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November 16, 2014
The New Testament was originally written in Greek, and it apparently did not occur to the writers that a visualization of the many (and lengthy) Biblical genealogies would be helpful. They knew a lot about geometry but nothing about infographics.
Given the importance of the New Testament genealogies for the foundation of Christianity (see The role of biblical genealogies in phylogenetics), it is not at all surprising that eventually someone had a go at summarizing them all in one place. However, this did not happen until several centuries later, when the Bible was being translated into Latin. Perhaps this delay had something to do with the biblical prohibition on images.
The first known attempt to draw a biblical pedigree, rather than writing out the relationships as text, also appears to have been the first attempt at a genealogy of any sort. Jean-Baptiste Piggin has been researching this document since 2009, and he has remarkably extensive notes about it at his web site Macro-Typography. Piggin dates the document to sometime in the decades before 427 AD, which is surprisingly early and thus unique in its historical context (Late Antiquity).
Importantly, the pedigree is actually an infographic in the modern sense, in that the figure itself conveys almost all of the information, with the text acting as a supplement. Thus, a single image allows the viewer to grasp the overview (of biblical history in this case), as well as providing access to the details. This is an idea that did not really catch on until the Medieval period, when Latin manuscripts started to use images as pedagogic devices, in addition to their textual descriptions. An obvious example is the so-called Tree of Porphyry in logic, which was first described in words by Porphyry of Tyre in c. 270 AD (Isagoge), sketched by Boëthius c. 520 AD (In Porphyrium Commentariorum), and finally reproduced as an actual tree diagram in Medieval manuscripts (being named arbor Porphyrii by Petrus Hispanus in 1240, in Summulae Logicales).
Sadly, there is no extant copy of this early biblical pedigree, and so we do not know who produced it or exactly when; nor do we have any of the copies made during the following 500 years. We do, however, have 24 complete or partial copies from the period 950-1250, many of them incorporated into Spanish editions of the Bible. Piggin has studied these copies extensively, and tried to reconstruct what he thinks the original document most probably looked like.
Piggin reconstructs the document (shown above), which he calls the Great Stemma, as a single scroll made from papyrus, designed to be unrolled and read from the upper left towards the middle right. All extant copies, however, break the figure up into sections, for inclusion as pages in a parchment manuscript (a codex) typical of the Medieval period.
Reconstruction was not an easy task, given the later modifications, digressions and embellishments, made with each successive hand-drawn copy. In particular, the process of reducing the long scroll to sequential pages apparently introduced many errors; and subsequent modifications degraded the logic of the original intention. Incidentally, embellishments do not improve the communication of information (see Mistaken improvements), and nor necessarily do modifications, since in this case they often created contradictions.
Above is a schematic overview of the reconstructed original scroll, but you can zoom in to all of the details by visiting Piggin's original reconstruction. Each circle represents one person (out of 540), with connecting lines showing their genealogical relationships — marriage, parent-offspring or brotherly (these are inter-mixed). Time is read left to right along the top (Adam is at the top-left), with vertical excursions downwards for lineages that do not lead to Jesus (who is at the middle-right). Note that the pedigree is drawn using nodes and lines, as we still do, but it is not drawn anything like a tree (ie. a "family tree"). Indeed, it is actually a network, since two ancestral lineages converge on Jesus (via Joseph and Mary).
The diagram also has a distinct timeline superimposed, shown as the elements without circles, which attempts to synchronize biblical events with contemporaneous secular history. So, Piggin notes that the Stemma it is "not just a genealogy, but a graphic version of the universal chronicles which attempted in antiquity to cross reference the histories of different civilizations to establish an overview of Middle Eastern and Graeco-Roman history." However, the timeline is not calibrated in any way (ie. time changes are not constant).
Below, I have included pages from some of the extant manuscripts, to show their variety after more than 500 years of scribes making copies.
The above figure is the first page from the Roda Codex, in the Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid) cod.78 (dated 990 AD). This is the start of the genealogy, with Adam at the top-left, and illustrating his family.
The above figure is the third page from an unnamed manuscript in the Pierpont Morgan Library (New York) M.644 (dated 940-945 AD). This one shows Noah and his non-Semite descendants.
The above figure is the final page from an unnamed manuscript in the Plutei collection at the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenzian (Florence) Plut.20.54 (dated 1050 AD). This shows the incarnation of Jesus, at the end of the genealogy, illustrating the confluence of the lineages described by Matthew (at the top) and Luke (at the bottom).
