School of Biology Internal Newsletter: 24 March, 2017
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School of Biology University of St Andrews
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Staff Publications

All staff publications are drawn from entries into the PURE research database, so if you need help with PURE, please do get in touch (dp61, x3626) Donna
A comparative study of how British tits encode predator threat in their mobbing calls
Bayesian inference supports the host selection hypothesis in explaining adaptive host specificity by European bitterling
Smith, C. (2017) Oecologia. 183(2), p. 379-389. DOI: 10.1007/s00442-016-3780-5
Ciproxifan, a H3 receptor inverse agonist, reversibly inhibits human monoamine oxidase A and B
Hagenow, S., Stasiak, A., Ramsay, R. R. & Stark, H. (2017) Scientific Reports. 7: 40541. DOI: 10.1038/srep40541
Estimates of local biodiversity change over time stand up to scrutiny
Vellend, M., Dornelas, M., Baeten, L., Beauséjour, R., Brown, C. D., De Frenne, P., Elmendorf, S. C., Gotelli, N. J., Moyes, F., Myers-Smith, I. H., Magurran, A. E., McGill, B. J., Shimadzu, H. & Sievers, C. (2017) Ecology. 98(2), p. 583-590. DOI: 10.1002/ecy.1660
Translational biology of nematode effectors. Or, to put it another way, functional analysis of effectors – what’s the point?
Mantelin, S., Thorpe, P. & Jones, J. (2017) Nematology. 19(3), p. 251-261. DOI: 10.1163/15685411-00003048
True’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus) in Macaronesia
Aguilar de Soto, N. , Martín, V. , Silva, M. , Edler, R. , Reyes, C. , Carrillo, M. , Schiavi, A. , Morales, T. , García-Ovide, B. , Sanchez-Mora, A. , Garcia-Tavero, N. , Steiner, L. , Scheer, M. , Gockel, R. , Walker, D. , Villa, E. , Szlama, P. , Eriksson, I. K. , Tejedor, M. , Perez-Gil, M. Quaresma, J., Bachara, W. & Carroll, E. (2017) PeerJ. 5: e3059. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3059

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Published Article in Hakai Magazine

There is this new article in Hakai Magazine which includes a recent paper on the social structure of Icelandic killer whales by Sarah Taveres and team. You can read the article here in which Sarah was interviewed and fetures the University of St Andrews.
Paper citation: Sara B. Tavares, Filipa I.P. Samarra, Patrick J.O. Miller; A multilevel society of herring-eating killer whales indicates adaptation to prey characteristics. Behav Ecol 2016 arw179. doi: 10.1093/beheco/arw179.

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Biology Equality and Diversity Committee

CBD Seminar series:
Dr Linda Holland, University of California, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
The origins of biodiversity: evolution and development”
Friday 7 April, 1.00pm, Bute Lecture Theatre D
Emeritus Professor and recipient of the prestigious Kowalevsky Medal for joint work         with her husband for distinguished achievements in evolutionary developmental biology and comparative zoology.
BSRC Seminar series:
Dr Clare Baker, Dept. of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge
“Electroreceptor development, physiology and evolution: insights from paddlefish”
Wednesday 19 April, 1.00pm, BMS Lecture Theatre
Director of Studies for Natural Sciences at Peterhouse College and researcher in the development and evolution of the vertebrate sensory nervous system.
These seminars are being hosted by Ildiko Somorjai. If you would like more information or to meet the speakers, please get in touch with Ildiko at



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CBD Seminar: No fly is an island: How Drosophila respond to socio-sexual environments

Tuesday 28 March
1.00pm - 2.00pm
Dyers Brae Seminar room
Amanda Bretman (University of Leeds)
'How Drosophila respond to socio-sexual environments'
We all modify our behaviour in different social situations to adapt, fit in or to become more competitive. Fruit flies also have complex social lives, aggregating independently of any resources, engaging in social learning, forming social networks and having a genetic propensity for different types of social environments. Using Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies as a model, we can investigate both the fitness consequences of changes of social environment and the mechanisms by which individuals can respond to such changes.
All Welcome!

