Evolutionsbiologie / Evolutionary Biology

Bewilligungen / Grants 2010

Stipendien

advanced phase Postdoc "Evolutionary and functional characterization of primate transcription factors ("TFome")"

Bewilligung:  15.11.2010  Laufzeit:  5 Jahre

Das Vorhaben wurde am 17.11.2010 von Berlin nach Leipzig umgesetzt.

The era of genomic sequencing has provided the research community with invaluable resources for studying human evolution. Now it is time to move from a simple cataloguing of sequence differences to a functional evolutionary genomics. In this respect, transcription factors (TFs) represent a very fascinating class of proteins, because they regulate the expression of many genes and are therefore a potential important source for phenotypic differences between species. Unfortunately, at this time the function of many human TFs is not known. Furthermore the origin of many human TFs is only preliminarily investigated due their complicated evolutionary history and genomic organization. To extend these studies, the project's focus is to 1) significantly improve the annotation of TF genes in non-human primate genomes to identify human-specific TFs and 2) functionally investigate selected TFs with human-specific changes in primate cells. The results of this study will greatly enhance our understanding of primate evolution and human-specific traits.

Universität Leipzig
Bioinformatik
Dr. Katja Nowick
Härtelstraße 16 - 18
04107 Leipzig

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advanced phase postdoc "Molecular evolution in natural ecosystems: linking comparative genomics and biological stoichiometry"

Bewilligung:  21.07.2010  Laufzeit:  5 Jahre

Das Vorhaben wurde am 22.07.2010 von Planegg-Martinsried nach Münster umgesetzt.

A better understanding of molecular evolution from an ecological perspective is a central axis of integration in modern biology. Phenotypes respond to resource constraints by adaptation, but how ecological factors modulate the composition and evolution of genomes remains a puzzle. Recent evidence suggests a pivotal, yet under-explored role of the availability of nitrogen and phosphorus, that are typically limiting in natural ecosystems and are fundamental components of nucleotides and amino acids. Here it is planned to assess the role of the cost of nutrient acquisition from the environment on adaptive mechanisms that have shaped the structure of genes and proteins in response to the eco-physiology of the organisms. In silico experiments will integrate concepts and methods from molecular evolution and ecology to measure the strength of selection induced by nutrient constraint and to determine the time scale on which this ecological factor is evolutionarily relevant. These efforts will illuminate (1) the role of autotrophy and heterotrophy in shaping the basic differences in the genome structure in plants and animals, (2) the role of nutrient conservation in the evolution of metabolic networks and the contents of intracellular components, and (3) the effects of nutrients availability on genetic variation in natural populations of autotrophic and heterotrophic species.

Universität Münster
Fachbereich Biologie
Institut für Evolution und Biodiversität
Dr. Claudia Acquisti
Hüfferstraße 1
48149 Münster

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advanced phase Postdoc "Evolution and maintenance of mutualisms: Identification of the causal ecological factors"

Bewilligung: 08.07.2010  Laufzeit:  5 Jahre

Mutualisms are cooperative interactions between two species to the mutual benefit of both parties. Despite their fundamental ecological importance, does their existence pose an evolutionary conundrum: Why does one species invest costly resources into another one and not use them for itself. This long-neglected question is the main focus of this project. In particular, ecological factors and evolutionary conditions will be identified that contribute to the evolution and maintenance of mutualisms. In an experimental approach, two bacterial species will be exposed to ecological conditions and selection pressures that are predicted by theoretical models to promote the evolution and maintenance of mutualisms. The corresponding longterm coevolution experiments will start with different precisely defined, synthetically designed ecological interactions. A detailed analysis of the coevolving bacterial populations will allow to identify the causal environmental conditions as well as to study the underlying process on both a phenotypic and genetic level.

Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische
Ökologie, Jena
Dr. Christian Kost
Hans-Knöll-Str. 8
07745 Jena
Tel.: 03641 57 1212
Fax: 03641 57 1212

Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische
Ökologie, Jena
Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Boland
Hans-Knöll-Straße 8
07745 Jena
Tel.: 03641 571200
Fax: 03641 571202

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advanced phase Postdoc "Environment, Sperm Function and Evolution"

Bewilligung: 29.06.2010  Laufzeit:  3 Jahre

The co-evolution between species as well as that between the two sexes are major drivers of organic diversity. The recent evidence from species co-evolution showing that the environment largely defines whether the interaction between species is beneficial, harmful or neutral to the interacting parties has not been taken up by researchers studying male-female coevolution,including sperm-egg interactions. Because genotypic variation alone usually explains less than 25% in fitness, it is proposed that the environment critically modulates sperm-egg interactions and so leads to evolution by trait and species diversification. Here, this idea will be tested by assessing natural selection on sperm function in temperature-selected lines of fruitflies and bedbug sperm which are naturally exposed to different microbe communities. It will be measured whether populations evolve slower under directional selection in which there is environmentally modulated sperm ageing than populations without sperm ageing.

Universität Tübingen
Institut für Zoologie
Lehrstuhl für Evolutionsökologie der Tiere
Dr. Klaus Reinhardt
Auf der Morgenstelle 28
72076 Tübingen

Universität Tübingen
Fakultät für Biologie
Institut für Zoologie
Lehrstuhl für Evolutionsökologie der Tiere
Prof. Dr. Nico K. Michiels
Auf der Morgenstelle 28
72076 Tübingen
Tel.: 07071 29 74649
Fax: 07071 29 5634
Homepage: http://www.uni-tuebingen.de/evoeco

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Ph.D. fellow "Evolution of sociality in White-breasted mesites (Mesitornis variegata)"

Bewilligung: 15.06.2010  Laufzeit:  3 Jahre

Permanent social units consisting of more than two adults have evolved independently in several vertebrate and invertebrate taxa. Whereas some factors favouring sociality appear ubiquitous, others are functionally related to the life history traits of a particular taxon. In birds, the ability of all adults to contribute to parental care has played a major role in the evolution of groups of cooperatively breeding species. The aim of this project is to investigate the causes and mechanisms of sociality in White-breasted mesites (Mesitornis variegata), an enigmatic bird endemic to Madagascar. These terrestrial, sexually monomorphic birds have 2-3 precocial young, but live in groups of 3-4 individuals. Because the presence of non-reproductive helpers is therefore unlikely, the composition and stability of M. variegata groups pose an interesting evolutionary problem. A combination of spatial, behavioural and genetic data will be used to investigate group size and dynamics, relatedness patterns and parental care to illuminate the evolution of sociality in white-breasted mesites. In addition, phylogenetic comparative analyses will be conducted to infer the origins of cooperative breeding and investigate common patterns of sociality across all birds to place the results of this study in a broader evolutionary perspective.

Universität Göttingen
Institut für Zoologie und Anthropologie
Abt. Soziobiologie/Anthropologie
Anna Gamero
Kellnerweg 6
37077 Göttingen
Tel.: 0551 39 7345
Fax: 0551 39 7299

Universität Göttingen
Institut für Zoologie und Anthropology
Abt. Soziobiologie/Anthropologie
Prof. Dr. Peter M. Kappeler
Kellnerweg 6
37077 Göttingen
Tel.: 0551 397317
Fax: 0551 397299

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Ph.D. fellow "The influence of host social systems and local co-adaptation in host-parasite relationships"

Bewilligung: 12.05.2010  Laufzeit:  3 Jahre  6 Monate

The evolutionary arms race seen in host-parasite relationships serves as an ideal model system for studying coadaptation. Aside from the purely genetic factors such as gene flow and genetic drift that influence local adaptation of host or parasite, the behaviour and social system of vertebrate hosts can also alter coadaptation dynamics. Currently there is insufficient empirical data to evaluate the relationship between host social systems and host-parasite local coadaptation. Therefore the role of different host social systems in shaping the dynamics of host-parasite genetic covariation will be investigated through the comparison of several well-studied bat species (Bechstein's bat, brown long-eared bat) whose ectoparasite assemblages (S. bechsteini & B.nana; S. plecotini) can be studied and manipulated easily. To do so, genetic analysis of host and parasite population structure will be performed in combination with transplant experiments. This project will be among the first to test the effects of different host social systems on host-parasite co-variation and local adaptation.

Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie, Andechs und Radolfzell
Verhaltensökologie und evolutionäre Genetik
Antoon Jacobus van Schaik
Eberhard-Gwinner-Strasse
82319 Seewiesen

Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie, Andechs und Radolfzell
Verhaltensökologie und evolutionäre Genetik
Priv.-Doz. Dr. Gerald Kerth
Eberhard-Gwinner-Strasse
82319 Seewiesen
Tel.: 08157 932 374
Fax: 08157 932 344

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Ph.D. fellow "The effect of global change on host-parasite interactions and coevolution of the deepsnouted pipefish (Syngnathus typhle) and its parasite (Cryptocotyle lingua)"

Bewilligung: 06.04.2010  Laufzeit:  3 Jahre

Recent climate change affects many natural and human systems. In the light of global change it will be investigated how environmental variation alters the specific interaction of host and parasite genotypes (G x G x E interactions) and how it influences their coevolution. Extensive field sampling, modern molecular techniques and laboratory experiments will be combined to determine the relationship and divergence of the European pipefish-trematode system and to show selection pressure in a changing world. The interactions of host, parasite and environment will be deciphered by studying the host-parasite arms race in simulated environmental variation with either temperature changes or a heat wave as extreme patterns of climate change. It is expected on the one hand to gain insights in how specific genetic interactions will be altered by a changing environment and on the other hand to conclude how the host-parasite coevolution in Europe will be affected by global change.

Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissen-
schaften an der Universität Kiel
(IFM-GEOMAR)
Susanne Landis

Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissen-
schaften an der Universität Kiel
(IFM-GEOMAR)
FE Evolutionsökologie
Prof. Dr. Thorsten Reusch

Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissen-
schaften an der Universität Kiel
(IFM-GEOMAR)
Dr. Olivia Roth

Uppsala University
Animal Ecology
Prof. Dr. Anders Berglund
SCHWEDEN

Ansprechpartner:
Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissen-
schaften an der Universität Kiel
(IFM-GEOMAR)
Susanne Landis
Düsternbrooker Weg 20
24105 Kiel
Tel.: 0431 600 4560
Fax: 0431 600 4553

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early phase Postdoc "(re)Tracing the genetics of adaptation - parallel size increases of house mice on islands"

Bewilligung: 06.04.2010  Laufzeit:  2 Jahre

Adaptation underlies much evolutionary diversity. Yet, we know little about the genetic architecture underlying adaptation, because studying the adaptive process often means the statistical detection of historical events under largely unknown conditions. But for traits evolving repeatedly that can be replicated in the laboratory, its genetic architecture becomes readily tractable. Most importantly, parallelism allows searches for the rules governing adaptation. Gigantism in house mouse represents an ideal system: it has occurred repeatedly during island colonisation and can be readily mimicked by artificial selection. First it will made use of previously generated mouse lines from longterm artificial experiments to dissect the genetic architecture of gigantism, because it leaves no uncertainties regarding the trait under selection, the selective force and the evolutionary response. Then its results will be juxtaposed against loci underlying island gigantism in mice from the Faroe Islands, using both quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping between wild Faroese and laboratory strains and population genetic approaches.

Max-Planck-Institut
für Evolutionsbiologie, Plön
Abt. Evolutionsgenetik
Yingguang Frank Chan, Ph.D.
August-Thienemann-Str. 2
24306 Plön
Tel.: 04522 763 283
Fax: 04522 763 281

Max-Planck-Institut
für Evolutionsbiologie, Plön
Abt. Evolutionsgenetik
Prof. Dr. Diethard Tautz
August-Thienemannstraße 2
24306 Plön
Tel.: 04522 763 390
Fax: 04522 763 281

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Ph.D. fellow "Skull form and functional morphology in therizinosaur dinosaurs, and the evolution of herbivory in theropods"

