PhD project: Evolutionary rates in flowering plants

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student to undertake research on evolutionary rates in flowering plants. This project will be jointly supervised by Prof. Simon Ho (University of Sydney) and Dr Hervé Sauquet (Royal Botanic Garden Sydney). Research project The project will evaluate the patterns of morphological evolutionary rates in flowering plants (angiosperms) …

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 …

MEEP PhD student profiled in Australian Geographic

Perry Beasley-Hall, a PhD student in the MEEP Lab, is one of four Aussie women working in entomology profiled in Australian Geographic. She was interviewed to discuss perceptions of entomology as a male-dominated field and how these might be dispelled to encourage more female students to study insects. Her fascination with Australian native cockroaches is also described in …

Solving the mystery of the Australian Museum’s moa

An undergraduate scholar hosted by the MEEP Lab, Eugene Kwok, spent six weeks investigating a mysterious moa specimen that was found hanging in a locker in the Australian Museum. Hosted by the MEEP Lab, Eugene worked in collaboration with researchers at the museum to establish the identity of the fossil moa. Eugene was funded by …

The effects of inbreeding on Thoroughbred racehorses

A scientific study conducted by researchers at the University of Sydney has uncovered breeding strategies to improve the athletic success of Thoroughbred racehorses. The researchers found that horses with higher levels of inbreeding tended to have reduced athletic ability. Thoroughbred horses are often mated with related individuals in order to select for desirable traits, ultimately …

Three MEEP students receive their PhDs

Three students from the MEEP Lab have been awarded their doctorates in the past few weeks. Andrew Ritchie was awarded a PhD for his thesis “Evaluating the performance of diversification models for reconstructing evolutionary history”. Chapters of the thesis have been published in Organisms Diversity & Evolution and in Systematic Biology. Andrew is about to commence a postdoctoral research …

Fenner Medal from Australian Academy of Science

Prof. Simon Ho has received the 2017 Fenner Medal from the Australian Academy of Science. The medal was presented during the Science at the Shine Dome event in Canberra, an annual gathering of the nation’s top scientists. Simon gave a brief talk about his work, entitled “The evolutionary timescale of the Tree of Life”. The Fenner Medal …

How cathedral termites arrived to build their ‘skyscrapers’

They build among the tallest non-human structures (proportionately speaking) in the world and now it’s been discovered the termites that live in Australia’s remote Top End originated from overseas – rafting vast distances and migrating from tree-tops to the ground, as humans later did. Referred to as “cathedral” termites, the Nasutitermes triodiae build huge mounds up to …

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 …

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 …