Seminar in Comparative Biology
This is the home page of the UConn EEB department's Seminar in Comparative Biology on The Evolution of Phenotypic Plasticity. This (Spring 2018) semester, we are meeting each Wednesday at 10:00am in the Bamford Conference Room in the Torrey Life Science building.
- 1 Possible topics for discussion
- 2 Schedule
- 3 Information for discussion leaders
Possible topics for discussion
Costs of Plasticity
Transgenerational plasticity & epigenetic marking
Genetic control of plastic responses
Integration of plastic responses
Hidden reaction norms/cryptic genetic variation
The papers for discussion are available either online (through the library or journals) or as a pdf in the UConn Dropbox if not available online
January 24, 2018
- Organizational meeting, Bamford Conference Room, 10am
January 31, 2018
- Costs of Plasticity, Annette Evans
Reading for discussion: DeWitta et al 1998, Costs and Limits of Phenotypic Plasticity
February 7, 2018
- Costs of Plasticity, Carl Schlichting
Readings for discussion:
To discuss during seminar:
Schlichting, C. D., J. R. Auld, H. S. Callahan, C. K. Ghalambor, C. A. Handelsman, M. A. Heskel, . . . C. J. Murren. unpub. Detecting Costs of Phenotypic Plasticity. 
February 14, 2018
- Epigenetics and Plasticity, Lauren Stanley
February 21, 2018
- Maladaptive Plasticity, Eileen Schaub
February 28, 2018
March 7, 2018
- Plasticity's Role in Adaptation to New Environments: A Look into Climate Change, Tanisha Williams
Reading for Discussion:
March 21, 2018
- Hidden Reaction Norms and Cryptic Genetic Variation - Chris Nadeau
Reading for Discussion:
March 28, 2018
- Plasticity & Microenvironment, Timothy Moore, James Mickley
April 4, 2018
April 11, 2018
April 18, 2018
April 25, 2018
Information for discussion leaders
Seminar Format: Registered students will lead discussions (perhaps more than once depending on the number of participants).
The leader(s) will be responsible both for (1) selection of readings, (2) announcing the selection, (3) an introductory presentation, (4) driving discussion and (5) setting up and shutting down the projector.
Readings: In consultation with the instructors, each leader should assign one primary paper for discussion and up to two other ancillary papers or resources. The readings should be posted to EEBedia at least 5 days in advance.
Announcing the reading: The leader should add an entry to the schedule (see below) by editing this page. There are two ways to create a link to the paper:
1. If the paper is available online through our library, it is sufficient to create a link to the DOI:
:[http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/sysbio/syv041 Doyle et al. 2015. Syst. Biol. 64:824-837.]
In this case, you need not give all the citation details because the DOI should always be sufficient to find the paper. The colon (:) at the beginning of the link causes the link to be indented an placed on a separate line. Note that the DOI is in the form of a URL, starting with
http://dx.doi.org/. Here is how the above link looks embedded in this EEBedia page:
2. If the paper is not available through the library, upload a PDF of the paper to the UConn dropbox, being sure to use the secure version so that it can be password protected. Copy the URL provided by dropbox, and create a link to it as follows (see the Dropbox Test page for other examples):
:[https://dropbox.uconn.edu/dropbox?n=SystBiol-2015-Doyle-824-37.pdf&p=ELPFIc5NtO3c4V44Ls Doyle et al. 2015.]
In this case, you should provide a full citation to the paper for the benefit of those that visit the site long after the dropbox link has expired; however, the full details need not be part of the link text. Here is what this kind of link looks like embedded in this EEBedia page:
- Doyle et al. 2015. Full citation: Vinson P. Doyle, Randee E. Young, Gavin J. P. Naylor, and Jeremy M. Brown. 2015. Can We Identify Genes with Increased Phylogenetic Reliability? Systematic Biology 64 (5): 824-837. doi:10.1093/sysbio/syv041
If you have ancillary papers, upload those to the dropbox individually and create separate links.
Finally, send a note to the Plasticity seminar list letting everyone know that a paper is available.
Introductory Presentation: Introduce your topic with a 10- to 15-minute presentation (Powerpoint or Keynote encouraged). Dedicate at least 2/3 of that time to placing the subject into the broader context of the subject areas/themes and at most 1/3 of it introducing paper, special definitions, taxa, methods, etc. Never exceed 15 minutes. (For example, for a reading on figs and fig-wasps, broaden the scope to plant-herbivore co-evolution.). Add images, include short movie clips, visit web resources, etc. to keep the presentation engaging. Although your presentation should not be a review of the primary reading, showing key figures from the readings may be helpful (and appreciated). You may also want to provide more detail and background about ancillary readings which likely have not been read by all.
Discussion: You are responsible for driving the discussion. Assume everyone in attendance has read the main paper. There are excellent suggestions for generating class discussions on Chris Elphick's Current Topics in Conservation Biology course site. See section "Expectations" at https://elphick.lab.uconn.edu/eeb-5370-current-topics-in-conservation-biology/. Prepare several questions that you expect will spur discussion. Ideally, you would distribute questions a day or two before our class meeting.
Projector: The Bamford room has joined the modern world--you should just need to plug in your computer or USB key to project.