Institute seminar series

Institute seminar series

graphic showing 21-22 Seminar Series Header

The 2021-2022 season of Institute seminars has arrived! 
We are still in the process of inviting some great external speakers, so we hope that as many of you as possible will be able to tune in. The current health restrictions obviously dictate we cannot bring the speakers into our Lecture Theatres - at least, not yet! -  but we will be bringing them directly into your living-room, kitchen, study area - wherever you Zoom from!

The Institute seminars will cover a broad range of areas, from biodiversity, evolutionary biology, ecosystems and conservation through to areas of pathogen biology, transmission, epidemiology and modelling. We hope there will be something for everyone. 

Before each seminar an email will go out on our regular channel, as well as social media comms, with details of the speaker, the title, the host and the Zoom URL. We also hope to introduce post-Seminar breakout rooms for individuals and small groups to meet with the speaker via zoom so watch this space for details. The acknowledged start time for the Seminars will be 13:00 unless otherwise stated. Please also keep checking our Institute Calendar for updates.

Also see our listing for upcoming Internal Seminars (Friday seminar series) which features talks by PhD students and also the Postdoc & PI seminars.

Hope to see you all in the zoom-grid soon...

Sep 22 - Prof Ben Groom (University of Exeter) - Carbon emissions reductions from Indonesia’s Moratorium...contribute little to Paris pledges

Picture of Ben GroomProfessor Ben Groom joined the University of Exeter from the London School of Economics in the summer of 2020 as the Dragon Capital Chair in Biodiversity Economics. This is a philanthropically funded Chair whose objectives are to strengthen public policy on biodiversity and investigate how the financial sector and consumer behaviour can be changed so that biodiversity is conserved for current and future societies.

Professor Groom currently is a member of the HM Treasury Biodiversity Working Group which is tasked with looking at how to ensure biodiversity is accounted for Cost benefit Analysis of public policy and investment. He is also working on a consultation on intergenerational equity and the environment, also with HM Treasury. He has worked on intergenerational fairness in social decision making and has advised governments across the world on their approach to long-term policy and investment in relation to environmental issues such as biodiversity and climate change. Prof. Groom has a PHD in economics from the Department of Economics at University College London.

Prior to his academic career, Prof. Groom worked as an Overseas Development Institute Fellow in the Department of Water Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, in the Government of the Republic of Namibia, and as a consultant to the UN Mission in Kosovo. He has worked as a consultant to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Pakistan, the OECD and the Government of China.


Title: Carbon emissions reductions from Indonesia’s Moratorium on forest concessions are cost-effective yet contribute little to Paris pledges

Abstract: International initiatives for reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) could make critical, cost-effective contributions to tropical countries' Nationally Determined Contributions. Norway, a key donor of such initiatives, has a REDD+ partnership with Indonesia, offering results-based payments in exchange for emissions reductions calculated against a historical baseline. Central to this partnership is an area-based Moratorium on new oil palm, timber and logging concessions in primary and peatland forests. We evaluate the effectiveness of the Moratorium between 2011 and 2018 by applying a matched triple difference strategy to a unique panel dataset. Treated dryland forest inside Moratorium areas retain at most, an average of 0.65\% higher forest cover compared to untreated dryland forest outside the Moratorium. By contrast, carbon-rich peatland forest is unaffected by the Moratorium. Cumulative avoided dryland deforestation from 2011 until 2018 translates into 68.2-86.9 million tons of emissions reductions, implying an effective carbon price below Norway's US\$5 per ton price. Based on Norway's price, our estimated cumulative emissions reductions are equivalent to a payment of US\$341-434.5 million. Annually, our estimates suggest a 3-4 percent contribution to Indonesia's NDC commitment of a 29\% emissions reduction by 2030. As reducing emissions from deforestation is critical for meeting this commitment, REDD+ outcomes could be improved by expanding the Moratorium and reforming its incentives and institutional arrangements, particularly in peatland forest areas.


Zoom Link

Meeting ID: 961 1321 6778

Passcode: 20210922

Host: Prof. Nick Hanley

Sep 29 - Dr Hopi Hoekstra (Harvard University) - A Tale of Tails: the genetic basis of adaptation in wild mice

Picture of Hopi KoesktraHopi Hoekstra is Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Curator of Mammology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Professor Hoekstra group studies how genome and phenotype variation is generated and maintained in natural populations. Using deer mice, Professor Hoekstra lab combines molecular techniques, population-genetic tests, and classical genetic crosses to characterise the molecular traits that affect fitness. 



