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Friday Philosophicals - Winter Semester 2020

Friday Philosophical January 17th 2020 Emma Churchman: The endocrine and genetic regulation of adaptive parental care in sunfish and Jack Goldman: Chemical communication in sunfish breeding systems

Emma Churchman: The endocrine and genetic regulation of adaptive parental care in sunfish, Jack Goldman: Chemical communication in sunfish breeding systems.

Friday Philosophicals run most Fridays in Kresge Building K103 (check the schedule). Seminars start at 3:30 pm and are expected to end by 4:20 pm.

January 17, 2020

Emma Churchman: The endocrine and genetic regulation of adaptive parental care in sunfish

Emma Churchman photoSupervisor: Dr. Bryan Neff

Parents determine how much energy to invest in caring for their offspring based on perceived value of the brood. This value is often associated with the relatedness of the offspring and parent, which can be assessed through kin recognition. In this study I will test if male sunfish adjust their parental investment based on their perception of paternity by directly reducing their paternity though egg swaps between nests, or by providing a visual cue to the male that indicates an uncertainty of paternity. I propose hormones, including androgens and prolactin, and gene expression in key regions of the brain are important mechanisms regulating parental care. I predict males with lower perceived paternity will have lower circulating levels of androgens and prolactin and decreased expression of genes associated with parental care. By understanding the mechanisms involved in the response to kin recognition, we can further understand how parental care itself evolved.

Jack Goldman:Chemical communication in sunfish breeding systems

Jack Goldman photoSupervisor: Dr. Bryan Neff

Breeding systems characterized by alternative mating tactics have fascinated ecologists for decades. These systems are characterized by complex interactions between individuals, including the recognition of kin and mates. High rates of brood parasitism in these systems make it important to recognize kin vs. non-kin within a nest. Increased competition for access to mates emphasizes the value of mate recognition. Despite the adaptive importance of recognizing kin and mates, the sensory mechanism involved are poorly understand. Using bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish as model systems, my research aims to elucidate how individuals use chemicals in kin and mate recognition, and to identify the active chemical compounds mediating these interactions.

January 10, 2020

Dong Lee: Metschnikowia mitochondria

Dong Lee photoSupervisors: Dr. David Smith & Dr. Marc-André Lachance

Our current understanding of mitochondrial genomes is biased toward metazoans, which represent the majority of sequenced mitochondrial DNAs. Yeast mitochondrial genomes are an appealing alternative to those of metazoans for studying genomic evolution and diversity due to their high diversity in size, shape and gene synteny. The genus Metschnikowia is known for producing two unique ascospores and living inside of guts of beetles. Currently there are 72 genomes belong to the large-spored subclade of this genus available on Genbank. These genomes, however, lack complete mitochondrial genomes. Therefore, mitochondrial genomes of 72 strains of large spored Metschnikowia species will be constructed and analyzed in detail, focusing on diversity in size, shape, and gene synteny to further our understanding of mitochondrial genome evolution. Also, intron rich genes cob and cox1 will be analyzed to provide new insights into evolution of introns.

Liam Brown: Resist! Investigating the response of the soil bacterial mobilome to long-term exposure of macrolide antibiotics.

Liam Brown photoSupervisors: Dr. Ed Topp (AAFC) & Dr. Vera Tai

Macrolide antibiotics have been identified as “critically important” by the World Health Organization because of their use as first-line and sole treatments of serious human infections, such as community-acquired pneumonia and campylobacteriosis. The extensive use of macrolides in healthcare and agriculture has led to increased drug resistance among historically susceptible bacterial species, and of particular concern is the possibility for these antibiotics to promote resistance in the environment via fertilization of agricultural soil with macrolide-contaminated manure or biosolids. To investigate if long-term exposure of agricultural soil to macrolides promotes resistance in environmental bacteria, soil microplots in London, ON were exposed annually to a mixture of three macrolide antibiotics, and an increase in several resistance genes was observed over time. The goal of my research is to investigate the role of mobile genetic elements in the dissemination of resistance genes in these soil bacteria using culture-based and next-generation sequencing methods.

Schedule for the Winter Term 2020

Date First Speaker Title Second Speaker Title
17 Jan. Emma Churchman Understanding the mechanisms that underlie paternity assessment and adaptive parental care in male sunfish Jack Goldman Chemical communication in sunfish breeding systems
24 Jan. Breanne Craig Long term vs. transient responses to warming and nitrogen addition in a temperate old field HaeWon Kim TBA
31 Jan. Andrew Pitek Potential for probiotics to mitigate environmental stress in Western honey bees
7 Feb. Kumkum Azad TBA
14 Feb. Farhaan Kanji TBA William Laur A multi-scale analysis of predator-prey interaction strength under warming
28 Feb. Scott Walters Does availability of marine-derived fatty acids affect avian consumer performance? Marianna Wallace TBA
6 Mar. RoseLynn Savage Exploring the diversity and specificity of zooplankton parasites in coastal marine ecosystems Lucas Khodaei Discovering the genetic and neurological basis of agression behaviour in Drosophila larvae
13 Mar. Samuel Rycroft Freezing tolerance of herbaceous legumes in the northern temperate zone Shayla Kroeze Conservation genetics of the endangered Mottled Duskywing (Erynnis martialis)
20 Mar. Colleen Wardlaw There must be something in the water: Investigating microplastics in fish of the Thames River, Ontario Keon Park Post-extinction colonizers: tracking the variation at Pgi locus
27 Mar. Rebecca Howe TBA Vonica Flear TBA
3 Apr. EDI Workshop Lesley Oliver anti-oppression training: colonization, intersectionlity & microaggression), 2:30-4:30