Archive for December, 2013

Christmas Animals

Christmas Animals

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Would there be a Christmas without animals? It seems like a silly question but think about it; so many of our holiday traditions involve animals in some way. There are the obvious participants; the poultry, pigs, lambs and, in some countries, fish which will be the highlights of millions of Christmas dinners. Indeed, the Christmas story as we know it could not have happened without animals; Mary and Joseph were unlikely to have reached Bethlehem in time without the aid of their “little donkey on the dusty road”. Tucked away in their manger, it would have been [&hellip

Seminar series: David Angeler, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Seminar series: David Angeler, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

By EcoEvo@TCD | Seminars

Part of our series of posts by final-year undergraduate students for their Research Comprehension module. Students write blogs inspired by guest lecturers in our Evolutionary Biology and Ecology seminar series in the School of Natural Sciences. This week, views from Somantha Killion-Connolly and Joe Bliss on David Angeler’s seminar, Ecological complexity: a torture or nurture for management and conservation? Panarchy – Sense or nonsense? Scientists have been told for many years now to lift their heads from their microscopes, look up and take in the bigger picture. Well the picture has gotten even bigger and more complex according [&hellip

Good, Better, Best

Good, Better, Best

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Many aspects of human nature seem to frustrate our ideal of a modern society. This is especially true of our morality. We seem to have evolved a brain with two systems relevant to moral behaviour. The first, more ancient component is automatic, judging things as disgusting or inherently wrong very quickly; the second is our slower acting higher-level thinking which has a controlled reasoned process. However the two are not independent, with our more modern system taking its cues from the more primitive part. An evolved morality does suggest that there is no absolute right or wrong, [&hellip

Search and rescue or seek and destroy?

Search and rescue or seek and destroy?

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Curing cancer, delivering carbon free energy and rescuing people trapped after earthquakes are noble pursuits. In a time where fundamental research is under pressure to deliver, lofty goals like this are glibly trotted out in grant applications to justify project funding, and then again in press releases once the work is done to justify the next grant application. I’m throwing stones, but am very conscious that I am not without sin and nor am I living far from my glass house. While basic research, even apparently far removed from product or cure, undeniably adds to our knowledge [&hellip

Seminar series; James McInerney, NUI Maynooth

Seminar series; James McInerney, NUI Maynooth

By EcoEvo@TCD | Seminars

Part of our series of posts by final-year undergraduate students for their Research Comprehension module. Students write blogs inspired by guest lecturers in our Evolutionary Biology and Ecology seminar series in the School of Natural Sciences. This week; views from Dermot McMorrough and Maura Judge on James McInerney’s seminar, The hybrid nature of eukaryotes rejects the three-domains hypothesis of life on Earth. Time to stop the press? Science for the Masses. What exactly constitutes “pop science”? What is it that takes a piece of research from the relative anonymity of peer-reviewed journals and academic conferences to mainstream media outlets and the masses? [&hellip

People are idiots

People are idiots

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Apologies in advance for this perhaps unconstructive rant! But I’ve found the process cathartic after spending my whole holiday worrying that someone nearby was going to get kicked, crushed or eaten through their own stupidity! For my summer holiday this year I spent a week in Yellowstone National Park in the USA. It was awesome apart from one thing: the people. Everywhere you go in Yellowstone and the surrounding areas (including a brilliant sign showing you how to bear-proof your bird feeder in the bathrooms of a BBQ joint in Jacksons Hole) you find warnings about bears. [&hellip

Science X-Factor

Science X-Factor

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

What is consciousness? Why do we live? Why did the dinosaurs die out? Are tenrecs cannibals? Can we control our dreams? Do you like cake?! These are just some of the burning questions which I had the pleasure and challenge of trying to answer while taking part in I’m a scientist, get me out of here!  This online competition is science communication and outreach designed for the X-factor generation; school students submitted their science (or otherwise!) –related questions to panels of scientists divided across different zones of research. The students used the resulting answers to cast votes [&hellip

Seminar series; Britt Koskella, University of Exeter

Seminar series; Britt Koskella, University of Exeter

By EcoEvo@TCD | Seminars

The first set of our weekly Wednesday posts by final-year undergraduate students as part of their Research Comprehension module. Students write blogs inspired by guest lecturers in our Evolutionary Biology and Ecology seminar series in the School of Natural Sciences. This week; views from Sam Preston and Emma Dunne on Britt Koskella’s seminar, Bacteria-phage interactions within their long-lived hosts Evolution Gone Viral Forget Darwin’s finches and forget the cichlids of Lake Malawi. if you want to see natural selection and evolution in action you’re going to need to think a lot smaller, because evolutionary biology’s gone viral. One of the [&hellip

Join us!

Join us!

By EcoEvo@TCD | News, Research

It’s that time of year again at EcoEvo@TCD where we start looking for people to apply for Irish Research Council fellowships to come and join us as postdocs or PhD students. These awards are open to anyone, regardless of nationality. Details can be found here(PhD funding) and here (postdoc funding). But why would you want to join us? I can talk (type?) at length about this but maybe the best people to ask are the students  and postdocs we already have working here. So here are their comments instead! Thomas Guillerme @TGuillerme Supervisor: Natalie Cooper (Zoology) As a [&hellip