providing positional information to the developing skin to form color patterns.

BIO: Marie Manceau is interested in studying the formation and evolution of patterns in the skin. She completed her PhD in avian developmental biology in the laboratory of Pr. Marcelle at the University of Marseille (France) in 2007, and then moved as a postdoc in the laboratory of Dr. Hoekstra at Harvard University, where she studied the developmental bases of color pattern variation in rodents.

Since 2013, she is a Young Research Group Leader at the Collège de France (CIRB): her research team focuses on the embryonic origin and molecular nature of factors providing positional information in the skin of birds of the Estrildid and Galliforme families.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via John Endler.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
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CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Connecting the dots: Linking the science and policy of biological invasion

Melodie McGeochSPEAKER: Assoc Professor Melodie McGeoch, School of Biological Sciences, Monash University (Google Scholar)

DATE: Friday, 6th May 2016
LOCATION: Melbourne Campus at Burwood HD2.006 (Richard Searby room)
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka5.303 and Warrnambool Campus, Room C1.13

ABSTRACT: Effective governance of the environment, including the problem of biological invasions, includes consideration of biological, analytical, reporting and jurisdictional scales.

Local benefits accrue from awareness and adoption of global approaches by (1) being able to motivate for the importance of local initiatives in a global context, (2) aligning activities with best practice, and (3) being able to draw on readily available information resources.

Globally, the benefits lie with accumulation of national and local tests of these schemes so that they can be refined where necessary. Importantly, harmonised approaches across scales facilitate rapid transfer of information and its translation into more targeted and relevant policy. However in practice there is often a disconnect between current, local scale information informing broader level policy, and also often a lag between international developments informing national scale action.

I will illustrate this with a selection of recent tools and approaches designed to connect the dots, and then discuss some of the ways in which research and policy connect.

BIO: My research integrates spatial ecology with understanding global change impacts on biodiversity, and with the development of bioindicator systems. I am interested in models and methods for quantifying and predicting biodiversity patterns, and the use of these for addressing conservation problems.

This includes global to local scale indicators of biological invasion, quantifying and estimating species range, abundance and diversity turnover, prioritisation for biological invasion and essential biodiversity variables for invasion monitoring.

I have previously held academic positions at the Universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch, and also spent some time outside of academia with South African National Parks.

Other affiliations and activities include the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology, and involvement in a range of intergovernmental groups that work on the development and delivery of tools and information systems for biodiversity assessment and monitoring, such as GEO BON and GBIF.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Don Driscoll.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
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CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Altruism writ small: The case of E.coli and antibiotic resistance

Lee DugatkinSPEAKER: Prof Lee Dugatkin, Professor & Distinguished University Scholar, Department of Biology, University of Louisville

DATE: Friday, 29th April 2016
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room KA3.406
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood, Burwood City Centre (BCC) and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

ABSTRACT: The evolution of altruism is often referred to as the central paradox of evolutionary biology. My colleagues and I have been studying microbial altruism in E. coli. Altruism in this system involves a cell secreting a substance called beta-lactamase, which breaks down antibiotics, and protects not just the cell secreting this substance, but all cells in the general vicinity.

We’ve done experiments that show that producing beta-lactamase is expensive and cells that don’t pay these costs– cheater cells –grow more quickly than cells that do (when no antibiotics are around). And yet, these secreting altruists coexist side by side with their cheating fellow cells.

I’ll talk about experiments that help us understand why, briefly touch on some computer simulations that model microbial altruism, and then discuss work we have done that extends microbial altruism and cheating to interspecific interactions between E. coli and Salmonella cells.

BIO: Lee is a Professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the Department of Biology at The University of Louisville. His main areas of research interest are the evolution of social behaviour, and the history of science. He has studied cooperation and mate choice, especially in fish, and also using modelling.

Lee is the author of over 150 articles on evolution and behaviour in such journals as Nature, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and The Proceedings of The Royal Society of London.

He also has written three books on the evolution of cooperation:

  • Cooperation among Animals: An Evolutionary Perspective, Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Cheating Monkeys and Citizen Bees, The Free Press, 1999.
  • The Altruism Equation: Seven Scientists Search for the Origins of Goodness, Princeton University Press, 2006.