Abstract To Follow

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 930 6985 2702

Passcode: 795992

Host: Tyler Stevenson

Oct 13 - Prof Eric Morgan (Queen’s University Belfast) - Indirect effects of climate change on parasite transmission in animals

Picture of Prof Eric MorganIndirect effects of climate change on parasite transmission in animals

Prof Eric Morgan, Queen’s University Belfast


Climate warming has the potential to greatly increase development rates in parasites outside their homeothermic animal hosts, and consequently to accelerate transmission and increase disease. Whether this potential is realised, however, depends on a large number of interacting processes, including non-thermal constraints on transmission. This seminar will explore some non-linear influences of climate change on parasite transmission, including through host behaviour and management. Examples from a wide range of systems will be used, especially helminths in grazing ruminants and gastropod-borne nematodes. Approaches that combine experiments, computer modelling and epidemiological data are needed to address future challenges in this field.

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 977 4115 3082
Passcode: 484550

Host: Prof. Eileen Devaney

Oct 20 - Professor Joao Pedro de Magalhaes (University of Liverpool) - "Epigenetic predictors of age, lifespan and life-history in mammals"

Pivture of Prof Joao Pedro de MagalhaesWe are very pleased to have Professor Joao Pedro de Magalhaes from the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease at the University of Liverpool.
Professor Joao Pedro de Magalhaes joined the University of Liverpool in 2008 to develop its own group on genomic approaches to ageing. His group is world-leader in employing genomics and bioinformatics to study ageing with pioneering work in studying gene networks of ageing and in sequencing and analyzing genomes from long-lived species. Professor Joao Pedro de Magalhaes will be speaking to us about the latest developments in epigenetics clocks and what they can tell us about biological age and ageing.
This seminar combines multiple fields of research (e.g., cellular biology, epigenetics, aging, life history evolution) and will be inspiring for most. Please, come along and join us to welcome Prof de Magalhaes.

Title: Epigenetic predictors of age, lifespan and life-history in mammals

Abstract:Advanced age is the strongest predictor of a multiple of diseases. Recent work from Steve Horvath and others has revealed epigenetic clocks based on methylation signatures from blood and other tissues capable of predicting biological age across mammals. Methylation signatures have also recently been shown to predict life history traits, including lifespan, of multiple mammalian species. These recent findings will be discussed and put in context of life history and evolutionary theories of aging.


Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 955 5205 4108

Passcode: 378076

HostProf. Pat Monaghan

Oct 27 - Prof Susan Kutz (University of Calgary) - Community-Engaged Wildlife Health Surveillance in a Changing Arctic

Picture of Prof Susan KutzWed Oct 29 IBAHCM seminar will be given by Prof Susan Kutz from the University of Calgary, entitled "Community-Engaged Wildlife Health Surveillance in a Changing Arctic”.
An abstract and Susan’s Bio follow below - another very timely talk leading up to the Climate Change conference!

Please note that the seminar will be held at 15:00 in account of the time zone difference of the speaker.

If anyone would like to speak with Susan after her talk, please RSVP to Taya Forde or Tristan Dennis


Healthy wildlife populations are integral to the socio-economic, cultural, mental and physical welfare of Indigenous peoples around the world. Rapid climate and social change in the Arctic are causing broad ecosystem changes, altering the dynamics and sustainability of wildlife populations. I will discuss how communities and scientists have come together to develop and implement community-based wildlife health surveillance programs. By bridging Indigenous and scientific ways of knowing, seeing and doing, this work has led to novel and actionable insights into wildlife health and ecology and strengthened the Inuit voice in wildlife management.

Dr. Susan Kutz is a Professor in the Department of Ecosystem and Public Health at the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, a Canada Research Chair in Arctic One Health, and a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Her research brings local, traditional and scientific knowledge together to understand the impacts of a warming Arctic on the health of muskoxen and caribou and the consequent effects on food security in the Arctic. She is recognized around the CircumArctic for her wildlife health expertise and recently co-edited the first edition of the book Reindeer and Caribou Health and Disease. She also pioneered the Northern Community Health veterinary program in the Sahtu Settlement area, NWT, where she and her team have delivered annual veterinary services to five Dene communities for 14 consecutive years, while at the same time providing young veterinarians with unique cross-cultural experiential learning opportunities. 

Nov 03 - Dr Daniel Masiga (icipe, Nairobi) - Characterizing trypanosomiasis in a wildlife-livestock-human interface in Kenya

Picture of Dr Daniel MasigaThis IBAHCM External Seminar will be on Wednesday 3rd of November at 1PM (on Zoom – details below) and we are very pleased to have Dr. Daniel Masiga from the Human and Animal Health department at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Nairobi.

