University of St Andrews
Sea Mammal Research Unit

SMRU News Centre

item 158
[23-03-2009 to 30-04-2009]

News Item:
Scottish Funding Council approves MASTS

On Friday 20th March 2009, the Scottish Funding Council gave the final approval for the Marine Alliance for Science and technology Scotland (MASTS) to go ahead. MASTS is a £75 million research initiative to pool marine research capability across Scotland.

see here for further details
contact: Prof Ian Boyd


SMRU News Archive:



Upcoming Events
  • Looking at telemetry data from above and below: some technological and methodological thoughts of an animal movement ecologist
    speaker: Dr Theoni Photopoulou (University of Cape Town)

    building: SOI
    room: Lecture Theatre
    see also: additional details
    host/contact: Dr Emma Defew

    Telemetry (the remote collection of data via communications systems) allows us to study animals that we would otherwise be unable to observe, in environments we don't have easy access to. The collection of such data is racing ahead of the analytical techniques we have available to understand the data and the systems under study. The type of information we can or should collect both determines, and is determined by, the questions we are able to address regarding the ecology, life-history and behaviour of animals. Challenging systems are often the most interesting, and sometimes the most important to study, but they present us with special practical and analytical challenges. Even though we now have the capacity to collect data in more detail and greater quantities than ever before, we often still have to make do with whatever we can get, or conversely, end up with data in large volumes or with more complexity than we know how to analyse. I will present examples of the data types and study systems I work with, including seals and black eagles, the importance of knowing how data are collected, and some of the methods I use to try to get the most out of these data.

    refID: 1601

    hide details

  • Keynote Speech: International Environmental Omics Synthesis Conference: Genomics and Inheritance
    speaker: Professor Elizabeth A. Thompson (University of Washington, School of Statistics)

    building: MBS
    room: Lecture Theatre
    see also: additional details
    host/contact: Prof Thomas Meagher

    More details about the 4-day International Environmental Omics Synthesis Conference in St Andrews, as well as speakers and programme, can be found on the iEOS web site.

    Genetic diversity in a species is key to its success in a changing environment, and a key determinant of genetic diversity is the ancestral history of the population.  Classically such ancestral structure was considered in terms of population demography and pedigree-based relationships.  Analyses were often constrained by the assumed pedigree structures, and by the assumption that individuals not specified as related have independent genetic data.  In reality, extended multi-generation pedigrees cannot be validated from genetic data on extant individuals, and any given pedigree can give rise to a wide variation of genetic descent patterns.
    Modern genetic data allow for the detection of this co-ancestry at specific genome locations, and it is this co-ancestry of DNA that provides a direct measure of genomic diversity. Recently, primarily in human genetics, numerous methods for the detection of segments of genome sharing between pairs of individuals have been developed.   However, combining these inferences into realized structures of the changing genome sharing across a chromosome jointly among multiple individuals has proven challenging.  I will discuss a new approach to this problem, and show how, even if only pairwise estimates are desired, joint inference provides improved estimates.

    refID: 1600

    hide details