Lee has also written a number of popular books, including Mr. Jefferson and the Giant Moose (The University of Chicago Press, 2009) and The Prince of Evolution (2011).

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Brianne Addison.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
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CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Sexual selection and morphological diversity

Greg HolwellSPEAKER: Dr Greg Holwell, School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand

DATE: Friday, 22nd April 2016
LOCATION: Melbourne Campus at Burwood, BCC-Burwood Corporate Centre (please report to reception)
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka4.207 (Green room) and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

ABSTRACT: Naturalists have always been fascinated by sexual dimorphism. The extreme morphologies that influence male reproductive success are wonderful subjects for both nature documentaries and evolutionary research.

Morphological structures that influence male competitive success can be exaggerated and complex, but are also extraordinarily diverse and the reasons for such diversity in male sexual structures like weapons and genitals are still uncertain.

Over the last decade, my students and I have been combining single species and comparative approaches to investigate diversity in male morphology across a range of spectacular New Zealand invertebrates.

I will discuss some of the patterns we have unveiled and highlight some specific examples including the complex antennae of praying mantises, the extreme and rather comical weaponry of giraffe weevils and harvestmen, and the somewhat sinister genitalia of lichen tuft moths.

BIO: Greg Holwell spent his PhD and postdoc years at Macquarie University and is now Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

He is a passionate naturalist whose research focus is behavioural and evolutionary ecology. His main interest is exploring the behaviour and extraordinary morphological diversity and complexity of terrestrial invertebrates.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Matthew Symonds.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
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CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Ecological impacts of gray wolf recolonization in managed landscapes of the western USA

Aaron WirsingSPEAKER: Assoc Prof Aaron Wirsing, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, College of the Environment, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

DATE: Friday, 15th April 2016
LOCATION: Melbourne Campus at Burwood HD3.008
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka4.207 (Green room) and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

ABSTRACT: Many top predators are undergoing global declines, raising concern about the ecosystem services that may be lost in the wake of their disappearance. Yet, the ecological impacts of many large predators are poorly understood, hindering reliable prediction of the consequences of changes to their abundance. In the northwestern USA, the return of gray wolves (Canis lupus) after an 80-year absence has set the stage for natural experiments exploring ecosystem changes triggered by the presence of these pack hunting canids.

Capitalizing on this rare opportunity by contrasting sites with and without wolves in eastern Washington state, we found that the presence of wolves had little effect on overall rates of predation suffered by two ungulate prey species – mule (Odocoileus hemionus) and white-tailed (O. virginianus) deer – but was associated with altered patterns of anti-predator vigilance.

By implication, wolves in the managed landscapes of eastern Washington may have little impact on prey demography via consumptive pathways but could affect prey fitness and plant communities non-consumptively by eliciting changes to spatiotemporal patterns of herbivory.

BIO: Dr. Wirsing is originally from Columbia, South Carolina (USA) and completed a BA in Biology at Bowdoin College (Maine) in 1996. He then earned a Master of Science degree in Wildlife Resources in 2001 from the University of Idaho, where his research explored the impacts of predation on the population dynamics of snowshoe hares at the species’ southern range edge in the Bitterroot Mountains.

In 2005, working with Lawrence Dill at Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, BC, Canada), he completed a dissertation focused on management of tiger shark predation risk by dugongs in Shark Bay, Western Australia.

From 2006-2008, Dr. Wirsing served as a post-doctoral research associate in the Heithaus Lab at Florida International University (Miami), where his studies continued to focus on the ecosystem consequences of dugong anti-predator behavior as well as bull shark behavior in the Florida Coastal Everglades.

In 2008, Dr. Wirsing joined the Wildlife Science Group in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he is currently an associate professor.

His research program continues to address predator-prey interactions, with special reference to the ecological impacts of predators that are transmitted non-consumptively.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Euan Ritchie.

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.

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CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Conserving biodiversity on a budget

Kerrie WilsonSPEAKER: Assoc Professor Kerrie Wilson, ARC Future Fellow, Deputy Director, Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

DATE: Friday, 8th April 2016
LOCATION: Melbourne Campus at Burwood HD2.006 (Richard Searby room)
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka5.303 and Warrnambool Campus, Room C1.13

ABSTRACT: Biodiversity conservation must compete with other societal priorities. Conservation therefore requires an understanding of both the ecological and the socio-economic system.