Piggin notes that here may actually have been few early copies of the Stemma, because of the difficulty of transcribing illustrations by hand. That is, it is very difficult to accurately hand-copy a diagram, as opposed to copying text (where only the words matter not their visual style). Indeed, to what extent did the scribes actually understand that they needed a precise copy? Copying complex technical drawings requires careful measurement and layout, and yet some of the copies seem to have been very badly planned. Piggin suggests that "the serious corruption done to the Great Stemma early in its diffusion led to it ultimately being discarded and begun all over again by medieval writers such as Peter of Poitiers." The reference is to the Compendium Historiae in Genealogia Christi by Petrus Pictaviensis (Peter of Poitiers) produced in c.1185 AD, and for which there are many extant copies dated from that time to 1650 AD — he used long rolls for his genealogies.
Finally, Piggin even has a suggestion for a small ancient board game that might have provided inspiration for the form of the infographic (see Board Game). This is important, because there are no known prior models for constructing such a diagram — apart from geometry, no-one had previously produced an image that illustrated non-corporeal ideas.
Footnote: The word stemma referred originally to an ancient Roman genealogy (sometimes displayed in homes), which is roughly how it is used by Piggin. However, these days the word is more commonly used in anthropology to refer to a genealogy of manuscript copies. A genealogy of manuscripts is more properly called a stemma codicum.
November 15, 2014
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We would like to invite abstract submissions for a Symposium on The Evolution of Sex Chromosomes to be held during the next ESEB Congress, Lausanne, 10-14 August 2015 The evolution of sex determination is a major question in evolutionary biology. Until recently, however, our views on sex determination and on the mechanisms driving sex chromosome evolution have been heavily based on data from only a handful of classically studied model organisms (e.g. Mus, Drosophila, Caenorhabditis, Silene), with a focus on the evolutionary consequences of recombination arrest. With the recent advent of the genomic era, this field is now experiencing an empirical renaissance, expanding at an unprecedented pace. Next-generation tools have already led to a flurry of new discoveries. Attention has broadened to non-model organisms, including algae and fungi where sex is determined at the haploid level. Studies on fish, amphibians and reptiles are imposing the view that degeneration is not the ineluctable destiny of sex chromosomes, and that the old dichotomy between genetic and environmental sex determination should be reappraised. Most importantly, the mechanisms of sex determination appear now evolutionarily much more labile than thought just one decade ago. What drives the surprising dynamics of such a fundamental process that, at the end, always leads to the same and simple output, i.e. the production of males and females? With this Symposium, we hope to gather theoreticians and empiricists working on a diversity of systems, and interested in the molecular mechanisms, ultimate causes, and evolutionary consequences of sex chromosome evolution. Our invited speakers are Doris Bachtrog (http://bit.ly/1ENqQ1E) and James Umen (http://bit.ly/1uweDva) Registration to the meeting and abstract submission are processed through the site http://bit.ly/1ENqNTG. The deadline for submission is January 10, 2015. The organizers: Susana Coelho (email@example.com) and Nicolas Perrin (firstname.lastname@example.org). Nicolas Perrin via Gmail
A post-doctoral position is available in the lab of Michel Slotman in the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University (http://bit.ly/1q2xluC). Our lab focuses on the evolutionary and behavioral genetics/genomics of disease transmitting mosquitoes. The post-doc will conduct NIH-funded research into the genomic basis of outdoor feeding preference of the African malaria mosquito An. gambiae, using a pool-seq approach. In addition, the successful candidate will be expected to contribute to ongoing research into the genetic basis of the attraction of An. gambiae to human hosts. The ideal candidate will have a background in population genetics, experience with analyzing next-generation sequencing data, and familiarity with R and Python (or Perl). The position is available for two years with a negotiable start date. To apply please send a cover letter, CV, PDFs of representative publications, and contact information for three references to email@example.com. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the position. The Texas A&M System is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Veterans/Disability Employer committed to diversity. Michel Slotman via Gmail
