This year marked the 6th in our quest for the evolutionary origin and introgressive spread of a sexually selected syndrome in wall lizards. It marked a return to central Italy to fill in the remaining gaps in the map tracing the origins of this phenotype. What has been revealed so far is an intricate history of isolation, evolution, and conquest through interbreeding. Read more about the background to the Italian drama and the fieldwork behind it...
As if it was not enough that Hannah's PhD assessors gave her a clean pass for her thesis on sexual selection and hybridization in wall lizards, she also received the price for Outstanding Performance from the School of Biological Sciences at UTas! Unfortunately, Hannah could not be there to receive the prize in person as she is already off for new adventures, this time learning how to catch guppies. We are not sure what she will do with the prize money, but we hear that cocktails are cheap in Trinidad...
We are looking for a postdoc who wants to work on developmental bias and its evolutionary implications. More information on the position and how to apply can be found here.
A series of recent papers (Halliwell et al. 2017, Halliwell et al. 2017, Botterill-James et al. 2017) show how good places to live shapes family life in Egernia lizards. Our research – headed by Geoff and his students Ben and Tom – have revealed that the distribution of crevice sites influence group size, polygyny, and the opportunity for sexual selection. This also affects the offspring, because the distribution of adults determine the costs and benefits of dispersal. Read more...
We are very happy to welcome Mara Ruiz Miñano and Théo Ducos to the group. Mara is a new PhD student at the University of Tasmania, supervised by Geoff and Tobias. Mara will join our research project on the causes and consequences of hybridization in wall lizards. This means she will split her time between Lund and Tasmania, with a fair bit in between catching lizards in Italy. Théo will also be working on wall lizards for his MSc project, which continues our collaboration with Patrizia D'Ettorre at the University of Paris 13.
Hannah's thesis is a detailed study of the causes and consequences of sexual selection during secondary contact in wall lizards. Two of the chapters are published - in Ecology Letters and Functional Ecology - and the other two will hopefully be accepted shortly. Hannah is formally a University of Tasmania student so she cannot look forward to a public defense but we hope the two examiners will like what they read. We certainly did! Many congratulations, Hannah!
The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis webpage is now up and running. In addition to keeping you up to date with the research funded by our grant, the blogs, visual and audio are useful resources for those interested in the relationships between development, ecology, and evolution.
Please also check out Geoff’s and Erik’s webpage at the University of Tasmania, which has beautiful photos and information on our collaborative projects on skinks and wallies.
As pointed out by Scott Gilbert, the environment is a “normal agent of development”. But how do organisms evolve to integrate features of the environment into their development? And how does that affect their ability to evolve further? These are some of the questions that Alfredo will address in his research, which is a close collaboration with computer scientist Richard Watson at the University of Southampton. We are very excited to have Alfredo here on what promises to be an outstanding project! Read more...
A new study by Nathalie Feiner brings a fresh perspective on the famous adaptive radiation of Anolis lizards. The paper, published this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, reveals that speciation events are accompanied by accumulation of DNA sequences that can copy and paste themselves within the genome. Such transposable elements (TEs), popularly referred to as jumping genes, have long been suspected to contribute to evolutionary diversification. Read more...
In September Antonio participated in the Loci of Evolution meta-analysis workshop. The aim of the workshop was to brainstorm ideas for the use and improvement of Gephebase - a database created by Arnaud Martin (George Washington University) and Virginie Orgogozo (Institut Jacques Monod). Read more...
The World Congress of Herpetology (WCH) is held every four years, and this time it took place close to Hangzhou, in China, from August 15-20, 2016. Yang and Nathalie participated in the congress and Tobias was on the scientific committee. Read more...
Our new paper in Molecular Ecology makes use of 21 introductions of wall lizards into England to show how founder history affects the loss of genetic diversity. We also show that early embryonic mortality is very high in non-native populations compared to native ones. Read more...
- Niche construction and conceptual change in evolutionary biology. Br J Philos Sci, in press
- Female reproductive investment in response to male phenotype in wall lizards and its implications for introgression. Biol J Linn Soc, in press
- Habitat saturation promotes delayed dispersal in a social reptile. Behav Ecol 2017
- A test of Darwin’s “lop-eared rabbit” hypothesis. J Evol Biol 2016 29:2102-2110
- Accumulation of transposable elements in Hox gene clusters during adaptive radiation of Anolis lizards. Proc R Soc Lond B 2016 283:20161555
- Resource distribution mediates social and mating behavior in a family living lizard. Behav Ecol 2016 28:145-153
- Effects of low-oxygen conditions on embryo growth in the painted turtle, Chrysemys picta. Integr Zool 2016
- Experimental hybrid zones reveal causes and targets of sexual selection upon secondary contact. Funct Ecol 2016
- Habitat structure influences parent-offspring association in a social lizard. Front Ecol Evol 2016 4:96
- Does early-life diet affect longevity? A meta-analysis across experimental studies. Biol Lett 2016 12:20160291
- Loss of genetic diversity and increased embryonic mortality in non-native lizard populations. Mol Ecol 2016 325:390-395
- Low incubation Temperature induces DNA hypo-methylation in lizard brains. J Exp Zool 2016 325:390-395
- Male behaviour drives assortative reproduction during the initial stage of secondary contact in lizards. J Evol Biol 2016 29:1003-1015