I will describe new theory and methods for prioritising where, when, and how to invest funds for protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services and will illustrate with examples of this research in Australia and Borneo. In this presentation I will profile methods to plan for multi-functional landscapes and the delivery of diverse outcomes, systematically evaluate the impact of conservation strategies, and forecast the impacts of alternative policy options and alternative futures.

Throughout the talk there will be a strong focus on initiatives to safeguard ecosystem services, which are providing increasing incentives for land protection and management. While numerous assessments have quantified, mapped, and valued the services provided by ecosystems that are important for human wellbeing much of the literature does not clarify how the information gathered in such assessments will be used to inform decisions to manage ecosystem services or policy settings.

I will describe the outcomes of our research that has assessed the relative performance of a variety of policy instruments in providing cost-effective carbon sequestration and biodiversity outcomes through reforestation. The policy instruments included different payment schemes, land use constraints, and targeting strategies as well as a biodiversity premium and carbon levy. When policy targets are already established, a useful tool for planning in social-ecological systems is scenario analysis.

Our scenario analysis for the Island of Borneo has revealed that public policy targets can be much more efficiently achieved through coordination between governments and modifications to existing land-use allocations.

I will also describe research that has employed scenario analysis of alternative land use planning options with the specific aim to explore the advantages afforded by land sharing or land sparing strategies.

BIO: Associate Professor Kerrie Wilson is an ARC Future Fellow at The University of Queensland (UQ), Chief Investigator of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, the Deputy Director of the UQ Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science and an Affiliated Professor in Conservation Science at The University of Copenhagen.

Kerrie holds a degree in Environmental Science (First Class Honours, awarded in 1999) from UQ and a Doctor of Philosophy from The University of Melbourne in 2004 undertaken in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre located in Cambridge.

Kerrie has previously held leadership positions with non-government organisations including Director of Conservation for The Nature Conservancy Australia. She has a particular interest in applied conservation resource allocation problems, such as where to invest limited resources to protect or restore biodiversity and the role of ecosystem services in achieving conservation goals.

Her research has been published in high impact journals such as Nature and Science and involves collaborations with governmental and NGOs at local, national and global levels. She teaches in Conservation Biology and Climate Change courses at UQ, supervises an amazing team of research higher degree students and is an Associate Editor of Ecological Applications and Ecography.

She has received numerous national awards, including two Australian Research Council Research Fellowships, an Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Outstanding Young Researcher, The HG Andrewartha Medal, the SCOPUS Young Researcher Award for the Life and Biological Sciences and the Women in Technology Life Sciences Research Award.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Euan Ritchie.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
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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 2016 – Viral Diseases and Parrot Conservation in Australia

David N. PhalenSPEAKER: Associate Professor David N. Phalen, Exotic Animal Medicine and Surgery and Wildlife Health and Conservation, Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney

DATE: Friday, 18th March 2016
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka4.207 (Green room)
TIME: 1:30pm (new time)
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood HD2.006 (Richard Searby room); and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

ABSTRACT: Infectious diseases, particularly viral diseases, can have significant impacts on endangered parrots both in situ and in ex situ breeding programs. Much is known about viral infections of parrots, but much is still to be learned.

This talk will cover the Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease virus and related circoviruses found in other species of birds. The second half of the talk will focus on other viruses that are known to occur in Australia in pet and wild parrots and their potential significance.

BIO: David has a Bachelors of Arts from the University of Chicago, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University from Cornell University, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Pathobiology) from Texas A&M University.

He taught zoo, exotic pet, and wildlife medicine to surgery in the class room and in the clinic to veterinary students from 1993 to 2006 when he joined the faculty of the University of Sydney as the Director of the Wildlife Health and Conservation Centre and the Avian Reptile and Exotic Pet Hospital.

David teaches conservation biology, exotic pet husbandry and wildlife and exotic pet medicine to 3rd and 4th year DVM students and is the coordinator for the Masters of Wildlife Health and Population Management.

His research interests are varied and include infectious, toxicological and nutritional diseases of wildlife and exotic animals and wildlife ecology and conservation.

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 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.

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.