*Thanks to support from NESCent and donors, student travel awards are now available for The International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health Inaugural Meeting. **To apply see http://bit.ly/1vaNFak * *December 1, 2014 Early registration and abstract deadlineMarch 19-21, 2015 at Arizona State University* March 18, 2015 Pre-meeting for directors of evolutionary medicine programs The International Society for Evolution, Medicine, & Public Health will hold its inaugural meeting March 19-21 in Tempe, Arizona. Early registration and abstract submission are open until December 1st. Early registrants receive a substantial discount, and all fees are refundable until February 15th. This meeting will bring together scientists, scholars, teachers, clinicians, and students in the evolution and medicine community to share ideas and create new connections that will advance the field. This will be the first large open meeting designed to bridge the many different disciplines (e.g. infectious disease, genetics, clinical medicine, veterinary medicine, anthropology, psychology, etc.) where relevant research takes place. Students and clinicians with an interest in the field are especially welcome. The format will include invited speakers, shorter presentations, discussion groups and poster sessions. This meeting is co-sponsored by The Society and the Arizona State University Center for Evolution & Medicine. For full meeting information visit: http://bit.ly/1vaNFak *Pre-meeting for Directors of Evolutionary Medicine Programs, Centers, and Institutes*, and those who are considering organizing such units will be held Wednesday, March 18, 12 pm - 5 pm. Organizers include Randolph Nesse, Gillian Bentley, Daniel Blumstein, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, and Frank Rhle. For information about the pre-meeting visit: http://bit.ly/1vaNFak *Plenary Speakers* *Harvey Fineberg *Institute of Medicine *Stephen Stearns *Yale University *Barbara Natterson-Horowitz *UCLA *Sir Peter Gluckman *University of Auckland *Ruslan Medzhitov *Yale University *Ann Demogines *(Omenn Award Winner) BioFire Diagnostics *Confirmed participants include:* Carl Bergstrom, University of Washington | Sudhir Kumar, Temple University | Daniel Lieberman, Harvard University | Gilbert Omenn, University of Michigan Allen Rodrigo, NESCent | Frank Rhli, University of Zurich | Elizabeth Uhl, University of Georgia | Robert Perlman, University of Chicago | Ajit Varki, UC San Diego | Gillian Bentley, Durham University | Bernard Crespi, Simon Fraser University | David Haig, Harvard University | Andrew Read, Penn State University Mark Schwartz, New York University | Marlene Zuk, University of Minnesota | Cynthia Beall, Case Western University | Charles Nunn, Duke University | Randolph Nesse, Arizona State University | Carlo Maley, UCSF | Athena Aktipis, UCSF | Wenda Trevathan, New Mexico State University | Matthew Keller, University of Colorado, Boulder | Lewis Wolpert, University College London | Joshua Schiffman, University of Utah | Joseph Alcock, University of New Mexico | Kathleen Barnes, Johns Hopkins University | Fabio Zampieri, University of Padua, Italy | Michael Ruse, Florida State University | Detlev Ganten, World Health Summit, Berlin | Grazyna Jasienska, Jagellonian University, Poland | Beverly Strassmann, University of Michigan | Daniel Blumstein, UCLS Mark Flinn, University of Missouri | Koos Boomsma, University of Copenhagen *Sponsor Websites*: The International Society for Evolution, Medicine, & Public Health http://bit.ly/1eXchLd and The Arizona State University Center for Evolution & Medicine http://bit.ly/1mP32pF Randolph Nesse via Gmail
I am looking for a graduate student to work on my NSERC-funded research on the relationship between variation in sexual differentiation and personality. Research in the Hurd lab (aka the Sex and Violence Lab) centres on questions relating to the evolution of genetic, epigenetic and environmental influences on sexual development and their long-term effect on personality (along the lines spelled out in/Trends in Ecology and Evolution/.*29*:581V589 - doi:10.1016/j.tree.2014.07.008 ). The current opening is for a MSc or PhD project investigating social and environmental influences on gene regulation related to sexual differentiation during early life and subsequent life-long, and intergenerational, individual differences in brain and behaviour in a cichlid fish model. Broadly, lab members have interests in neuroscience, behavioural ecology, and/or comparative psychology, with some human personality psychology and behavioural genetics interests as well. Prospective students are expected to have a background including coursework or research experience within these fields, with behavioural ecology, neuroscience and/or genetics of particular value. Opportunities exist to pursue related side-projects related to genetics and epigenetics of sex and personality in human subjects as well. The official application deadline is 15 January 2015 for admission in September 2015, however applications will be reviewed as soon as they are complete. Earlier candidates will also have an advantage in competing for the usual departmental and University prizes and inducements. Please refer to our departmental web pages for information about our graduate program (http://bit.ly/1q2uUbo), and to my own web page (http://bit.ly/1sPJzCd) for more detailed recent information research in my laboratory. Peter L. Hurd Associate Chair, Undergrad Associate Professor Department of Psychology Centre for Neuroscience University of Alberta firstname.lastname@example.org Edmonton, Alberta http://bit.ly/1q2uUbq T6G 2E9 Canada “Peter L. Hurd” via Gmail