Bewilligung: 06.04.2010  Laufzeit:  3 Jahre

Therizinosaurs are an enigmatic clade of theropod dinosaurs, found in Cretaceous deposits in Asia and North America. They possess an unusual suite of characters including an elongated neck, wide pelvis and long arms, tipped with sickle-shaped claws that were lined with primitive feathers. Their blunt leaf-shaped teeth suggest a diet of plants, rather than meat. Furthermore,their wide pelvic regions may have supported a large, fermenting gut, and the sickle claws may have been utilized for cropping vegetation, rather than predation. The aim of this project is to conduct an analysis of the biomechanics and the function of the therizinosaur skull, based on high resolution CT scans of the only complete skull of a therizinosaur, the Mongolian Erlikosaurus andrewsi, as well as further North American taxa. The scans reveal hitherto unknown anatomy of the braincase and skull, shedding light on cranial evolution and function. Although theropod dinosaurs are classically thought of as carnivorous, herbivory appears to have evolved within this group independently a number of times. The project will comprise a study into the evolution of herbivory in theropods, focusing on the functional significance of seemingly convergent morphological adaptations throughout the evolutionary history of the group.

Bayerische Staatssammlung für
Paläontologie und Geologie, München
Paläontologisches Museum München
Stephan Lautenschlager

University of Bristol
Department of Earth Sciences
Wills Memorial Building
Emily Rayfield

GROSSBRITANNIEN
Bayerische Staatssammlung für
Paläontologie und Geologie, München
Paläontologisches Museum München
Priv.-Doz. Dr. Oliver Rauhut

Ansprechpartner:
Bayerische Staatssammlung für
Paläontologie und Geologie, München
Paläontologisches Museum München
Stephan Lautenschlager
Richard-Wagner-Straße 10
80333 München

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Ph.D. fellow "Evolutionary genetics of pheromonal communication in mouse lemurs"

Bewilligung: 06.04.2010  Laufzeit:  3 Jahre

Intraspecific pheromonal communication is found in a variety of animals including mammals but not yet fully understood. Most mammals possess a vomeronasal organ (VNO) which is specialized for pheromone detection, but non-functional in humans. Whereas in rodents many important insights into the role of the VNO in pheromone function have been elucidated, data on the possible evolutionary role of pheromones in primates are limited. Mouse lemurs are an ideal model system to study pheromonal communication in primates, because the important roles of odours in the social system of these nocturnal strepsirrhines are well known. This study aims to identify the genes for pheromonal receptors in the VNO of mouse lemurs as a model for the ancestral primate condition and to confirm their expression. The variation of these genes within and between mouse lemur populations as well as between different species will be analysed in order to determine the level of selection on these genes and their role of these pheromone receptor genes in sexual selection, population divergence and speciation processes.

Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
Institut für Zoologie
Philipp Kappel

University of Cambridge
Dept. of Zoology
Dr. Nicholas I. Mundy
GROSSBRITANNIEN

Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
Institut für Zoologie
Prof. Dr. Ute Radespiel

Ansprechpartner:
Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
Institut für Zoologie
Philipp Kappel
Bünteweg 17
30559 Hannover
Tel.: 0511 9538748

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Ph.D. fellow "Conspicuousness versus pleiotropy in the evolution of visual signals in plant - animal communication"

Bewilligung: 06.04.2010  Laufzeit:  3 Jahre

Communication is a ubiquitous phenomenon that presents the key to understanding the evolution of behaviour and the interactions between organisms. Communication is based upon signals; the core assumption of signal theory is that natural selection will favour highly conspicuous visual signals because conspicuousness reduces the detection costs of receivers. However, this assumption has not been tested under natural conditions, and we lack the understanding of how variability in signalling affects individual fitness on a population level. Here, the relationship between the contrast of visual signals and the resulting fitness of senders in different plant - animal communication systems will be investigated involving distinct signal receivers. It is planned to study pleiotropic effects among the distinct signalling systems of a single plant as constraints that might limit adaptations towards each signalling system. Quantifying adaptations towards signal receivers and constraints limiting them will promote the ability to discern broad patterns in the evolution of visual signals, and to make general predictions about the direction of signal evolution.