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The Widlife and Conservation Society seminar


The Widlife and Conservation Society are organising a seminar on Thursday 30 March at 7.00pm in School 2 of St Salvador's Quad.

We have invited 4 guest speakers from around Scotland to give their take on where Global Conservation will be in 50 years' time. 
One of our guest speakers will include Professor Anne Magurran.
Professor Anne Magurran (School Of Biology, University of St Andrews)
‘How is biodiversity changing, and why does this matter?’
The world’s biodiversity is under unprecedented threat. I will argue that we need to take account of how biodiversity is changing over both space and time to properly understand the issues. Recent analyses show that the composition of ecological communities is changing at rates that exceed historical baselines. I will consider the consequences of this elevated temporal turnover for conservation policy.
You can find more information on the Facebook Event 

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The Royal Society of Edinburgh funding opportunities


  • Visit by the Royal Society of Edinburgh about funding opportunities: next Tuesday 28th March 2017
If you are considering, or think you may consider, applying for an RSE fellowship or funding, you may want to attend next Tuesday's Royal Society of Edinburgh event in Parliament Hall:
The Royal Society of Edinburgh (Anne Fraser, Awards Manager) will be coming to St Andrews to give a presentation on the funding opportunities available from the RSE. 
Calls have deadlines throughout the year.
RSE Fellows from St Andrews will also attend the event, which will be held on Tuesday 28 March 2017, and the venue is Parliament Hall.
The agenda for this event is as follows:
10:00      Coffee & Welcome
10:30      RSE research funding schemes
11:30      Question & Answer session
12:00      Panel – St Andrews RSE Fellows
Please register your interest with Ann McDonald by emailing or by telephone on 01334 462173 (after 1pm).
  • RSE Enterprise Fellowships: Call for Applications now OPEN
RSE Enterprise Fellowships support promising science and technology researchers to become successful entrepreneurs. Since 1997, over 200 individuals have benefitted from this highly prestigious programme which is supported in this round by Scottish Enterprise, BBSRCSTFC and QuantIC.      
RSE Enterprise Fellows are funded for a year; allowing them to focus solely on refining their business proposal and are supported by the most cutting edge business training available in the UK. The Fellowships are mentored by Fellows of the RSE and successful entrepreneurs in the business community and able to access up to £10K development funding.
For more information, or any queries, please contact either Anne Fraser, RSE Awards Manager or Hannah Robertson or find out more by visiting the RSE website

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Teaching Development Fund

Applications are now invited for the semester two call of the Teaching Development Fund.
In the past, projects have focussed on the work which have generally had a positive impact on learning and teaching and these are still warmly welcomed. However, the Proctor would also encourage any projects which relate to topics which are currently of particular interest across the HE sector:
  • Enterprise and entrepreneurship (including social entrepreneurship)
  • Sustainability in the curriculum
  • Use of evidence to support learning and teaching enhancement
For further guidance on the type of projects we are interested in, please see two documents from The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).
The deadline for applications is Friday 31 March
Further information can be found on the poster and also on the Learning and teaching webpage
The Proctor’s Office contact for the Teaching Development Fund is now Katja Schubert who can be contacted via the <deansoffice> email account or on extension 3230.

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Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Research Fund

This competitive scheme provides small-scale funding for high-quality research projects in this area. The attached guidance document and application form provide further information about the scope of the scheme and how to apply. 
The Principal, Professor Sally Mapstone, is delighted to sponsor this initiative. Professor Mapstone commented:
“The Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Research Fund establishes a connection between our capacity for excellent research and our values of equality, diversity and inclusion. It is, moreover, a signal of our commitment to use our intellectual resources to develop new insights on how to advance equality. Such insights will enable our values to shape equality practices and processes in St Andrews and beyond. I encourage thoughtful applications to the fund, and I look forward to seeing the influential contributions to theory and practice that will follow.”
You will find that the attached guidance document is quite comprehensive, but should you have any questions about the scheme then please feel free to contact me.
Completed applications should be sent to me at

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The University of St Andrews KE & Impact Fund 2016/17