The Graduate Program in Plant Biology and Conservation is a collaboration between Northwestern University (NU) and the Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG). Both MS and PhD degrees are offered, including a new internship-based MS degree. The programs offer a unique opportunity to study ecology, evolution, and environmental issues at the interface of basic and applied plant science. Students apply to the program through Northwestern University and take their courses at both NU and CBG with faculty from both institutions. The Plant Conservation and Science Center at CBG is a tremendous resource for students, and the Chicago region provides an excellent community at the forefront of research in conservation and sustainability. Faculty research areas include: To learn more, contact the program director, Nyree Zerega (email@example.com) or visit our websites: Graduate Program: http://bit.ly/1aIZfxC Plant Science Center: http://bit.ly/1dqeJNl Application deadlines: PhD: December 31, 2014 MS (thesis-based): February 15, 2015 MS (internship-based) Applications will be reviewed beginning February 15 and review will continue through April 30, 2014, and admissions are on a rolling basis. Nyree J C Zerega via Gmail
Hello all (my apologies for cross posting), OTS is offering a graduate level course on Tropical Plant Systematics in Spanish for 2015. This course is an intensive, five-week field introduction to the identification, inventory, classification, and phylogenetic analysis of tropical vascular plants. This course is primarily for plant systematists but will also interest ecologists, zoologists, and conservation biologists - anyone whose research requires a broad knowledge of plant relationships and classification. Faculty: Mario Blanco, Ph.D. Universidad de Costa Rica. Lucas C. Majure, Ph.D. Desert Botanical Garden, AZ. For more information go to: http://bit.ly/1EKLyiS I would appreciate your help letting graduate students know about this opportunity. Best, Andrs Santana Graduate Education Department Organization for Tropical Studies San Pedro, Costa Rica. 676-2050 (506) 2524-0607 ext. 1511 Skype: andres.santana_otscro www.ots.ac.cr twitter: @ots_tropicaledu Andrs Santana Mora via Gmail
*The registration to the 10th topical meeting of the Ethological Society: “Causes and consequences of social behaviour” is now open (and closes on 18th December 2014). The conference will be held at the University of Hamburg 11th-14th February 2015. * For further information and registration please visit our website: http://bit.ly/11pFOwI or contact us under info(at)ethology-hamburg-2015.de firstname.lastname@example.org via Gmail
November 14, 2014
Dear colleagues, We are very happy to invite submissions to the following ESEB 2015 symposium: Forecasting Eco-Evolutionary Responses To Global Changes Our goal is to highlight current empirical and theoretical studies that mix evolutionary and ecological approaches to investigate the fate of species’ ranges or persistence under a changing environment. The 15th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB), will be held in Lausanne, Switzerland, from August 10 - 14 2015. http://bit.ly/1rIZnbW INVITED SPEAKERS Katja Schiffers (Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine, Grenoble, France) http://bit.ly/1xB4Pjl Kathleen Donohue (Duke University, NC, USA) http://bit.ly/1GZC3yg ORGANISERS Frdric Guillaume (University of Zurich, Switzerland) http://bit.ly/1puEGzN Ophlie Ronce (CNRS - University of Montpellier, France) http://bit.ly/1GZC31p SYNOPSIS “Evolutionary biology is seldom seen as a predictive science mostly because evolutionary changes are traditionally expected to occur over long time scales where it becomes impossible to predict evolutionary trajectories. Current evidence for rapid adaptive changes on short time scales challenges this vision and argues for the inclusion of evolutionary responses into ecological niche modelling of shifting species’ distributions under climate changes. Ecological forecasting of future species’ ranges has been preferred based on the premise of conservatism of species’ fundamental ecological niches on the time scale of global change. The question of niche conservatism is currently intensely debated and a role for evolutionary adaptation in niche dynamics is expected. Current niche modelling predictions of species extinctions may thus be inaccurate whenever species have the capacity to adapt to novel conditions outside their niche. On the other hand, evolutionary processes may aggr avate the consequences of environmental changes on species persistence whenever the evolution of adaptive traits is limited by genetic or demographic constraints. This symposium aims at highlighting recent efforts to bring together ecological and evolutionary approaches to better understand and predict the potential responses of natural species to environmental changes and the impact of ongoing global changes on the maintenance of biodiversity.” The DEADLINE for abstract submission is January 10, 2015. Further details on ABSTRACT SUBMISSION and the conference are here: http://bit.ly/1rIZnbW Abstracts will be evaluated by the symposium organisers and will be selected for either oral or poster presentation by early March. When submitting your abstract please state your preference (talk, poster). We are looking forward to holding a very exciting symposium! Fred Guillaume & Ophlie Ronce via Gmail
Genetic and phenotypic characterization of a hybrid zone between polyandrous Northern and Wattled Jacanas in Western Panama
