Monthly Archives: April 2015

Lab meeting: 5th May, 11:30 am, Common Room

Dear all,

Paul Parsons will give a talk at the next Molecular Ecology Lab meeting, which will be on Tuesday 5th May at 11:30 am in the Common Room, Alfred Denny Building, D floor.

Title: Functional morphological diversity in Lake Malawi’s ‘prototype’ cichlid: A case for the flexible stem model of adaptive radiation?

Paul’s talk will be based on his PhD research with Dr. Martin Genner at the University of Bristol. The talk will focus on Astatotilapia calliptera, the putative ancestor of the Lake Malawi Haplochromine cichlid flock. He combines population genetics, geometric morphometrics and dietary analysis to ask questions about the effect of environmental stability on morphological divergence and the importance of a flexible stem for adaptive radiation. Paul is currently working on sweat bees at the University of Sussex with Prof. Jeremy Field.

Remember that everyone associated with this lab is eligible to give a talk at these monthly meetings. Available dates are found here (, please contact me should you wish to take a slot. Follow this link ( to check/subscribe to the meetings calendar.

As usual, please let me know of any new people in your groups.

All the best,

Mauricio Montaño-Rendón

PhD Student

Talk on reproducibility & reliability of science

The Department of Biomedical Science is delighted to announce a seminar by Prof. Marcus Munafo of the University of Bristol. Professor Munafo was the Keynote Speaker at a recent Symposium on the Reproducibility and Reliability of Biomedical Research organised by the Academy of Medical Sciences in conjunction with the Wellcome Trust, MRC and BBSRC. The talk he will give in Sheffield, which will take place on 13th July at 1200 in Alfred Denny Building Lecture Theatre 1, will reflect his keynote address and is entitled:
“Reproducibility: What is the scale of the problem?”

Prof. Marcus Munafo, MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit
School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol

There have been a number of high profile cases of academic fraud recently. However, a more insidious threat to the integrity of science is the extent to which distortions of scientific best practice increases the likelihood that published research findings are in fact false. I will provide evidence for a range of systemic problems within science, such as flexibility in the analysis of data, selective reporting of study results, publication bias against null results, influence of vested (e.g., financial) interests, and distorted incentive structures. I will show that under some plausible and quite conservative assumptions, it is likely that the majority of published findings are in fact false. A number of strategies for improving the situation will be discussed.
Selected publications:
Park et al. Modelling the effects of subjective and objective decision making in scientific peer review. Nature (2014) vol. 506 (7486) pp. 93-6
Button et al. Empirical evidence for low reproducibility indicates low pre-study odds. Nat Rev Neurosci (2013) vol. 14 (12) pp. 877
Flint and Munafò. Genetics. Herit-ability. Science (2013) vol. 340 (6139) pp. 1416-7
Button et al. Confidence and precision increase with high statistical power. Nat Rev Neurosci (2013) vol. 14 (8) pp. 585-6
Flint and Munafò. Genetics: finding genes for schizophrenia. Curr Biol (2014) vol. 24 (16) pp. R755-7
Munafò et al. Scientific rigor and the art of motorcycle maintenance. Nat Biotechnol (2014) vol. 32 (9) pp. 871-3
The talk is highly recommended to all, but particularly to early stage (PhD and post-doc) researchers across the sciences. Prof. Munafo’s host will be Dr Andrew Furley.

Welcome to Deborah Glass

Welcome to Deborah who has joined the lab as a Facility visitor to study parentage in the hazel dormouse.

Night vision camera / video borrowing

Hi all,

Does anyone have a night vision camera / video that I could borrow for a couple/few weeks please?

Im trying to watch the hedgehogs in my garden and see where they poo so I can collect it for Carly.


Terry’s group meeting today is CANCELLED.

Next meeting will be on Friday 8/5 11.30am in BMS seminar room 4.

PhD on hybrid sparrows

A PhD Research Fellow is available at the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.