Universität Freiburg
Institut für Biologie I
Evolutionsbiologie und Ökologie
Kalliope Elisabeth Stournaras
Hauptstrasse 1
79104 Freiburg
Tel.: 0761 203 2559

Universität Freiburg
Institut für Biologie 1
Evolutionsbiologie und Tierökologie
Priv.-Doz. Dr. Martin Schaefer
Hauptstr. 1
79104 Freiburg
Tel.: 0761 203 2531
Fax: 0761 203 2544
Homepage: http://www.biologie.uni-freiburg.de/data/bio1/schaefer/index.html

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Ph.D. fellow "Evolution of genes related to temperature adaptation in Drosophila melanogaster - as revealed by QTL mapping and population genetics analysis"

Bewilligung: 06.04.2010  Laufzeit:  3 Jahre

A century-long progress in evolutionary and molecular biology has provided us with the tools to find adaptively evolving genes in several well-characterized species. However, despite these findings, defining the phenotypes influenced by these genes is still a long way to go. In model species such as Drosophila melanogaster, a phenotype-to-genotype approach to understanding adaptive evolution is desirable and feasible, given the recent progress in genomics and quantitative genetics. The goal of this study is to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) that contribute to temperature adaptation in D. melanogaster. These QTL are directly associated with the species' successful colonization of contrasting environments on earth. Furthermore, it is planned to dissect some of these QTL to find the causative genes affecting the trait, and using population genetics methods, to study the evolutionary forces that maintain genetic variability at these genes. In particular, it is of interest to quantify the relative contributions of various forms of natural selection (including positive directional, balancing, and stabilizing selection).

Universität München
Department Biologie II
Lehrstuhl für Evolutionsbiologie
Ricardo Wilches
Grosshaderner Str. 2
82152 Planegg-Martinsried
Tel.: 089 2180 74101
Fax: 089 2180 74104

Universität München
Lehrstuhl für Evolutionsbiologie
Department Biologie II
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Stephan
Grosshaderner Straße 2
82152 Planegg-Martinsried
Tel.: 089 218074102
Fax: 089 218074104
Homepage: http://www.zi.biologie.uni-muenchen.de/evol/EvoBio.html

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eary phase Postdoc "Co-evolution of Paramecium, its bacterial symbiont and the latter's phages: the Killer trait"

Bewilligung: 06.04.2010  Laufzeit:  3 Jahre

Paramecium is a ubiquitous unicellular organism found in almost all kinds of freshwater habitats. Some paramecia express the so-called killer trait: killer paramecia release toxic particles into the environment which kill sensitive paramecia after ingestion. These particles are bacteria belonging to the genus Caedibacter, endosymbionts of the killer strains. Caedibacter harbour an unusual structure termed R-body (refractile body). An R-body is a proteinaceous ribbon which is encoded by Rbv (R-body coding virus). R-bodies act as toxin delivery system. The killers are protected by a resistance mechanism. Apparently, all three features (R-body, toxin, resistance) are encoded by Rbv. Thus, this three-partner-symbiosis is an interesting example for phage-derived toxicity. This project aims to characterize Rbv genomes from different isolates and correlate their variation with the phylogeny of Caedibacter and Paramecium. Thereby not only the evolution of ancestral Rbv to extant R-body coding plasmids can be reconstructed but also the viral impact on bacterial host range will be addressed.