Background: Hybridization provides a unique perspective into the ecological, genetic and behavioral context of speciation. Hybridization is common in birds, but has not yet been reported among bird species with a simultaneously polyandrous mating system; a mating system where a single female defends a harem of males who provide nearly all parental care. Unlike simple polyandry, polyandrous mating is extremely rare in birds, with only 1% of bird species employing this mating system. Although it is classically held that females are “choosy” in avian hybrid systems, nearly-exclusive male parental care raises the possibility that female selection against heterospecific matings might be reduced compared to birds with other mating systems. Results: We describe a narrow hybrid zone in southwestern Panama between two polyandrous freshwater waders: Northern Jacana, Jacana spinosa and Wattled Jacana, J. jacana. We document coincident cline centers for three phenotypic traits, mtDNA, and one of two autosomal introns. Cline widths for these six markers varied from seven to 142 km, with mtDNA being the narrowest, and five of the six markers having widths less than 100 km. Cline tails were asymmetrical, with greater introgression of J. jacana traits extending westward into the range of J. spinosa. Likewise, within the hybrid zone, the average hybrid index of phenotypic hybrids was significantly biased towards J. spinosa. Species distribution models indicate that the hybrid zone is located at the edge of a roughly 100 km wide overlap where habitat is predicted to be suitable for both species, with more westerly areas suitable only for spinosa and eastward habitats suitable only for J. jacana. Conclusion: The two species of New World jacanas maintain a narrow, and persistent hybrid zone in western Panama. The hybrid zone may be maintained by the behavioral dominance of J. spinosa counterbalanced by unsuitable habitat for J. spinosa east of the contact zone. Although the two parental species are relatively young, mitochondrial cline width was extremely narrow. This result suggests strong selection against maternally-inherited markers, which may indicate either mitonuclear incompatibilities and/or female choice against heterospecific matings typical of avian hybrid systems, despite jacana sex role reversal.
Source: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Dear colleagues, We would like to invite abstract submissions for the symposium “Novel insights in the genetics of sex-specific variation” at the ESEB 2015 conference in Lausanne. Invited speakers: - Daphne Fairbairn (UC Riverside) - Tim Connalon (Monash University) Organisers: - Elina Immonen (Uppsala University) - Holger Schielzeth (Bielefeld University) - Arild Husby (University of Helsinki) This symposium aims to bring together and showcase recent advances in our understanding of the genetics of sex-specific variation and its contribution to sexual dimorphism. Some of the specific areas of interest include identification of genetic basis for sexually dimorphic or sex-specific traits, the role of sex chromosomes in harboring sex-specific variance, the degree to which sex-specific evolution is constrained by intersexual genetic correlations and the link between sexual dimorphism at the molecular and phenotypic levels. Researchers using (quantitative) genetic, genomic and transcriptomic approaches in these fields are invited to contribute to the symposium. Please see the symposium description (no 5) at the ESEB website: (http://bit.ly/1AEbj5O) To register for the ESEB meeting and for abstract submission to this symposium please visit: http://bit.ly/1ED5KBg Deadline for submission for contributed talks and posters is 10th January 2015. Submission guidelines can be found at http://bit.ly/1zTG7yd We look forward to receiving your submissions. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us. Elina, Holger and Arild Elina Immonen, Department of Ecology and Genetics Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18D, 75236 Uppsala, Sweden e-mail: elina.immonen AT ebc.uu.se Holger Schielzeth, Department of Evolutionary Biology Bielefeld University Morgenbreede 45, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany e-mail: holger.schielzeth AT uni-bielefeld.de Arild Husby, Department of Biosciences, University of Helsinki, PO Box 65, FI 00014 Helsinki, Finland e-mail: arild.husby AT helsinki.fi Elina Immonen via Gmail
Dear Colleagues, On behalf of my cohorts here in Madison, I would like to encourage you to recommend the UW-Madison Genetics PhD program to your students applying for graduate school. UW-Madison Genetics is one of the top Genetics training programs in the country (entering the 42nd consecutive year of our NIH training grant), with stellar research labs studying a wide variety of systems through classical genetic and genomic approaches. We would also like to announce our connections to the new Quantitative Biology Initiative (QBI, http://qbi.wisc.edu.) at UW-Madison. The QBI is an interdisciplinary and cross-college initiative to provide outstanding training and research opportunities in the quantitative biological sciences. Research and training spans four thematic areas in Computational, Statistical, Theoretical, and Experimental Biology. Students entering the UW-Madison Genetics PhD program have access to many labs within the QBI, including those studying evolutionary and population genetics, statistical genomics, systems and synthetic biology, and more. More information about the UW-Madison Genetics program, including information on how to apply, is available on our website http://bit.ly/1zTG5X2. Thank you, Audrey Gasch via Gmail