Dr. Daniel Masiga trained in Kenya (Nairobi) and UK (UCL and Bristol) and was a postdoctoral fellow in trypanosome genetics at Glasgow with Mike Turner. His current research focuses on infectious diseases of humans and livestock, including trypanosomiasis and tick-borne disease. He has extensive knowledge of the field and is actively engaged in research training. He leads a bioinformatics training program, the Eastern Africa Network for Bioinformatics Training, and is a fellow of the African Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Daniel Masiga will be speaking to us about the transmission of trypanosomes around wildlife-livestock-human interface areas. Please come along and join us to welcome Dr. Masiga.

TitleCharacterizing trypanosomiasis in a wildlife-livestock-human interface in Kenya

Abstract: African trypanosomes are single cell organisms primarily transmitted by tsetse flies after a complex developmental cycle in the fly. They can also be transmitted mechanically by biting flies, when feeding on an infected animal is interrupted, and the fly moves to another host within a short time, transferring live parasites to the second host. Although areas infested by tsetse flies are quite widespread, with an estimated 9 million sq. km. affected in sub-Saharan Africa, fly distribution has been shaped over the last century by human population growth, agricultural practices, and climate change. The most intense transmission is therefore associated with relatively undisturbed environments, such as those around wildlife conservation areas. Hence, transmission is heterogenous. We are exploring factors that modulate transmission dynamics around wildlife-livestock-human interface areas to generate data that can improve efficient deployment of disease control efforts.

Zoom Link

Meeting ID: 985 1740 8150

Passcode: 151553

HostProf. Barbara Mable

Nov 10 - Jasmien Orije (University of Antwerp) - Unravelling the effect of testosterone and thyroid hormones on seasonal neuroplasticity in adult songbirds

Picture of Jasmien OrijeFollowing a last minute cancellation of our planned speaker we have decided to take the opportunity to do something a little different from normal and have invited an Early Career Researcher. We are delighted to welcome the highly talented Early Career Researcher, Jasmien Orije (University of Antwerp), who has agreed to come at very short notice.
About to defend her PhD in December, Jasmien is an excellent MRI researcher who has pioneered new methods for MRI in Starlings, developing complicated MRI paradigms to study non-model avian species brain. She will be speaking about her work assessing neuroplasticity in songbirds and the role of hormones in this.

ABSTRACTUnravelling the effect of testosterone and thyroid hormones on seasonal neuroplasticity in adult songbirds

Early in life neuroplasticity and learning occur more readily than at older age. These so called ‘sensitive periods’ of neuroplasticity have been of particular interest to scientists who tried to change the timing or reintroduce plasticity later in life. Interestingly, seasonal songbirds like starlings, present a seasonal neuroplasticity enabling them to modify their song each year. This makes them a remarkable animal model to study the permissive circumstances for naturally reoccurring neuroplasticity, especially in relation to vocal learning. However, research on neuroplasticity in songbirds mainly focused on the male song control system (SCS), because in many songbird species, song is a predominantly male characteristic.

We aimed (1) to uncover the exact time window when heightened seasonal neuroplasticity emerges in both male and female starlings and (2) to investigate the neuromodulatory impact of steroid and thyroid hormones during this time window. Using a non-invasive technique: Diffusion tensor imaging, allowed us to monitor the same animals longitudinally and investigate the microstructural changes within the entire brain in an ‘unbiased’ data-driven way as they experienced different photoperiods and hormone modulations.

This way we discovered that neuroplasticity is not limited to the SCS, but is also present in other sensory systems and cerebellum, indicating the importance and integration of multiple senses in preparation of the breeding season. Importantly, this neuroplasticity started during the photosensitive phase, which might represent a sensitive period of multisensory neuroplasticity.

Next, we implanted testosterone in photosensitive female starlings to determine its effects on neuroplasticity and song. We uncovered that testosterone rapidly stimulates the song rate, but other song characteristics, like song bout length, and the microstructural changes in the SCS develop more gradually. Furthermore, this testosterone-induced increase in song bout length correlated to SCS microstructure.

Finally, we examined the role of thyroid hormones on adult seasonal neuroplasticity. We found that circulating thyroid hormones levels were negatively correlated to microstructural changes in several SCS nuclei, indicating that a reduction in thyroid hormones is necessary to lift the brakes imposed by the photorefractory period and reopen the window of neuroplasticity.

The insights gathered from these experiments tell us something about the permissive circumstances allowing neuroplasticity, setting the stage for further molecular research and encourage to consider the effects of hormones in other forms of neuroplasticity.

