University of St Andrews
 
 

The School of Biology at the University of St Andrews is one of the leading departments of Biology in the UK.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) Biology at St Andrews was rated top in Scotland and second in the UK for Research Impact, with 84% of research judged as world leading or internationally excellent.

Over 70 academic staff deliver the highest quality of teaching and research within diverse fields of Biology, providing a unique and supportive environment for scholarship amid a beautiful setting for university life.


 

Events

  • Marine microplastics
    speaker: Dr Erik van Sebille (Imperial)

    building: SOI
    room: LT
    see also: additional details
    host/contact: Prof Andrew Brierley

    refID: 1832

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  • CBD Seminar: Understanding speech and language: from genes to bats and beyond
    speaker: Sonja Vernes (Max Planck Institute for Psychlinguistics)

    building: Dyers Brae
    room: Seminar Room
    see also: additional details
    host/contact: ecg5@st-andrews.ac.uk

    The capacity for speech and language is a fundamental trait of humankind, and is of intense interest across diverse fields including linguistics, anthropology, neuroscience and molecular and evolutionary biology. I will present recent work from my research program using diverse, complementary approaches to study the genetic underpinnings of speech and language including; clinical studies that investigate the genetic causes of speech and language disorders; molecular studies that demonstrate how genes influence neuronal development and function; and work in animal models linking gene function to behaviours relevant for spoken language.


    refID: 1851

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  • CBD Seminar: Sex differences in the effect of diet on survival in stickleback fish
    speaker: Craig Walling (The University of Edinburgh)

    building: Dyers Brae
    room: Seminar Room
    see also: additional details
    host/contact: ecg5@st-andrews.ac.uk

    Dietary restriction is renowned as the most consistent environmental intervention to extend lifespan and delay ageing. Typically this effect is thought to result from a reduction in the availability of calories and a subsequent switch from investment in reproduction to investment in survival under conditions of poor resource availability. However, recent work has questioned the generality of the effect of DR, demonstrating a stronger effect in laboratory adapted than non-adapted populations and a stronger effect in females than males. In addition the role of calories has been questioned, with experiments using a broader range of diets suggesting variation in the ratio of macronutrients is more important in determining lifespan, with high protein diets resulting in lower lifespan. I will present early results from an investigation of the role of calories and macronutrient ratio in determining survival and reproduction in a wild derived population of freshwater fish, the stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus. In this study, we reared fish on one of 15 diet treatments varying in both protein to lipid ratio (P:L) and availability to allow separation of the effects of macronutrients and calories. Results suggest that P:L is more important in determining survival and reproduction than calories. In general males and females invested more in reproduction with increasing protein ingestion, but there was variation between traits and the amount of lipid ingested was also important for female reproduction.  In addition, there appears to be a sex difference in the effect of diet on lifespan. Males reared on high P:L diets suffered higher mortality than those reared on lower P:L, but this does not appear to be true for females. I will discuss these results in the light of recent work assessing the importance of calories and macronutrients in determining survival and reproduction and the evolutionary explanation for the existence of sex differences in the effect of DR.


    refID: 1848

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  • CBD Seminar: Conflicts between biodiversity conservation and human livelihoods: an interdisciplinary approach
    speaker: Nils Bunnfield (Stirling University )

    building: Dyers Brae
    room: Seminar Room
    see also: additional details
    host/contact: ecg5@st-andrews.ac.uk

    Conflicts between human livelihoods and biodiversity conservation are increasing in scale and intensity and have been shown to be damaging for both biodiversity and humans. Managing a specific natural resource often results in conflict between those stakeholders focussing on improving livelihoods and food security and those focussed on biodiversity conversation. Uncertainty, for example from climate change, decreases food security, puts further pressure on biodiversity and exacerbates conflicts. I will present first results towards developing a novel model that integrates game theory and social-ecological modelling to develop new approaches to manage conservation conflicts. The project has importance for society at large because ecosystems and their services are central to human wellbeing and unlocking these conflicts will provide great potential for a more sustainable future.


    refID: 1841

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  • CBD Seminar: How did the butterfly get its colours? The genetic control of colour and pattern diversity in Heliconius butterflies
    speaker: Nicola Nadeau (The University of Sheffield)

    building: Dyers Brae
    room: Seminar Room
    see also: additional details
    host/contact: ecg5@st-andrews.ac.uk

    Butterfly wing patterns are a striking example of biological diversity.The neotropical Heliconius butterflies in particular have extensive within and between species diversity in their wing colour patterns. Some of this diversity is due to variation at the gene cortex, which has repeatedly been targeted by natural selection, both to produce mimetic colour pattern resemblances within Heliconius and remarkably to shift camouflage in the peppered moth. I will also talk about ongoing work in my lab to identify genes controlling iridescent structural colour.


    refID: 1849

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  • CBD Seminar: TBA
    speaker: Amanda Bretman (University of Leeds )

    building: Dyers Brae
    room: Seminar Room
    see also: additional details
    host/contact: ecg5@st-andrews.ac.uk

    refID: 1850

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Opportunities