Hello, I am working with two distinct mtDNA clades, each of which is predominated by a major haplotype. Clade ‘A’ has numerous 1-step mutations away from the main A type with a couple of 2-3 step mutations. Clade ‘B’ has fewer 1-step mutations from the main B type with a single 2 step haplotype. I have tried running BEAST with little success (lack of convergence, I think due to the simplistic nature of the network). I have also tried estimating time of population expansion for the two clades individually from mismatch distributions and get a more recent event for A (the more variable of the two) than for B. I am certain this is not a data formatting error, but the expectation would be the more variable should have the older time of expansion. Any thoughts? Mark Mark Coulson via Gmail
New graduate student positions at the NASA Astrobiology Institute at the University of Montana (admitting for Fall 2015) Overview: The NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) at the University of Montana is seeking outstanding graduate students interested in pursuing research related to the evolution of biological complexity. Research assistantships (NIH scale) are available to work on projects led by Scott Miller, Matt Herron and Margie Kinnersley. NAI students will join the robust and collaborative Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics Group, a diverse set of UM faculty using genetic and genomic approaches to investigate evolutionary processes in plants, animals, and microbes. Funding is also available for short- or long-term travel to the UM-NAI partner labs of Vaughan Cooper (U New Hampshire), Shelley Copley (U Colorado, Boulder), Gavin Sherlock (Stanford U), and Paul Sniegowski (U Pennsylvania). Students will also have the opportunity to interact with Montana NAI team leader Frank Rosenzweig, Montana NAI co-Investigator John McCutcheon, as well as with theoretical biologists Eric Smith (Santa Fe Institute) and Phil Gerrish (U New Mexico), who will be summer scholars-in-residence at Montana and Pennsylvania, respectively. Program Description: It is now widely recognized that not just competitive, but also cooperative interactions are fundamental features of biological systems ranging from enzymes to organelles, cells and societies of cells and organisms. The Montana NAI consists of eight projects organized around five questions related to how such interactions influenced major transitions in the history of Life: (1) How do enzymes and metabolic networks evolve? (2) How did the eukaryotic cell come to be, specifically the cell that contained a mitochondrion? (3) How do symbioses arise? (4) How does multicellularity evolve? and (5) How do pleiotropy, epistasis and mutation rate constrain the evolution of novel traits? A unifying theme underlying these questions is: how do cooperative vs. competitive interactions play out in driving major transitions that occur when independently replicating entities combine into a larger, more complex whole? Project Descriptions: Consequences of recA duplication for recombination, genome stability and fitness (PI Scott Miller; Scott.Miller@mso.umt.edu; http://bit.ly/1sLHO9k ): Despite the importance of homologous recombination during the proliferation of biological diversity, we still have a poor understanding of the balance of its creative, stabilizing and destabilizing contributions to organismal fitness and genome evolution. Addressing this issue hinges on understanding the regulation of the expression and activity of the recombinase A (recA) gene family, an ancient gene family that plays a central role in HR-mediated processes in all three domains of life. We will use the extraordinary genetic variation exhibited by duplicated recA gene copies in the genomes of the cyanobacterium Acaryochloris as a model to address both the impact of recA copy number on recombination and fitness and whether Acaryochloris RecA paralogs have specialized for different sub-functions. With the recent development of genetic tools for these organisms that enables us to manipulate recA copy number, the Acaryochloris system presents a unique opportunity to gain novel insights on the fitness consequences that emerge from the interplay between HR-mediated maintenance of genome stability, selectively favored gene duplications and non-adaptive genomic rearrangements. The evolution of complexity via multicellularity and cell differentiation (PI Matt Herron; email@example.com; http://bit.ly/1BmI4ER): How and why organismal complexity increases are central questions in evolutionary biology. Although the vast majority of life forms remain simple, both the maximum and the average levels of complexity have increased from the origin of life to the present day. Large increases in organismal complexity resulted from a series of events in which existing individuals combined to become parts of a new kind of individual with components specialized for various roles. Such events are known as major transitions and include the emergence of cellular life from groups of interacting molecular replicators, of eukaryotes from two prokaryotes, of multicellular organisms from unicells, and of eusocial $B!H(Bsuperorganisms$B!I(B from individual animals. Among such transitions, the evolution of multicellular organisms from single-celled ancestors set the stage for unprecedented increases in complexity, especially in land plants and animals. We have used the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to experimentally generate de novo origins of simple (undifferentiated) multicellularity in two separate experiments. Using these newly-evolved, multicellular Chlamydomonas, we plan to ascertain the genetic bases underlying the evolution of multicellularity, evaluate the role of genetic assimilation in the evolution of multicellularity, and observe the evolution of multicellular development in real time. An experimental model for eukaryogenesis: Co-evolution of