Exciting news! I’ll be starting my new position as Assistant Professor in Chemical Ecology at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) in the University of Amsterdam in January 2019.
More news to come on potential job openings. Of course the biggest challenge right now is finding an apartment in Amsterdam…
More good news from the Evolution in Action project. We received EUR 96,000 of funding from Tieteen Tiedotus Ry (i.e. the Finnish Science Information Bureau)! We will use this money make our workshop materials available for everyone and work with artists Tiina Hirvonen and Michaela Casková to develop new tools and methods to teach evolution in primary and secondary schools.
I’m currently in Australia(!) and will be here for the next 4 months on an Endeavour Fellowship, working on the ecological and genetic basis of colour variation in Hibiscus Harlequin Bugs (Tectocoris diophthalmus). I’m based at Macquarie University in Sydney, working with Mariella Herberstein and Kate Umbers.
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Hibiscus Harlequin Bugs have contrasting pattern made up of orange colouration and iridescent blue patches that vary considerably in size between individuals and populations. Northern populations have far less blue colouration, and may even be completely orange. Furthermore this variation has been shown to influence survival against different types of predators. My work will focus on the causes of this variation, both within and between populations.
I’ve finally recovered from conference flu so just a quick post about ESEB 2017.
The conference was awesome, and very well organised given the size. The main program was on an app that my old phone sadly cannot handle, but they also gave out smaller program booklets so I was able to organise my time well enough.
As usual for ESEB the standard of the talks was pretty high. My lack of access to the abstracts did mean I ended up in a fair few theoretical talks, but honestly one of the reasons I prefer large conferences is getting outside my narrow sphere of study for a while. I found the whole experience very useful for helping me generate new ideas, not to mention finding new collaborators! I also quite enjoy the challenge to trying to follow talks on subjects or techniques I am not familiar with. As someone who got into academia, at least partly, because they just enjoyed learning new things, conference season is the highlight of my year.
The conference dinner was also very fun. Rather than the usual drill of sitting in a large room, on a table of people you don’t know, eating dry roast ham, we instead had a “food fair” in a nearby park with vans serving pizza, chips, ice cream, wraps and various other foods.