The delicate water lily: A rose by another name?

A new study published in Nature reports the 409-megabase genome sequence of the blue-petal water lily (Nymphaea colorata). The authors conclude that most flowering plants may owe their success, including employing floral scent for attracting pollinators, in part to the genetic innovations observed in the delicate water lily. Water lilies are beloved features in ponds …

Research Assistant position available in 2020

A Research Assistant position will be available soon in the Molecular Ecology, Evolution, and Phylogenetics Lab in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney. This position will be advertised in January 2020 and the successful candidate will be able to commence immediately. This is a full-time position that is funded for 12 …

Workshop: Genomes and Biodiversity

The Genomes and Biodiversity: Research and Career Development Workshop was held on 20–22 November 2019 at the University of Sydney. A total of 50 Australasian early- to mid-career researchers (EMCRs) were selected to attend the workshop, which created a space for EMCRs and research leaders from a range of disciplines to meet and share their …

Sydney Phylogenetics Workshop 2019

The Sydney Phylogenetics Workshop was held at the University of Sydney on 15–16 July 2019. The workshop was organised and hosted by the MEEP Lab, which has been running the workshop annually since 2010. The Sydney Phylogenetics Workshop provided an introduction to phylogenetic analysis, including practical exercises based on the software MEGA and BEAST2. It …

Workshop: Taming the BEAST Down Under

Members of the MEEP Lab recently hosted the “Taming the BEAST Down Under” international workshop at the University of Sydney. This workshop provided training in Bayesian phylogenetic methods and evolutionary analysis, focusing on the software BEAST2. The workshop ran from 17 to 22 February and involved 41 attendees and 16 instructors. The teaching team included …

PhD student Charles wins Postgraduate Excellence Prize

MEEP PhD student Charles Foster has won the Postgraduate Excellence Prize from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences. This award was established by the school in 2002 to “support and promote the development of postgraduate student research excellence”. Charles was judged the winner of the prize based on his talk on “Untangling the patterns …

The Higgs Bison: Mystery species hidden in cave art

Ancient DNA research has revealed that Ice Age cave artists recorded a previously unknown hybrid species of bison and cattle in great detail on cave walls more than 15,000 years ago. The mystery species, known affectionately by the researchers as the Higgs Bison* because of its elusive nature, originated over 120,000 years ago through the …

Workshop: Taming the BEAST in the South Pacific

Members of the MEEP Lab will be part of the teaching term for the upcoming workshop “Taming the BEAST in the South Pacific”. Phylogenetics and phylodynamics are central topics in modern biology. Phylogenetic inferences reconstruct the evolutionary relationships between organisms, whereas phylodynamic inferences reveal the dynamics that lead to the observed relationships. These two fields …

Poster prize for PhD student Charles

MEEP PhD student Charles Foster has won the Australian Systematic Botany Prize for the best student poster at the Australasian Systematic Botany Conference. The meeting was held in Alice Springs and brought together plant systematists from the Australian region. Charles’s prize-winning poster was entitled “There goes Thecanthes: molecular systematics expands the circumscription of Pimelea” and …

PhD student Jun delivers Scholar’s Address

MEEP PhD candidate Jun Tong delivered the Scholar’s Address at the recent Faculty of Science Awards ceremony at the University of Sydney. Jun’s address, delivered to an audience of high-achieving students, their parents, distinguished alumni, and staff, concerned the importance of scientific research and scholarship. The Faculty of Science Awards ceremony is held annually, with …