Wednesday, 3 December 2014

New PhD Studentship opportunity in Comparative Ecological Genomics

A competitive four-year, fully-funded studentship will be available through the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences Doctoral Training Programme to study comparative ecological genomics of Scottish freshwater salmonid fishes with Kathryn Elmer and Colin Adams.

Details are available at:

Under the section "Food Security (Crop Science and Animal Health)" and see the project entitled:
"Comparative ecological genomics of environmental heterogeneity"

The competition is open to all UK students and EU nationals who reside in the UK.

Deadline is Friday 16 January 2015

Please see the website for details on the CMVLS-DTP.

All interested candidates should please contact Kathryn Elmer in advance of the deadline.

Project Summary
Comparative ecological genomics of environmental heterogeneity
Intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence a population’s contemporary patterns of diversity and the adaptive potential of biodiversity. Quantifying the relative influence of those various factors is a major effort in biology; it is fundamental to the mechanisms behind, and speed of, the potential for adaptive evolution of morphological, ecological, and genetic variability. Such patterns and processes have major implications for a range of issues in biomedical and biodiversity sciences.

This project will use advanced ecological genomics approaches in a rigorous comparative framework to assess the historical and contemporary patterns of diversity in Britain’s salmonid fishes. Based on field collections, cutting edge genotyping-by-sequences approaches will be used to infer the extent and organisation of genomic variability. The relative roles of environmental heterogeneity, morphological diversity, and genome-wide genetic diversity will be compared in a multispecies synthesis. The outcome will be a predictive framework for environmental heterogeneity in genomic and morphological evolutionary processes.

Salmonid fishes are of high economic, conservation, and natural history importance for Britain, but to date no relationship between environmental, genetic, and eco-morphological variability has been identified. Such a link is of key importance to preservation of biodiversity, its habitats, and food security of Scotland’s wild sustenance fisheries.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

New PhD Studentship opportunity in mathematics of gene expression

Dr. Liam Watson and Dr. Kathryn Elmer have been awarded a prestigious Lord Kelvin - Adam Smith Studentship opportunity for their interdisciplinary, cross-College project "Convergence, connectivity, and continuity: Topological perspectives for mining novel biological information from ‘omics data".

The PhD position is open for applicants of any nationality and includes a full stipend and fees (home or international) for up to 4 year, plus a generous consumables budget. The position will start autumn 2015.

The project is based in Maths & Stats and competitive applicants will be those budding young topologists with a keen interest in experimental approaches in the life and biodiversity sciences.

Applications will be handled through the University of Glasgow. Further details and the advertisement are available through the Grad School. Deadline for applications: 14 January 2015


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

congrats to James winning the GIST competition

Big congrats to PhD student James Burgon for his science communication and outreach efforts --  winning the Glasgow Insight into Science & Technology Science and Society 2014 article competition for "where my scientist at?"

Monday, 27 October 2014

New paper: parallel evolution by non-parallel routes

Elmer, K. R., Fan, S., Kusche, H., Spreitzer, M.-L., Kautt, A. F., Franchini, P., & Meyer, A. (2014). Parallel evolution of Nicaraguan crater lake cichlid fishes by non-parallel routes. Nature Communications 5: 5168. 

Published today:
Is the outcome of evolution predictable? If one would rewind the tape of life, would evolution result in the same outcome? The Harvard evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould came up with this famous thought experiment. He suggested that evolution would not repeat itself: the role of random processes in the origin of biodiversity was too important and hence evolution was not predictable. Here we described parallel evolution of two closely related, but geographically isolated populations of cichlid fish in Nicaraguan crater lakes. This repeated outcome of evolution is best interpreted as evidence for similar adaptation to similar Darwinian natural selection pressure – and suggests somewhat deterministic evolutionary trajectories. [from Uni Konstanz media office]

Feel free to contact me if you are interested in a pdf of the paper, as it is not yet open access.

Also in Der Speigel

Saturday, 27 September 2014

upcoming symposium

Kathryn Elmer is invited to speak to the symposium 'iSEQ - Methods and applications of Next Generation Sequencing in evolutionary research' organised by iDiv at the Max Planck for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, 13-14 Nov 2014).

Monday, 22 September 2014

Congrats to James for an award of GNHS funding

Congratulation to James for his successful application to the Glasgow Natural History Society's (GNHS) Blodwen Lloyd Binns Bequest. He has received support to try some some new cellular and molecular approaches in his project on salamander colouration.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Welcome to Arne Jacobs

Welcome to Arne Jacobs, who starts his PhD in September and is already hard at work running ion Proton libraries of salmonid linkage mapping and genomics. Arne was an ERASMUS exchange student to the Glasgow MSc programme last year. He interned in the lab during that time and we are very happy he has returned to our sunny city.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Welcome to Madeleine Carruthers

Welcome  to new BBSRC-funded PhD student Madeleine Carruthers! Madeleine is studying transcriptomics and genomics of ecological divergence in postglacial salmonid fishes (supervisor: Kathryn Elmer, co-supervisor: Colin Adams at SCENE).

Thursday, 1 May 2014

new paper in Evolution

An outcome of Hans Recknagel's Leonardo da Vinci pre-PhD research training stint with Kathryn Elmer in Glasgow, an elegant little paper on Midas cichlids and their environment:

We found that lakes with a larger littoral zone had Midas cichlids with, on average, a higher (i.e. more "benthics") body shape. We also found that the variability in body elongation (i.e. how much morphological spread the flock has across the benthic-limnetic axis) is significantly predicted by average lake depth. Overall, this suggests that part of the reason for the unequal distribution of species across the crater lakes might be that there is insufficient ecological opportunity in some of the small or very steep crater lakes.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Scottish Crucible position awarded

Kathryn Elmer has been awarded to the Scottish Crucible (2014) - a programme for Scotland's research leaders of the future.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Royal Society funding awarded

Kathryn has received a Research Grant from the Royal Society, for equipment and field research support for the project "Colouration biodiversity on the landscape: a case study on European amphibians". Just in time for the next field excursion with James!

Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Studentship to Hans

Congratulations to Hans on his award of a prestigious Lord Kelvin Adam Smith PhD Scholarship. The research project is "Trees through time: how climate and landscape shape the evolution of biodiversity", with PI Kathryn Elmer and co-Is from Geography, Drs Nick Kamenos and Zhenhong Li.

Monday, 31 March 2014

New paper: Genetic basis of benthic-limnetic cichlids

New paper out
Franchini, P., C. Fruciano, M.-L. Spreitzer, J. C. Jones, K. R. Elmer, F. Henning, and A. Meyer, 2014 Genomic architecture of ecologically divergent body shape in a pair of sympatric crater lake cichlid fishes. Mol Ecol 23: 1828-1845.  

(years of raising those fishies comes to fruition!)

and the topic of the issue's Perspective by Sean Rogers & Heather Jamniczky

Lord Kelvin Adam Smith funding success for Kathryn Elmer with co-Is from Geography

Kathryn Elmer (PI), Nick Kamenos and Zhenhong Li (Geography, co-Is) have been awarded a well-funded Lord Kelvin Adam Smith studentship (2014/2015 for 4 yrs) for their project "Trees through time: Biodiversity on the landscape".

Friday, 7 March 2014

congrats to Hans for Heredity Fieldwork Grant!

Congratulations to Hans Recknagel on being awarded a Hereditary Fieldwork grant by the Genetics Society! This will be a great help with his PhD research this summer in the Alps (tough, but someone has to do it ...)