Technische Universität Dresden
Institut für Hydrobiologie
Martina Schrallhammer

Technische Universität Dresden
Institut für Hydrobiologie
Prof. Dr. Thomas U. Berendonk

Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Department of Biology
Lynch Lab
Prof. Dr. Michael Lynch
USA

Uppsala University
Dept. Evolution, Genomics and Systematics
Prof. Dr. Siv Andersson
SCHWEDEN

Ansprechpartner:
Technische Universität Dresden
Institut für Hydrobiologie
Martina Schrallhammer
Zellescher Weg 40
01217 Dresden

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early phase Postdoc "The Jaws, the Muscles and their Ontogeny: A Novel Approach to Understand the Evolution of the Largest Vertebrate Group, the Ray-Finned Fishes (Actinopterygii)"

Bewilligung: 06.04.2010  Laufzeit:  3 Jahre

It is hypothesized that the great evolutionary success of ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii), and in particular the Teleostei, which comprises over half of all living vertebrate species, is strongly linked to the advent of suction feeding, the common feeding mode in an aquatic environment. The diverse jaw morphology and the associated musculature have been used to understand the evolution of the fishes. Virtually all studies of these systems have examined only adult representatives and the results have been unsatisfying. The relationships of most of the major clades are still unresolved. Here I propose a comparative, ontogenetic approach to understand the diversity of the jaws and the associated musculature, in particular the Musculus adductor mandibulae, of the Actinopterygii to understand the evolution of the largest vertebrate group. Developmental processes may contain phylogenetic information that cannot be detected if only the adult morphology is studied. Studying only the adult anatomy may also lead to misinterpretations of homology and therefore to erroneous phylogenetic conclusions. For the first time I will compare the development of the jaw apparatus of all major taxa of the actinopterygian fishes including whole mount immuno-histochemical staining, confocal microscopy, 3D-imaging and clearing and double staining of the skeleton.

Universität Jena
Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und
Evolutionsbiologie mit Phyletischem Museum
Peter Konstantinidis

Universität Jena
Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutions-
biologie mit Phyletischem Museum
Prof. Dr. Lennart Olsson

Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA
Fisheries Science
Prof. Dr. Eric Hilton
USA

Ansprechpartner:
Universität Jena
Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und
Evolutionsbiologie mit Phyletischem Museum
Peter Konstantinidis
Ebertstraße 1
07743 Jena

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Ph.D. fellow "Modular protein evolution in the arthropod immune response"

Bewilligung: 06.04.2010  Laufzeit:  3 Jahre

Arthropods employ a wide array of mechanisms to defend themselves against pathogens. Comparative genomics studies showed that the genes which mediate these mechanisms evolve rapidly, both on the sequence level and in copy number. Most of the proteins encoded by these genes are composed of multiple protein domains, which can be understood as structural, functional and evolutionary modules of proteins. Domains can be gained and lost in the course of protein evolution and several lines of evidence suggest that such events of modular protein evolution happened frequently in the evolutionary history of arthropod immune proteins. This project aims to reveal precisely how modular protein evolution contributed to the generation of the diversity of immune proteins that can be observed in extant arthropods. Here, bioinformatic approaches will be used to identify gains and losses of protein domains in the evolutionary history of arthropod immune proteins and to explain the underlying genetic mechanisms.

Universität Münster
Biologie
Institut für Evolution und Biodiversität
Andreas Schüler
Hüfferstraße 1
48149 Münster
Tel.: 0251 83 21632
Fax: 0251 83 24668

Universität Münster
FB Biologie
Institut für Evolution und Biodiversität
Prof. Dr. Erich Bornberg-Bauer
Schlossplatz 4
48149 Münster
Tel.: 0251 8321630
Fax: 0251 8321631
Homepage: http://www.uni-muenster.de/evolution/ebb

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early phase Postdoc "The role of sensory exploitation and its constraints in the evolution of visual signals"

Bewilligung: 06.04.2010  Laufzeit:  3 Jahre

Communication is ubiquitous relying upon signals. Among the theoretical models that predict the evolution of signals, the sensory exploitation model is one of the most popular. It states that the sensory properties of the receiver generate innate preferences that bias the evolution of signals. Accordingly, all signals should evolve to reach an optimal design that maximally stimulates the sensory system of receivers. Although influential, the sensory exploitation model is lacking a broad evolutionary perspective that incorporates constraining processes such as genetic correlations and phylogenetic inertia that may prevent a signal to reach optimality. The general applicability of the sensory exploitation model is thus unknown. Here, a new tool will be developed, the contrast landscape, to analyse adaptive and non-adaptive processes in the evolution of visual signals. This tool fuses the adaptive landscape with the perceptual sensory space. By studying available data sets on colour signals in flowers, fruits, birds, and monkeys according to the sensory systems of different insects, birds and monkeys, the goal of the project is to develop a comprehensive framework on the evolution of visual communication.