Escherichia coli and its parasite Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus (PI Margie Kinnersley; Margie.Kinnersley@mso.umt.edu; http://bit.ly/1BmI7jW): Among the major evolutionary transitions, perhaps the most crucial to understanding extant biodiversity is the transition from prokaryote to eukaryote (eukaryogenesis). Because the timing of eukaryogenesis coincides with the phylogenetic origin of the mitochondrion, it has been hypothesized that acquisition of this organelle heralded the prokaryote-eukaryote transition and preceded the rapid diversification referred to as the eukaryotic big bang. By selecting for metabolic interdependence between the intracellular prokaryotic predator Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus and its host, an acetate-excreting strain of Escherichia coli, we plan to establish a simple, straightforward model for mitochodrial acquisition based on the $B!H(Bparasitism hypothesis$B!I(B of mitochondriogenesis. This co-evolving system will be used to test hypotheses concerning ecological prerequisites for, early molecular events in, and evolutionary consequences of incipient endosymbiosis based on metabolic niche partitioning and energy generation, exactly the features that define the mitochondrion$B!G(Bs role in eukaryotic systems. Understanding these aspects of symbiogenesis is essential for truly understanding the prokaryotic/eukaryotic transition and thus is applicable to the study of myriad aspects of cellular and organismal diversity. The University of Montana: UM is located in Missoula, MT, a college town in the heart of the Northern Rocky Mountains with a high quality of life. Missoula has excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation, an active music scene, a strong biking culture, numerous restaurants and breweries, and was listed among Outside Magazine$B!G(Bs $B!H(BBest Towns$B!I(B in 2011 and 2013. Application Process: Interested students should contact the PIs listed above with a CV (including research experience and outcomes, as well as a description of relevant coursework) and a short description of their research interests. Selected candidates will also need to apply for graduate admission to the University of Montana Cellular, Molecular and Microbial Biology Program (http://bit.ly/1sLHR4Q Sciences , priority application deadline: January 15, 2015). via Gmail
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**The University of Bordeaux hires a junior scientist in the field of Evolutionary Ecology.* We seek candidates whose research encompasses the fields of quantitative ecology, evolutionary biology through investigations in subfields such as population, and evolutionary genetics. The overarching goal is to integrate the various processes shaping the composition of terrestrial or aquatic communities in order to predict their future evolution. This can be achieved by coupling ecological, genetic but also social drivers into a generic framework, through modeling approaches. Applicants must have a Ph.D. or equivalent in ecology or evolutionary biology and postdoctoral experience. A strong background in modeling and theoretical approaches is also recommended. The successful candidate will be part of the “Integrative Ecology” team within the cluster of Excellence COTE and build on existing contributions from its different members. COTE Continental to Coastal Ecosystems: Evolution, Adaptability and Governance” is a Cluster of Excellence (LabEx) recently created at the University of Bordeaux within the national program of “Initiatives d’Excellence” as a joint project with CNRS, INRA, IRSTEA (former CEMAGREF) and IFREMER. The “Integrative Ecology” team will be composed of two scientists and two post doctorates, which will be affiliated with the member labs of COTE. In addition, it will have access to modeling facilities and personnel including dedicated engineers (data management and programming). The successful candidate is expected to develop strong collaborations and interactions between the different member labs of COTE and contribute significantly to the development of Evolutionary Ecology within the Cluster of Excellence. The position is funded for two years by Labex COTE, with the perspective to apply for a permanent position during this period. Applicants should send a cover letter describing their interest in the position, a curriculum vitae, and name and contact information of three references to: firstname.lastname@example.org For additional information on the research project contact: email@example.com. For additional information regarding application procedure contact : firstname.lastname@example.org - Opening date for applications: 28/10/2014 - Submission deadline for applications: 31/12/2014 - Short listing: 15/01/2015 - Final selection: 28/02/2015 Universit de Bordeaux Julien Dumercq Charg de mission LabEx COTE Summer school coordinator T. 0540002255 P. 0665376668 cotesummerschool.u-bordeaux.fr/ Julien Dumercq via Gmail