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 930 5819 1921

Passcode: 974270


If you would like to meet with Jasmien, please contact Gaurav Majumdar

Nov 17 - Dr. Nsa Dada (Norwegian University of Life Sciences - NMBU) - Links between the mosquito microbiota and insecticide resistance

Picture of Dr Nsa DadaWe are very pleased to have Dr. Nsa Dada from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and founder and leader of the Mosquito Microbiome Consortium ( this weeks IBAHCM Seminar Speaker.

Dr. Nsa Dada has a multidisciplinary background with a broad interest in understanding the microbial mechanisms that underlie diverse living and non-living systems. Her research is now largely concentrated on the evolution of microbe-mediated phenotypic variations in multicellular organisms as a function of biotic and abiotic factors. Particularly, she will be speaking to us about how microbes drive the evolution of insecticide resistance in mosquitoes, focusing on malaria vectors.

Please come along and join us to welcome Dr. Nsa Dada and listen about her fascinating research.

Title: Links between the mosquito microbiota and insecticide resistance

Abstract: It is no coincidence that the stall in malaria control progress over the past half decade overlaps with the scale up of insecticide-based malaria vector control tools, and the increasing prevalence and intensity of insecticide resistance in malaria mosquito populations. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying insecticide resistance is thus needed to mitigate its threat to malaria control. So far, insecticide resistance research has focused on mosquito biology, behavior, and genetics. But mosquitoes, like all other living organisms, harbor microbes that influence their biology, behavior, and genetics. We hypothesized that the mosquito microbiome could be contributing to resistance following evidence in agricultural pest insects. Focusing on malaria vectors across Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa; including Anopheles albimanus, An. gambiae s.s. and An. coluzzii, we studied how insecticide exposure; and resistance phenotypes, intensity, and genotype (kdr mutations), affect mosquito microbiota composition. Across all locations, Anopheles species, and insecticides considered, results consistently show significant mosquito microbiota alterations due to all factors tested except kdr mutations, which was fixed in the population studied regardless of insecticide resistance phenotype. Results also show specific microbes and putative microbial functions associated with either insecticide resistance or susceptibility. I will discuss these findings and its implications for insecticide resistance management and our current understanding of insecticide resistance mechanisms.

Zoom Link

Meeting ID: 935 0275 4226

Passcode: 247943

HostProf. Heather Ferguson 

Nov 24 - Prof. Andre Pires da Silva (University of Warwick) - Plasticity and evolution of reproductive system development

Prof. Andre Pires da Silva (University of Warwick)

Picture of Andre Pires da SilvaTitle: Plasticity and evolution of reproductive system development 

Abstract:  In organisms with two sexes, a binary switch triggered by environmental or genetic cues regulates sex determination. However, sex determination is fast evolving and diverse, resulting in organisms such as Auanema nematodes, which produce male, female and hermaphrodite individuals. In this seminar, I will discuss the ecological, evolutionary and cell biological basis for sex determination in these species. I will present data on how the maternal environment influences sex determination and how males eliminate male-forming sperm to modulate the sex ratio of the offspring. Those findings may apply to other models of epigenetic inheritance and to animals with biased sex ratios.

Prof. da Silva would be glad to talk to anyone who is interested in his work.

Please email Jennifer McIntyre (Seminar Host) for further details.

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 913 0787 6970

Passcode: 881940

Graphic illustrating Concept Soma to germline-1_worm33


Dec 17, 5pm - Ornithological Christmas Lecture - Guest Speaker...Dr Francis Daunt, Centre for Ecology and Conservation

TITLE: Extreme weather effects on foraging, migration and demography

Francis Daunt is a population ecologist who is the Group Leader of the Ecological andSocio-Ecological Interactions Group at the UK Centre for Ecology andHydrology (UKCEH), based at the Edinburgh Site.
Francis is a key international figure in marine ecology and leads the long term study of seabird population ecology centred on the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth, one of the longest and most comprehensive studies of its kind in the world.
The research programme takes a year-round approach to understanding the drivers ofpopulation change.  Francis combines observational field studies withtargeted experimental investigations, takes a multidisciplinary approach andcollaborates widely with scientists in other disciplines.
He is particularly interested in how populations and individuals respond to extreme weather events, and in ecological resilience.