Universität Freiburg
Evolutionsbiologie und Tierökologie
Dr. Julien Renoult
Hauptstr. 1
79104 Freiburg

Universität Freiburg
Institut für Biologie 1
Evolutionsbiologie und Tierökologie
Priv.-Doz. Dr. Martin Schaefer
Hauptstr. 1
79104 Freiburg
Tel.: 0761 203 2531
Fax: 0761 203 2544
Homepage: http://www.biologie.uni-freiburg.de/data/bio1/schaefer/index.html

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Postdoktorandenstipendium "Local Adaptation of Modern Humans to Micronutrient Deficiencies" (Extension)

Bewilligung: 01.04.2010  Laufzeit:  2 Jahre

Das Vorhaben wurde am  06.04.2010 von Konstanz nach Leipzig umgesetzt.

During their Out-of-Africa dispersal during the last 100,000 years, human populations were exposed to diverse new environments. For example, different soils and food sources produced varying levels of micronutrients in human nutrition. Some of these micronutrients are an essential part of human diet and their concentrations within the body are tightly regulated. From an evolutionary point of view this presents an exciting opportunity to explore human adaptation to local micronutrient deficiencies in different continental regions. A number of genes were identified that are both involved in micronutrient metabolism and that putatively have been under recent, local selection in human populations. Public datasets of world-wide human genetic variation will be used to detangle the complex genetic patterns. After re-sequencing of candidate genes and in-depth statistical tests for positive selection, it is aimed to identify and characterize the functional variants of the selected genes. For this purpose, genotype-phenotype association studies - probably related to mRNA expression and tissue micronutrient status - are planned for the best of these candidates. This project will contribute to the understanding of the adaptive processes that have shaped modern humans in their dispersal over the earth.

Max-Planck-Institut für evolutionäre
Anthropologie, Leipzig
Abt. für Evolutionäre Genetik
Johannes Engelken, M.Sc.

Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona
Institute of Evolutionary Biology (UPF-CSIC)
Dr. Elena Bosch
SPANIEN

Max-Planck-Institut für evolutionäre
Anthropologie, Leipzig
Abt. für Evolutionäre Genetik
Prof. Dr. Mark Stoneking

CAS-MPG Partner institute
for Computational Biology, Shanghai, Shanghai
Human Genetic Variation Group
Kun Tang
CHINA

Ansprechpartner:
Max-Planck-Institut für evolutionäre
Anthropologie, Leipzig
Abt. für Evolutionäre Genetik
Johannes Engelken, M.Sc.
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig

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advanced phase Postdoc "Corporate and individual immunity - understanding their relationship in a non-social insect, Tribolium castaneum"

Bewilligung: 01.04.2010  Laufzeit:  5 Jahre

Tribolium beetles excrete Quinones into their flour environment. Quinones show broad antimicrobial activity, and therefore can be considered as an "external" immune defence. Previously Dr. Joop could demonstrate that the production of Quinones is traded-off with the internally acting innate immune system, and that the excretion of Quinones comes at the cost of decreased larval survival. Based on these findings, the proposed project aims at an in-depth analysis of the evolution and function of external immunity. Four main questions will be addressed: (i) Does Quinone excretion enhance beetle fitness through manipulation of microbial diversity in the flour and the beetle gut? (ii) What are the cause and consequences of the trade-offs between external immunity and other aspects of immunity? (iii) How is Quinone production regulated? (iv) Does external immunity represent a true corporate trait that benefits a group of unrelated individuals? This project is expected to shed new light onto the evolution of
immune defence.