Graduate student positions in Plant Evolution at McGill University, Montreal. Position 1. Self-incompatibility is the most effective method by which flowering plants enforce outcrossing and maintain a system of mating that the negative consequences of inbreeding depression in progeny. The self-incompatibility system in the Brassicaceae is perhaps the best characterized one. We have recently found exciting evidence suggesting that this system has evolved more than once within the family (http://bit.ly/1xV5743). We are looking to recruit a graduate student (M.Sc. or Ph.D. level) to assist us in furthering this investigation. Position 2. Climate change is producing new ecological challenges for plants in this century (e.g., temperature, water stress conditions). When phenotypic plasticity is insufficient for plants to cope with such challenges, they must either adapt evolutionarily or face local extinction. We are exploring how next generation sequencing approaches can help us to better understand the underlying genetics and evolutionary genomics of this process. We would like to recruit a graduate student (Ph.D. level) to work on this problem in our lab. Please send me your CV and a brief statement detailing: (1) which position you are interested in applying for; (2) why you are interested in the position and any relevant experience you may have; and (3) the names of 3 people we may write to for letters of reference. This information should be sent to Prof. Daniel Schoen: email@example.com by 15 February 2015 (for Canadian students) and 30 December 2014 (for non-Canadian students). firstname.lastname@example.org via Gmail
Graduate research opportunity to study ectoparasite population genetics and metapopulation dynamics. Department of Biological Sciences - University of Tulsa A graduate student at the M.S. or Ph.D level is sought to work with Drs. Warren Booth and Charles Brown in the Department of Biological Sciences at The University of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The successful applicant will develop a thesis research project focused on the metapopulation dynamics and population structure of swallow bugs (Oeciacus vicarius: Cimicidae), a disease vectoring ectoparasite of cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota). The PIs have amassed a large collection of swallow bugs from cliff swallow colonies varying in size, geographic location, and patterns of occupation, and have recently identified hundreds of microsatellite markers specifically for swallow bugs using next-generation sequencing. The work will draw on a long-term (33-year) study on social behavior and reproductive ecology of cliff swallows in western Nebraska. The study aims to examine the following objectives: nest fidelity and dispersal patterns, inbreeding dynamics, metapopulation structure and population differentiation; relationships between host and parasite genetic structure and diversity; and the potential of blood-fed bugs as indirect indicators of cliff swallow demography and social structure. Applicants for this position should have a strong background in population genetics, molecular ecology, evolutionary biology, or ecology, be willing to undertake seasonal field research at the study site in western Nebraska, and meet the admission requirements for the Department of Biological Sciences graduate program. (http://bit.ly/1aOtTdZ) Applications should include the following: 1) A letter of interest (not exceeding two pages). 2) A curriculum vitae. 3) Names and email addresses for at least three academics/researchers willing to provide a letter of recommendation 4) Copies of undergraduate/post-graduate transcripts 5) Electronic copies of published manuscripts, if any. For more information about this opportunity, contact Dr. Booth (email@example.com). Anticipated start date is January or August 2015. Additional information regarding our research can be found at - www.booth-lab.org via Gmail
ESEB symposium on ECOLOGY AND THE EVOLUTION OF SEX We would like to invite you to contribute to the ESEB symposium Ecology and Evolution of Sex, which will take place at the 15th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB), in Lausanne, Switzerland, 10 - 14 August 2015. Invited speaker: Sally Otto (UBC) and Levi Morran (Emory University) Organizer: Hanna Koch and Lutz Becks (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology) SYMPOSIUM DESCRIPTION: We are still missing the answer to one of the important questions in evolutionary biology: Why sex? Despite the high prevalence of sexual reproduction in nature, understanding its evolution and maintenance is still not that straightforward. The reason lays partly in the scarcity of experimental tests and theory that account for ecological dynamics and their direct consequences, i.e. population cycling and thus changes in strength and/or direction of selection. An important step towards solving the mystery of sex is to include ecological dynamics in experimental, theoretical as well as genomic studies. With this proposed symposium, we hope to start a rapid growing discussion on how to further integrate the role of ecology into the field of the evolution of sexual reproduction. WEBSITE (see symposium 1): http://bit.ly/1AEbj5O The site for registration for the ESEB meeting and for abstract submission for this symposium is now open at: http://bit.ly/1rIZnbW DEADLINE for abstract submission for contributed talks and posters: 10 January 2015. Abstracts will be evaluated by the symposium organizers and will be selected for either oral or poster presentation by early March. When submitting your abstract please state your preference (talk, poster). Submitted talks will be 17 min each, including discussion, plus 3 min to change rooms. The overall time window allotted to each symposium will be decided by the congress committee, depending on the number and quality of submissions. Lutz Becks & Hanna Koch Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology August Thienemann Str. 2 24306 Pln, Germany Lutz Becks via Gmail
The Genealogical World of Phylogenetic Networks
BMC Evolutionary Biology
Molecular Biology and Evolution