Dec 17, 2021 at 5pm

Via Zoom:

Meeting ID: 970 7417 3022

Passcode: 741382

The Annual BAHCM Ornithological Christmas Lecture


Jan 19 - Prof Uma Ramakrishnan (DBT Wellcome Trust, NCBS TIFR) - Conservation genetics of wild carnivores

Prof Uma Ramakrishnan (Professor and Senior Fellow, India Alliance, DBT Wellcome Trust, NCBS TIFR)
Title: Conservation genetics of wild carnivores

Picture of Prof. Uma RamakrishnanAbstract: Human impacts across the world have fragmented habitats, resulting in isolated populations of animals, especially endangered large carnivores. We have been studying the interplay between isolation and connectivity in endangered tiger populations in India. In this talk, I will present a summary of our work over the last several years on tiger populations, and how we identified connected landscapes and isolated populations. I will then spend sometime on two recent studies where we have investigated evolutionary trajectories in small and isolated populations. First, we investigated the genetic basis for a unique phenotype in wild pseudomelanistic tigers. Our results suggest that drift, or chance events, have led to the high frequency of an otherwise rare allele. On the other hand, we show that tigers in another small and isolated population are inbred, and that such inbreeding is accompanied by both purging/removal of putative loss of function alleles and high frequency of remaining deleterious alleles, suggesting future inbreeding depression. Going forward, we hope to understand more about possible fitness effects of these predicted loss of function and deleterious alleles.

Please contact Anubhab ( if you would like to meet with Uma after her talk.

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 945 4411 6084

Passcode: 457069

For more information on what Prof. Ramakrishnan's lab does, please  see

26 Jan - Abderrahman Khila ( Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon (IGFL)) - Title TBA

Picture of Abderrahman KhilaAbderrahman Khila (Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon (IGFL)) 

Title: Sexual conflict and genome evolution in water striders

Abstract: Males and females share most of the genome and are required to interact in order to reproduce; yet their evolutionary interests are rarely aligned resulting in widespread conflict. Evidence of how sexual conflict shapes the divergence of the sexes at the phenotypic level has been steadily accumulating for the past decades. Despite these advances, our understanding of how sexually antagonistic selection shapes genome evolution remains surprisingly poor. Water striders are prominent models for the study of sexual conflict where we have a good understanding of how sexually antagonistic selection shapes the evolution of armaments in the form of sexually antagonistic traits. In this talk, I will detail some aspect of how sexual conflict over mating rate drives phenotypic divergence of the sexes in a number of species of water striders. I will present results linking this divergence with the action of prominent developmental genes. Finally, I will discuss some preliminary results and ideas as to how to further study the impact of sexual conflict at the genomic level both in the lab and in natural populations.


Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 961 3803 0710

Passcode: 164509

Host: Kevin Parsons

Feb 02 - Prof Diana Williams (University of Liverpool) - Title TBA

Picture of Diana WilliamsProf Diana Williams (University of Liverpool) - Title TBA

Host - Jenni McIntyre

Feb 16 - Markus Engstler (University of Würzburg) - Towards comparative trypanosome cell biology in host and vector

 Poster for Markus Engstler Wuerzburg University

IBAHCM External Seminar Series – 16th February 1-2 pm – Professor Markus Engstler (University of Würzburg)

Title: Towards comparative trypanosome cell biology in host and vector

Abstract: So far, tissue models have only been sparsely used in infection research. This is a conceptual shortcoming for several reasons. Firstly, tissue models can be produced for virtually all mammals, allowing comparative analyses of species-specific tissue models. Second, the models can be generated with increasing physiological complexity. Third, the models can be produced in a standardised and reproducible manner, reducing reproducibility issues and increasing the potential for medium to high throughput and automated analyses. Importantly, parasites and other pathogens that naturally thrive in host tissues can also serve as natural probes for the quality of the respective models. Today, as an example, I would like to present the development of a whole skin model to study trypanosome infections. This is an exciting story - with a good ending.

Please note that this weeks seminar will contain confidential information and should not be recorded or shared with those outside of Glasgow university.

Please contact Annette ( if you would like to meet with Markus after his talk. 
For more information on what his lab does see

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 927 0085 6084
Passcode: 065799


Feb 16 - Darwin Day Lecture - Dr Kory Evans (Rice University) - "Evolutionary Mosaics and The Interplay Between Innovation and Integration"

Poster for Darwin Day 2022

This year's Darwin Day lecture will be held at 4pm on Wednesday the 16th of February. Prominent evolutionary biologist Dr Kory Evans will be giving a talk on mosaic patterns of evolution across the fish skull. You can read more about his exciting work here: One-on-one meetings with the speaker can be arranged, just get in contact with the PGR reps at the lecture there will be an online social gathering, so please come along!