Open to St Andrews’ academic staff, the fund targets projects based on research conducted (solely or jointly) at the University which enhances the institution’s achieved impact.
The fund prioritises activities that would not be eligible or covered by follow-on grant funding, RCUK Impact Accelerator Accounts or other similar sources of funding. Calls are open to all disciplines and interdisciplinary projects are welcomed.
The fund will be split between two types of awards:
  • Main (between £1,500 and £20,000) - deadline 14 April 2017
  • Small (between £500 and £1,500) - can be submitted at any time and decisions will be communicated at 6-8 week intervals
For guidance and application form visit us here
The types of projects which could be funded included:
  • Events, exhibits, websites which engage the general public with research-based knowledge and improve understanding
  • Workshops, conferences and networking events specifically targeted at external organisations and users
  • Provision of training or expertise which will benefit practitioners or other non-academics
  • Practical applications of research to improve the environment, reduce pollution, recycle waste products, or improve sustainability, health, quality of life, understanding of health issues, deliver new treatments or therapies, affect clinical practice or guidelines, etc. 
  • Engagement with intermediary groups, such as NGOs, policy makers or local government which will influence subsequent policy and practice
  • Strategic engagements with industry/business/SMEs or other external organisations
  • Secondments and placements to work with an external organisation (for self/graduate student or post-doctoral student). Please note internal salary time/costs will not be eligible. 
  • Early stage commercialisation, proof of concept, development of prototypes
  • Commercialisation and route to market
Completed forms should be sent to If you would like to discuss any aspects of the impact fund with us, please email or phone:
Laura Bates & Jane Winn
Research Impact Officers
Research Policy Office
Tel: 01334 46 4141

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€50 Million Additional ERC Funding to Mark 10th Anniversary

  • ERC Advanced Grant Information and Proposal Writing Events
The UK Research Office, in partnership with SOAS and Manchester, is holding two events for researchers who are interested in applying for the 2017 ERC Advanced Grants call.
The 2017 ERC Advanced Grants call is expected to open on 16 May 2017 and close on 31 August 2017. The scheme is designed to support Principal Investigators (PIs) who are already established leaders in their field with a recognised track record of research achievements.
Further information and registration are available via the links above and places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • ERC Proof of Concept Grant Information and Proposal Writing Event
The UK Research Office, in partnership with SOAS, is holding an event for PIs of ERC grants who are interested in applying to the 2017 and 2018 ERC Proof of Concept Grant calls.
The 2017 Proof of Concept Grant call has a forthcoming deadline on 5 September 2017. This type of grant aims to maximise the value of the excellent research that the ERC funds by funding further work (i.e. activities which were not scheduled to be funded by the original ERC frontier research grant) to verify the innovation potential of ideas arising from ERC funded projects. Proof of Concept Grants are therefore only on offer to Principal Investigators whose proposals draw substantially on their existing ERC-funded research.

Further information and registration are available via the link above, with places being allocated on a first-come first-served basis. 

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Masters by Research opportunity in the School of Management

"Dealing with gender-oriented (micro-)aggression: Intervention as a leadership practice"
This is an opportunity to work on a study that examines situations of gender-oriented (micro-) aggression encountered by students, how they may feel better empowered to challenge and disrupt sexist or threatening behaviour in such situations, and how such ‘leadership in the moment’ can be enabled and supported. This will be qualitative study, and would suit a student who has (or expects to receive in June 2017) a first-class or good 2(i) degree that includes management (single or joint honours) with a strong qualitative research dissertation. Prior experience and/or engagement in gender issues and/or relevant student committees would also be an advantage.
Funding for the project includes fees for a one-year research degree (Master of Studies by Research), a bursary towards living expenses of £4000 and research expenses of up to £500.
The project will be under the academic leadership of Professor Paul Hibbert and Professor Ruth Woodfield, but it will also involve collaboration with Dr Penny Turnbull (Student Services) and potentially Police Scotland. To express an interest in this opportunity, please send the following to Professor Paul Hibbert ( by the 31st March 2017:
·        Your CV
·        A statement of up to 500 words explaining why you are interested to work on this   study.
·        The name and contact details of a St Andrews academic referee.
We will confirm the award of the funding by the end of April 2017.