The PhD project is entitled “The genomic architecture of a hybrid species” and is part of a larger Research Program entitled “On the role of hybridization in evolution – the case of Eurasian Passer sparrows” funded by the Norwegian Research Council.

Tentative starting date: June-August 2015.

The PhD-project will be part of a larger project using the Italian sparrow (Passer italiae), the first documented case of hybrid speciation in birds (Hermansen et al. 2011), and its parent species (P. domesticus and P. hispaniolensis) to investigate how hybridization can generate novel variation and result in speciation. The genome of the Italian sparrow is a composite mosaic of DNA from both parent species’ genomes. However, little is known about the processes molding a homoploid hybrid genome.

This project applies genomic approaches to develop an understanding of which factors that have formed the genome of the Italian sparrow. Whole genome resquencing and RAD-tag data from three putatively independently formed island populations will be used to investigate this. Three questions that will be addressed is the role of transposable elements in forming the genome, whether entire networks of genes are repeatedly inherited from the same parent species, and how genetic integration compares to phenotypic integration. The successful candidate will be allowed to choose aspects of genomics of the larger study as best fits her/his research interests. She/he will also be encouraged to develop additional, complementary avenues of research. There will be available genomic data to work on from day one, but there will also be field work on Mediterranean islands!

We are looking for an ambitious candidate who is passionate about science and has a strong background in evolutionary biology/genomics/bioinformatics. Interested candidates should have a Master degree or equivalent in a relevant field of biology. A special interest in the field of speciation and speciation genetics is a plus. The candidate should be interested in learning and applying genomic skills to answer evolutionary questions regarding hybrid speciation. A strong interest in bioinformatics and experience with independent programming in unix/python/perl, and genomic data analysis in R is meriting. We are primarily looking for a candidate with a strong track record who is highly motivated and interested in a future career in science.

The position is affiliated with the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), under the supervision of Dr. Anna Runemark and Prof. Glenn-Peter Sætre and the work will be done in collaboration with our research group currently consisting of four senior researchers, three PhD-students and several MSc-students. The working language will be English.

Please contact Anna.Runemark@ibv.uio or for further information regarding the position!

Please find a link to the announcement here: .

Free Online course- Earth Observation and Climate Change

Take a look on this new MOOC on Earth Observation and Climate Change that I helped develop:

It’s a free online course, where leading experts and scientists from ESA and key European research centres (including UoB), introduce and explore the science that underpins Earth observation. It starts on June.


Charilaos Pylidis
Mammal Research Unit

University of Bristol

Accommodation needed

Deborah Glass is coming to work her dormouse project and looking for accommodation from the 27th April. If you can help (even if just for the first week to get settled) please contact Deborah directly – D.Glass2 (at)

Concert- Saturday 18th April

Hi all- I’m singing in this charity concert this weekend. If you fancy coming I can get you a £6 ticket on Thursday evening… just let me know. Cheers, Andy.

Communication workshop this Wednesday – 15/04/2015

Communication workshop and Quiz.
For postdocs, research fellows and early career researchers.
Food and drinks provided
Please register by email to

When: 15th April 2-6pm.
Where: BMS Conference Room

Full details..
2-4pm Communication Workshop (RAVES)
During the Communication workshop participants will work in small groups and
create a short engaging talk/presentation about their current or past research.
presentation will only be a few minutes long and ideally aimed at a broad
audience. After working in small groups to develop your presentation, we will
come together and one volunteer from each group will give their presentation to
the whole group. At the end of this session you will have a clear and engaging
answer to the question – so tell me about your research?

4-4:30pm Coffee/Tea break with cake.

4:30-6:00pm APS Postdoc Quiz (RANTS)
The aim of this session is to have fun and meet other postdocs and fellows from
APS. We will mix up the teams to ensure lots of opportunities to meet people
outside your lab groups or research areas. We will provide drinks (beer, wine
and soft drinks) and delicious nibbles during the Quiz.