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 972 6710 5153
Passcode: 220828

Feb 23 - Atle Mysterud (University of Oslo) - The pathogen-tick-host triad and Lyme disease emergence

Atle Mysterud poster

Atle Mysterud (University of Oslo) -

TITLE - The pathogen-tick-host triad and Lyme disease emergence

Abstract: Climatic warming currently increases the prevalence of Lyme disease in Europe and North America, but we know much less about the role of vertebrate host populations in the regulation of Lyme disease. The Ixodes ricinus tick life cycle has three stages, each requiring a blood meal from a vertebrate host to molt into the next stage or to reproduce. Larvae and nymphs feed on a wide range of different sized hosts, while the adult female tick requires a blood meal from a large host to fulfil the life cycle. Further, the two main genospecies of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato causing Lyme disease have different life cycles and pathogenicity to humans; Borrelia afzelii has a reservoir in small mammals and is linked mainly to skin disease in humans, while the pathogen B. garinii has a reservoir in birds and is linked to more severe cases of neuroborreliosis. Deer are potential dilution hosts. Despite this general knowledge, we have little data to document: (1) the quantitative importance of the different hosts for feeding different life stages of ticks; how much (2) host populations and (3) distribution of the two Borrelia genospecies affect prevalence of Lyme disease in humans. The transmission cycle of Lyme disease is extremely complex; (4) how much more can we learn by studying a broader range of tick-borne diseases? I will present a decade of empirical work on ticks and mammalian hosts (2009-now) and tick-borne disease prevalence in humans and livestock (1995-now) to come closer to an answer to these questions focussing on ecosystems in Norway.


Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 961 3803 0710

Passcode: 164509

Host: Dr Roman Biek


Host - Roman Biek

Mar 02 - Dr. Stuart D. Washington (MIT/Howard University) - Lessons on Hemispheric Specialization for Speech and Music as Learned from Bats

Picture of Stuart Washington with bat

IBAHCM External Seminar Series – 2nd March 1-2 pm – Dr. Stuart D. Washington (UK time)

Title: Lessons on Hemispheric Specialization for Speech and Music as Learned from Bats

Abstract: Evidence suggests that the degree of left hemispheric specialization in the auditory cortex (AC) for processing social communication calls, including human speech sounds, is dictated by acoustic structure and not semantic content. Specifically, the relatively greater precision with which the left AC processes time-critical (temporal) information enables it to detect the rapid frequency modulations (FMs) that comprise social calls, which are analogous to formant-transitions in speech. The right AC, on the other hand, has greater precision at processing frequency-related (spectral) information that enables it to track prosodic variation and pitch. Elements of this Asymmetric Sampling in Time have been identified not only in human AC but also in the Doppler-shifted constant frequency processing (DSCF) subregion of mustached bat AC. In this talk, I will use observations and theorems to suggest how an idealized version of the classic left hemispheric specialization for speech processing, characteristic of human AC, evolved in the bat brain. I will address some lingering questions related to sex differences and spectral energy as well as suggest how fMRI can be used to address this topic. Ultimately, I suggest that left hemispheric specialization for social calls and rapid FMs in mustached bats may help us to unravel fundamental phonological mysteries related to hemispheric differences in processing human speech and music. 

Please contact Gaurav ( if you would like to meet with Stuart after his talk.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 938 6673 2190

Passcode: 507962

Mar 16 - Dr. Alex McInturf (Oregon State University) - Physiology, behavior, and distribution: A multiscale approach to understanding fish responses...

Title: Physiology, behavior, and distribution: A multiscale approach to understanding fish responses to environmental change

Picture of Alex McInturfDr. Alex McInturf (she/her) is a Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies (CICOES) fellow in the Big Fish Lab at Oregon State University. Her research generally focuses on how marine organisms respond to biotic and abiotic environmental variables. She uses this information to contextualize and predict behavior, movement patterns, and survival, exploring this topic in threatened marine fishes. Previously, she has studied salmon and sevengill sharks in California and basking sharks in California and Ireland. She is also currently examining the foraging ecology of salmon sharks in Oregon and Alaska and its relative impact on local salmon populations. Finally, Alex is an avid science communicator and has developed and led graduate-level courses on this topic. In addition to her personal SciComm endeavors, she co-coordinates the Irish Basking Shark Group and Big Fish Lab social media and outreach efforts. More information can be found on her website ( and social media (@DrSurfNTurf).  