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UK-Israel SYNERGY Programme

The British Council and the UK Science and Innovation Network (SIN) in Israel are pleased to invite proposals to the UK-Israel SYNERGY Programme.
The Programme aims to strengthen academic collaboration between the UK and Israel in the following priority sectors: Nanoscience, Neuroscience, Agri Science, Waters Science, Cyber and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). The scheme aims to support researchers or research groups looking to hold a two day academic meeting (symposium/workshop) as a seed for future UK-Israel academic collaboration in the fields above mentioned.
Grants vary from £4,500 to £8,500, depending on the size of the event and the required amount of co-funding.
For additional information please see the attached guidelines.
The deadline for applications is 06/04/2017, and submissions are done via an online form. Academic meetings are expected to take place from July 2017-September 2018.
For any inquiry you may have, please feel free to contact us via

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University Personal Development: Sessions that might be of interest

This is a selection of the many sessions and workshops CAPOD is offering over the next few weeks. If you would like to see CAPOD's full listing through September 2017, by date or category, you need only go to the Personal Development Management System (PDMS) web site.
Monday 27 March
2.00pm - 5.00pm
C5 Seminar Room, Bute Building
This workshop introduces researchers to the fundamentals of communicating science research via visual means and is designed for individuals who wish to understand how good, basic design can enhance the quality of their poster presentations.
Many science journals now require the submission of a graphical abstract along with submission of a manuscript. This workshop will look at how to go about designing a graphical abstract on your research findings.
Wednesday 29 March
6.00pm - 7.00pm
Small Rehearsal Room, Students' Association
Having a friend or family member with anxiety or knowing someone who suffers from panic attacks can be difficult when you don't know how to help, or the right things to say. Come along to this relaxed session to find out how to help someone with anxiety, things you may need to avoid, and how to look after yourself if you get stressed or worried.
Thursday 13 April, 5.00pm - 6.00pm, Large Rehearsal Room, Student's Association
Tuesday 4 April
9.00am - 12.00pm

C5 Seminar Room, Bute Building
A hands-on practical workshop and surgery presented by Dr Mhairi Stewar, to inspire confidence in your public engagement communication and develop innovative approaches to communicating your research.
She will consider public engagement (PE) as a pathway to impact and how to design evaluation as proof of impact. Attendees will break into small groups to workshop individual PE plans with facilitation from Mhairi. Those who wish to can arrange to meet with Mhairi at a later date to finish developing and delivering their PE plans.

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Essential upgrades

Essential upgrades to our telephone system are taking place during March.  The upgrade is necessary to allow for future developments of our telephony infrastructure.  The upgrade will affect all University telephone lines (7000+ extensions).
Disruption will be minimised as far as possible.  However, there will be local outages (loss of service), impacting different buildings at different times, and we have been liaising with key staff to identify and minimise any resulting risk. We anticipate that the loss of service for each individual extension will be no more than one hour.
In the majority of cases, the contractor will carry out all of the upgrades after 5.30pm.  However, for buildings which have significant evening activity, we shall be carrying out the upgrade at a mutually convenient time.
Please see our web page for further details of the upgrade:  A few key points to note:
  • A very short outage will be arranged out of hours for the University switchboard and will not impact University business.
  • A small number of University lifts cannot be used, however the majority can (including all lifts in residences).  The lifts which cannot be used will have signage and a physical barrier in place (see attached schedule).
  • Call forwarding from a University extension to a mobile phone or Voicemail  will not work during this time.
  • Extensions in Halls of Residence, including student bedrooms, will be affected.
  • Intruder or fire alarms do not run on our telephony exchange and will not be affected.
  • Access Control will not be affected.
  • 999 calls cannot be made from a university telephone line during this time.  If the emergency services are required, a call should be made from a mobile telephone.
IT Services, Butts Wynd
University of St Andrews
Tel:  01334 463333


Library acquisitions for Biology Teaching

A reminder that the current budget year runs until the end of July 2017, so if you want to order teaching materials from the library, please get in touch with Donna (dp61) or directly with Vicki Cormie, Biology's Academic Liaison Librarian (vhc1).
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The fifth Biology Antarctic Expedition

The fifth Biology Antarctic Expedition with St Andrews students is underway. You can read about the students’ adventures in southern Argentina and Antarctica here
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Accommodation wanted

