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 …

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 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 …