Abstract: Predicting organism responses to environmental change is challenging, particularly in aquatic and marine ecosystems. Here I present three case studies to demonstrate how these responses can vary across scales, from physiology to behavior to species distribution. To do so, I examine fish species found in California, including salmon and their common predators, and two different sharks (sevengill and basking sharks). I demonstrate the value of using data collected at different resolutions to better predict fish responses to various environmental variables. Ultimately, these approaches could be used to inform more proactive conservation strategies, in California and elsewhere.


Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 930 5863 1127

Passcode: 20220316

HostAmelia Munson

Apr 13 - Dr Lauren Cowley (University of Bath) - Tales from the Cowley Lab: Machine Learning Salmonella and investigating SARS-CoV-2

Title: Two recent tales from the Cowley lab; 'Machine learning for geographical source attribution of Salmonella' and 'Combining genomics and mobility data to investigate the rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Bangladesh.'


picture of Dr Lauren CowleyBio: Dr Lauren Cowley joined the University of Bath as a Prize Fellow of Bioinformatics in September 2018 and recently became a Lecturer in Microbial Genomics and Bioinformatics in February 2022. Prior to joining Bath, Lauren worked at Public Health England (now UKHSA) for 4 years and Harvard T.H. Chan school of Public Health for 2 years. Her research centres around using sequencing technology to track outbreaks and emergence of infectious diseases. She has mostly worked on Escherichia coliStreptococcus pneumoniaeSalmonella, Ebola and SARs-CoV-2. She has just ended a 21-month 0.5 FTE deployment to the UK cabinet office as an embedded scientist on the UK COVID-19 Taskforce.



Tale 1Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis, is one of the most frequent causes of Salmonellosis globally and, is commonly acquired during international travel or consumption of imported foodstuffs. Consequently, it, requires requiring rapid geographical source attribution for outbreak management. In this study, 2,313 S. Enteritidis genomes collected by the UKHSA between 2014-2019 were used to train a hierarchical machine learning classifier to predict geographical origin for 38 countries. Highest classification accuracy was achieved at the continental level followed by the sub-regional and country levels (macro F1: 0.954, 0.718, 0.661 respectively). Longitudinal analysis and validation with publicly accessible international samples indicated that predictions were robust to prospective external datasets. This hierarchical machine learning framework provides granular geographical source prediction directly from sequencing reads in ~3.5 minutes per sample, facilitating rapid outbreak resolution.

: Genomics, combined with population mobility data, used to map importation and spatial spread of SARS-CoV-2 in high-income countries has enabled the implementation of local control measures. Here, to track the spread of SARS-CoV-2 lineages in Bangladesh at the national level, we analysed outbreak trajectory and variant emergence using genomics, Facebook ‘Data for Good’ and data from three mobile phone operators. We sequenced the complete genomes of 67 SARS-CoV-2 samples (collected by the IEDCR in Bangladesh between March and July 2020) and combined these data with 324 publicly available Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) SARS-CoV-2 genomes from Bangladesh at that time. We found that most (85%) of the sequenced isolates were Pango lineage B.1.1.25 (58%), B.1.1 (19%) or B.1.36 (8%) in early-mid 2020. Bayesian time-scaled phylogenetic analysis predicted that SARS-CoV-2 first emerged during mid-February in Bangladesh, from abroad, with the first case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) reported on 8 March 2020. At the end of March 2020, three discrete lineages expanded and spread clonally across Bangladesh. The shifting pattern of viral diversity in Bangladesh, combined with the mobility data, revealed that the mass migration of people from cities to rural areas at the end of March, followed by frequent travel between Dhaka (the capital of Bangladesh) and the rest of the country, disseminated three dominant viral lineages. Further analysis of an additional 85 genomes (November 2020 to April 2021) found that importation of variant of concern Beta (B.1.351) had occurred and that Beta had become dominant in Dhaka. Our interpretation that population mobility out of Dhaka, and travel from urban hotspots to rural areas, disseminated lineages in Bangladesh in the first wave continues to inform government policies to control national case numbers by limiting within-country travel.

Please contact Taya ( if you would like to meet with Lauren after her talk. For more information on what her lab does see Here's a recent blog post on the Bangladesh study outcomes too: 

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 95462461686

Apr 27 - Dr Joaquin Prada University of Surrey) - Mathematical Modelling of Infectious diseases in a “COVID World”

poster for Joaquin Prada Seminar

Dr Joaquin Prada, from the University of Surrey ( will be giving a hybrid seminar on Wednesday 27th April at 1pm in the Lecture Theatre 1, Graham Kerr Building and on zoom:

Meeting ID: 976 1084 4440

Passcode: 445353


Title: Mathematical modelling of infectious diseases in a “COVID world”

Abstract: Long before COVID brought mathematical models to the forefront of news sites worldwide, modelling was used extensively to inform policy for animal and human health. In this talk, I will cover how can we better inform sustainable policies using mathematical modelling, with examples on zoonotic diseases from my research group, such as Echinococcosis and Rabies.