Universität Kiel
Zoologisches Institut
Evolutionsökologie und -genetik
Dr. Gerrit Joop
Am Botanischen Garten
24118 Kiel

Universität Kiel
Zoologisches Institut
Evolutionsökologie und -genetik
Prof. Dr. Hinrich Schulenburg
Am Botanischen Garten 19
24118 Kiel
Tel.: 04318804143
Fax: 04318802403

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early phase postdoc "Transgenerational immunity - Mechanisms and fitness consequences in an invertebrate, the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum"

Bewilligung: 01.04.2010  Laufzeit:  3 Jahre

Over the last few years it has become evident that invertebrate immunity is more plastic and specific than previously believed. Not only adaptive but also innate immunity shows memory towards pathogenic priming. Recent studies showed immunity to be transmitted from parents to offspring. Especially, paternal transgenerational immune priming came as a surprise. In this project it is planned to investigate the phenomenon of paternal and maternal transgenerational priming in the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum in relation to environmental and pathogenic factors. In an evolutionary approach, potential fitness costs and benefits of transgenerational priming for fathers, mothers, and offspring will be examined. It is aimed to elucidate the mechanisms of (paternal) transgenerational priming, by first trying to discriminate between effects transmitted through sperm-DNA vs. seminal fluid. The next focus will be on DNA methylation and transferred RNA as candidate mechanisms mediating epigenetic effects. Transgenerational priming affects the phenotype but not the genotype. Because of this a great extent of transgenerational priming would strongly impact on current theory of host-parasite coevolution.

Universität Münster
Institut für Evolution und Biodiversität
Dr. Maike Folina Diddens-de Buhr
Hüfferstrasse 1
D48149 Münster

Universität Münster
Institut für Evolution und Biodiversität
Prof. Dr. Joachim Kurtz
Hüfferstraße 1
48149 Münster
Tel.: 0251 8324661
Fax: 0251 8324668
Homepage: http://www.uni-muenster.de/Evolution/

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advanced phase Postdoc "Context-dependent plasticity of sexual selection: links between individual behavior and population dynamics"

Bewilligung: 01.04.2010  Laufzeit:  5 Jahre

Individual behaviour and population dynamics are two fields that so far were largely studied separately. However, in an evolutionary context, it is highly relevant to also address the links between them. Here it is planned to address environmental and social context dependent plasticity of sexual selection in a small marine fish with conventional but plastic sex-roles. The common goby (Pomatoschistus microps) occurs along a wide environmental and geographical cline. Traditionally, studies on sexual selection have been focussing on either female choice or male-male competition. This project addresses also the opposite phenomena: choosy males and competing females, as well as the interplay among them. To that end a combination of field work at opposing ends of the coast of the Baltic Sea, controlled laboratory experiments, and theoretical modelling approaches will be used. The results will shed light on how mating systems are affected by its natural context and how individual behaviour and population dynamics interact.

Universität Tübingen
Lehrstuhl für Evolutionsökologie der Tiere
Dr. Katja Heubel
Auf der Morgenstelle 28
72076 Tübingen

Universität Tübingen
Fakultät für Biologie
Institut für Zoologie
Lehrstuhl für Evolutionsökologie der Tiere
Prof. Dr. Nico K. Michiels
Auf der Morgenstelle 28
72076 Tübingen
Tel.: 07071 29 74649
Fax: 07071 29 5634
Homepage: http://www.uni-tuebingen.de/evoeco

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Weitere Bewilligungen

2. Statussymposium "Evolutionary Biology"

09.05.2010 - 12.05.2010 in Frauenchiemsee

Universität München
Department Biologie II
Elena Berg, Ph.D.

Universität München
Dept. Biologie II
Verhaltensökologie
Prof. Dr. Susanne Foitzik

Universität München
Dept. Biologie II
Evolutionsbiologie
Prof. Dr. John Parsch

Universität München
Department Biologie II
Statistische Genetik
Prof. Dr. Dirk Metzler

Ansprechpartner:
Universität München
Department Biologie II
Elena Berg, Ph.D.
Großhaderner Str. 2
82152 Planegg-Martinsried
Tel.: 089 2180 74 208

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