Conference updates 2018

Many conferences seem to happen during the Melbourne winter providing a welcome opportunity for researchers to travel to warmer parts of the world to share their research findings.

At the moment Giulia Ghedini is heading towards the University of New England (Maine, USA) to attend a Gordon Research Seminar on unifying ecology across scales. Giulia will be meeting up again with Diego Barneche who has moved on from the Centre for Geometric Biology and is pursuing his interests in ecological theory at The University of Sydney.

Giulia will be talking about her work that tests the idea that individual metabolic rates can predict energy use of populations and communities; a major goal of metabolic approaches to understanding energy flow in ecology. In contrast to predictions Giulia has found that population density reduced individual energy use and that these effects overwhelmed the constraints of body size on metabolism. But she also found that the sum of species-specific individual rates at any point in time was a good predictor of overall community metabolism.

Giulia will be joined in New England by Dustin Marshall who is presenting at the related meeting that is dealing with the “synthesis of information, energy and matter to understand the ecology of a changing world”. Dustin will be talking about offspring size and how developmental costs are affected by temperature.

In the meantime Louise Solveig Nørgaard and Martino Malerba are heading to Montpellier in France for the Evolution 2018 conference. Louise will be talking about her PhD research, supervised by Matt Hall, which suggests that the invasion success and the subsequent intensity of infectious disease can be influenced by the population dynamics of the host population. Louise is interested in exploring how the dynamics of expanding host populations, and the capability of different pathogen genotypes to disperse into new host populations, will likely affect the epidemiology and evolution of infectious disease.

Martino will be presenting his latest work that combines the experimental data from his artificial selection experiments with energy based models. Martino has used this combination of approaches to provide direct evidence on the costs and benefits of different cell sizes. His findings suggest that the current size of a species is the product of context dependent selection pressures in nature.

We wish them all happy and productive travels.