Looking forward to seeing some of you in person and others online.
For further details, please contact Poppy Lamberton

May 11 - Richard Davy (Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre, Norway) - Unlocking the latest developments in climate data for ecological applications

Poster for Richard Davy

Title: "Unlocking the latest developments in climate data for ecological applications"


Abstract: Thanks to large investments in climate science we have seen a huge improvement in our understanding of climate processes and climate change. This has led to much more accurate reconstructions of historical climate as well as more detailed projections of future climate scenarios. However, there is still a mis-match between the spatial scales simulated by climate models (typically 20-30km) and the much higher resolution data needs of researchers working on the effects of climate change on other spheres like the biosphere and human health. In response to this need for high resolution data many groups have used either statistical or dynamical downscaling methods to create high-resolution data products (e.g. WorldClim, TerraClimate, etc.). However, none of these publicly-available products account for the uncertainty either in the climate data or the downscaling procedure. This often leads to over-confidence of users of these products in the reliability of these datasets. In response to this gap, we developed a new R-package, KrigR, for acquiring and statistical downscaling of climate data that takes into account all sources of uncertainty. We demonstrate how this uncertainty can explain a lot of the differences seen amongst the various high-resolution climate datasets and how it can be applied to climate projections to projections of future climate scenarios at high spatial resolution (1km).

Please contact Debbie ( if you would like to meet with Richard after his talk. For more information on what his lab does see:

Join Zoom Meeting: 

Meeting ID: 988 7448 8251

Passcode: 187291

Jun 01 - Cory T Williams (Colorado State University) - Phenology of an Arctic hibernator: circannual timing mechanisms and effects of climate change

Advertisement for Cory T Williams seminarIBAHCM External Seminar Series – 1st June 3-4 pm – Dr. Cory T Williams 

Title: Phenology of an Arctic hibernator: circannual timing mechanisms and effects of climate change 

Abstract: Climate warming is transforming ecological dynamics across the Arctic, leading to altered hydrological cycles, advances in spring timing, range expansions, and temporal changes in plant-herbivore interactions. Our multi-decadal study near Toolik Field Station in northern Alaska reveals that climate change is affecting the freeze-thaw cycle of the soil’s active layer and this is altering hibernation physiology and phenology of the arctic ground squirrel, a key component of northern terrestrial food webs. Further, our prior studies using captive arctic ground squirrels reveal dynamic changes in key seasonal neuroendocrine and neural circuitry of the pars tuberalis and hypothalamus during hibernation and suggests spring timing is dependent on thyroid hormone dependent activation of the reproductive axis. In the future, we plan to combine our whole-organism studies of physiology and behavior with genome-based technologies for investigating the cellular and genetic basis of adaptation to climate change.

If you would like to meet Dr. Williams after the talk, Please let us know!! 

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 956 4335 4264

Passcode: 784604

Jun 08 - Prof Lauren Chapman (McGill University) - Hypoxia and a Warming World: Response of Fishes to Environmental Stressors in African Inland Waters

IBAHCM External Seminar Series – 8th June 1-2 pm – Professor Lauren Chapman (McGill University, Canada)

Picture of Prof Lauren Chapman, McGill UniversityWe are delighted to welcome Professor Lauren Chapman this Wednesday, June 08 at 1PM as part of the IBAHCM Seminar Series. Professor Chapman is an expert in aquatic ecology and conservation based at McGill University. Professor Chapman has an interdisciplinary research lab that integrates physiological and morphological measures of fishes with ecology and evolution to understand the impact of environmental stressors.

Title: "Hypoxia and a Warming World: Response of Fishes to Environmental Stressors in African Inland Waters"

Zoom Link

Meeting ID: 984 1538 9545

Passcode: 20220608

Host: Mar Pineda


Abstract: Freshwater organisms face multiple threats associated with habitat degradation, pollution, and eutrophication, in addition to overharvesting and species invasions. Furthermore, there is mounting evidence that freshwaters are highly sensitive to climate change. In this talk, I will provide an overview of environmental change in inland waters of the Lake Victoria Basin Ecoregion of East Africa with a focus on climate change, eutrophication, and land use. Case studies of fishes in the Lake Victoria basin and swamp-river systems of Western Uganda will be used to explore potential effects of these stressors on morpho-physiological, performance, and fitness-related traits.