Braimoh Bukola, a PhD student from the University of Cape Town will be spending a month’s internship with Will Creswell’s group from 31 March to 28 April 1017 and she is looking for accommodation in St Andrews for that month. Please contact Will Cresswell if you can help.
Hello, my name is Tess and I'm currently a master student Molecular Life Sciences in Wageningen (The Netherlands). In about two months I will come to St Andrews for my internship and I'll be staying from the 22 May to the 8 December. For that period I'm looking for a place to live. I'm a tidy person that enjoys having dinner with friends. I also like to listen to music and to visit concerts and festivals. If you can help me in my search for an accommodation, please let me know! You can contact me by sending an e-mail to

I am a female postgraduate student who is looking for a room for the next academic year, starting from September, when I will start my PhD. I do not currently live in St Andrews (or anywhere near -I am still in Southwest England), so it would need to be someone who either lives there or is close enough to do viewings. I am clean, tidy, sociable, but I do need someone who understands I work during the day. No sex or smoker/non-smoker preferences. My budget is between £350 pm without bills or £450 pm with. I have a bike, so I can do accommodation that is not outside St Andrews. If interested, please email me at this address: .



Public Engagement News

Public Engagement Drop-ins
Would you like to do some outreach, but are not sure how to translate your research into appropriate public engagement material? Do you want to discuss how you can get the most impact out of your research? If so, please drop in to one of the Biology PE/Impact Surgeries being held for this purpose. 
Tuesday 11 April, 11.00am – 1.00pm, BMS 4.14
Thursday 13 April, 11.00am – 1.00pm, Dyers Brae/Harold Mitchell Tea Room
These are informal affairs (no talks, speeches or presentations!), so just drop in for a few minutes with questions, or have a chat with Mhairi (Head of Public Engagement) and Laura (Research Policy Office) about your ideas. Feel free to bring your lunches if that works best! 


Kinloch Rannoch Primary School Visit

Pupils at Kinloch Rannoch Primary School recently wrote to us to ask their science questions. You can see their letters and questions on Facebook.

Mhairi Stewart is planning to visit the school on Thursday 30 March and she is looking for a couple of volunteers to go with her to deliver some fun science activities. No experience is needed and she can provide all the resources and training. If you have your own activity you would like to bring with you, that can be accommodated too. Transport to and from St Andrews will be provided.
This is the perfect opportunity to try out delivering public engagement if you haven’t before. 


British Science Festival

Deadline for submissions: 9.00am, Monday 27 March
Event dates: Tuesday 5 - Saturday 9 September 2017
The festival is cohosted by the Universities of Brighton and Sussex, with a focus on showcasing cutting-edge science. Anyone can propose an event – researchers, organisations, individuals or academic institutions from all over the UK. Events will be held on campus and in venues across the city and proposals should be aimed at non-specialist adults with a broad interest in science. 
To submit a proposal please fill in the online form or visit the website to find out more.


Three Minute Thesis

An 80,000 word thesis would take 9 hours to read aloud. You have 3 minutes. GO!
The Three Minute Thesis competition (3MT) is back for 2017. Our overall winner will go on to the national semi-finals (video presentation) and receive £500 to design and deliver public engagement of their choosing, with help from CAPOD and our Head of Public Engagement, Mhairi Stewart. There is also the peoples' choice winner who will receive a Kindle Fire HD.
Watch our 2016 finalists, including our 2016 winner, Maneesh Kuruvilla.
The competition is open to any PhD student not yet graduated. The heats are scheduled for Monday 8 May with the public finals on Friday 26 May followed by a wine reception.
Use this form to sign up. Please direct any other queries to


Royal Society of Biology Science Communication Awards 2017

If you are already involved in public engagement, you can apply for the Royal Society of Biology’s Science Communication Awards.
New Researcher Prize worth £750: Masters/PhD/First Year Postdocs
Established Researcher Prize worth £1500: Second Year+ Postdocs/Senior Researchers/Group Leaders
The competition is intended to reward outreach work carried out by young scientists and established researchers to inform, enthuse and engage the public. The Society is looking for researchers who communicate their own work well and who represent their own field strongly in the science communication world.
The deadline for applications is Friday 30 June. Please contact Isabel Brinsden ( with any enquiries.


CAPOD Training

Saturday 8 April, 11.00am – 1.00pm
This lunchtime event is aimed at any student who has an interest in teaching in its broadest sense.  Led by an experienced teacher from the Fife sector, the session aims to introduce students to key strategies for managing any 'classroom' situation, including design of materials and facilitating group work.  The session will end with some informal networking over lunch (included).
The workshop will help students better understand the social context of Fife schools, and equip them with basic classroom management skills, tips for designing age-appropriate learning materials and techniques for building rapport, facilitating group work, motivating pupils and giving feedback on performance.
Register with the CAPOD online booking system.
Wednesday 24 May, 12.00pm – 2.00pm

Two-hour lunchtime panel session with a buffet lunch and informal networking for postdocs, research staff and early career academics.
Participants will hear from a panel of academics with extensive experience of working with broadcast media. The panelists cover a breadth of experiences from writing press releases to taking part in radio and TV interviews to being involved in filming TV programmes. They will discuss their experiences of these activities, the priorities of broadcast media and advice they have for researchers who would like to work with broadcast media in the future. There will be an open Q&A session and the opportunity to talk with the panelists over lunch.
Register with the CAPOD online booking system.
Wednesday 7 June, 12.00pm – 2.00pm
Two-hour lunchtime panel session with a buffet lunch and informal networking for postdocs, research staff and early career academics.
Participants will hear from a panel of experts with extensive experience of schools outreach events and festivals. The panelists will discuss different projects they have been involved in, how they got involved with schools outreach events and festivals, what benefits they have gained. There will be an open Q&A session and the opportunity to talk with the panelists over lunch.
Register with the CAPOD online booking system.
If you would like to advertise a public engagement event, please contact Katrina Falkenberg ( by Tuesday COB.



School Meetings (24/03/17 to 23/06/17)

Biology Equality and Diversity Committee
BMS: room 4.14, 9:15 AM, 27 Mar 2017

Management Group
BMS: room 4.14, 10:00 AM, 19 Apr 2017

Biology Equality and Diversity Committee
SOI: room Sally Connelly Hardie seminar room, 9:15 AM, 15 May 2017

Management Group
BMS: room 4.14, 11:00 AM, 16 May 2017

BSRC Health and Safety Meeting
BSRC: room Annexe meeting room, 2:00 PM, 23 May 2017

Management Group
BMS: room 4.14, 10:00 AM, 14 Jun 2017

Biology Equality and Diversity Committee
Harold Mitchell: room Dyers Brae seminar room, 9:15 AM, 19 Jun 2017



Current vacancies tagged for 'School of Biology' from the University Vacancies Feed are listed below:


Seminars and Events (24/03/17 to 24/04/17)

CBD Seminar: No fly is an island: How Drosophila respond to socio-sexual environments
Amanda Bretman (University of Leeds ) Dyers Brae: Seminar Room, 1:00 PM, 28 Mar 2017 [...]

Wildlife Society Global Conservation Seminar: Where Will Global Conservation be in 50 Years?
(St Andrews Wildlife Conservation Society) Other: School 2, St Salvator's Quad, 7:00 PM, 30 Mar 2017 [...]

SOI seminar: Skilful predictions of the winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)
Dr Nick Dunstone (Met Office) Bute: Lecture theatre D, 1:00 PM, 06 Apr 2017 [...]

CBD Seminar: The origins of biodiversity: evolution and development
Linda Holland (University of California, Scripps Institution of Oceanography) Bute: Lecture Theatre D, 1:00 PM, 07 Apr 2017 [...]

Randomness as a computational strategy for low-rank approximations. - Ben Erichson , CREEM
Ben Erichson (CREEM) The Observatory: Seminar Room, 2:00 PM, 12 Apr 2017

Petra Neveceralova (Charles University, Prague) BMS: , 1:00 PM, 13 Apr 2017

BSRC Seminar Series: Electroreceptor development, physiology and evolution: insights from paddlefish
Dr Clare Baker (Dept. of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge) BMS: Lecture Theatre D, 1:00 PM, 19 Apr 2017 [...]
School of Biology University of St Andrews

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