EES Conference 2011

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Welcome to the 2011 EES Conference

Dates: October 11th and 12th 2011

Location: LMU Biozentrum in Martinsried

Check our EES Conference poster ‎here or the booklet ‎here

The annual EES conference is being held on the 11th and 12th of October 2011 at the LMU Biozentrum. Everyone interested in topics in Evolution, Ecology, and/or Systematics is invited to join. At this conference, finishing Master's students and PhD students will give talks on their research, and Master's students completing their first year will present posters. In addition, three invited speakers will be presenting their work.
During the conference, we will welcome our new EES Master's students, hold a graduation ceremony for our third cohort of EES Master's students, and award the EES Young Researcher Prizes for best Master's/Diplom and PhD talks.

September 1st is the deadline for applications for the 2011 EES Young Researcher Prizes for best Master/Diploma and PhD research in the fields of Evolution, Ecology and Systematics at the LMU Seize the opportunity to participate in the 5th Annual EES Conference on the 11th and 12th of October 2011! Present your research in a brief talk (10-15 minutes) and win 1000 € (for the two best Master/Diploma students)or 1500 € (for the two best PhD students) If you are a… Master/Diploma student who handed in your thesis between August 1st 2010 and September 2nd 2011 PhD student who handed in your thesis between August 1st 2010 and September 1st 2011 or PhD student in your final year (that is, started before October 1st 2009)Then you are eligible!

How to apply: By September 1st, send an email containing a brief CV, the abstract of your talk and a short statement from your supervisor confirming that you are eligible for the prize to Katharina Böndel ( or Olivia Hesse (

If you would like to join the conference, please send an email to Olivia Hesse (

For all speakers who give a talk please notice that we will probably present the talks with Office 2003. So please prepare .ppt or .pdfs. Thanks a lot !!

Key note speakers

Ralph Tollrian

Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Lehrstuhl für Evolutionsökologie und Biodiversität der Tiere, Universitätsstraße 150, 44780 Bochum.

The ecology and evolution of inducible defences: Daphnia as model system.

The study of phenotypic plasticity is at the intersection between genetic and environmental determination of traits. A good example is the role of phenotypic plasticity in defensive traits. The fascinating ability of organisms to chemically sense their predation risk and to form adequate defenses only when they are needed has been reported from unicellular organisms to vertebrates. Inducible defenses protect individuals but bear the potential to influence communities: On a population level they have been reported to dampen predator-prey oscillations leading to coexistence in bi- and tritrophic experimental systems. Phenotypic plasticity in defensive traits has been shown to evolve as an adaptation to heterogeneity in predation risk. Inducibility of traits is favored if the predation risk is variable, if reliable cues indicate the danger, if effective defenses can be formed within relatively short time spans and if costs are associated with the defenses, which can be saved during times when the defenses are not needed. Daphnia are excellent model organisms. They form a variety of inducible defenses, however, even within single species not all genotypes respond in the same direction. Local adaptations and even the existence of multiple optima have been shown, illustrating the role of selection in the evolutionary process. Current research is targeting pathways and genetic background of inducible defenses.

Volker Loeschcke

Dept. of Biology, Ecology and Genetics, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 114, Buildg. 1540, DK-800 Aarhus C, Denmark. [Homepage]

A systems biology approach to the study of adaptation to thermal stress.
We are studying adaptation to thermal stress using Drosophila as a model organism. To achieve our research goals, we study costs and benefits of acclimation to various stressful conditions and characterize heat shock protein expression levels along thermal gradients. We study correlated responses in lines selected for resistance to various climatic stressors as heat, cold, starvation and desiccation, and for longevity, a trait that often has shown to be correlated with stress resistance traits. Results on the stress resistance level are related to results on the gene expression level in the same stress selected lines using Affymetrix gene chips at different time points after being exposed to a heat or cold hardening treatment. We discuss how to use the information from gene expression studies to get information that allows relating genetic variation to functional differences. We compare our results on putative candidate genets for stress resistance with those of other studies selecting for the same traits for evaluating quantitatively the role of genetic background. Further, we study the metabolic profile of the same selection lines, and find different patterns of responses at the different levels of biological organization. To complement the laboratory studies, we use acclimated and selected lines to study fitness in the wild using release-recapture experiments to bridge the gap between laboratory experiments and studies of thermal adaptation in the wild. Finally, we extend studies on thermal adaptation in multiple populations from single species along environmental gradients to a multi-species level, and discuss ecological and phylogenetic constraints on adaptive evolution. Here, we also discuss if tropical species seem to be more constrained in their evolutionary potential than temperature species.

Nadia Fröbisch

Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Invalidenstraße 43, 10115 Berlin

Amphibian evolution through deep time: integrating the fossil record, morphology, and development.

In modern ecosystems, amphibians are represented by three characteristic groups (frogs, salamanders, and caecilians), which show a wide range of adaptations and explored countless habitats in temperate and tropical regions of the earth. Moreover, amphibian evolution is documented by an extensive fossil record that reflects an even greater diversity and especially morphological disparity throughout their long evolutionary history than is reflected by the modern representatives only. Despite their extensive fossil record, the origins and relationships of modern amphibians with potential Paleozoic taxa remain very controversial with three vastly divergent hypotheses currently discussed in the literature. In recent years, new insights into the biology of the ancient taxa and their potential relationships with modern forms have been gained from studying and comparing the ontogeny of extant and fossil amphibians. Ontogenetic series of fossil taxa are exceedingly rare and most data have been gathered from taxa preserved in fossil lagerstätten, especially the Upper Carboniferous and Lower Permian lake deposits of central Europe. These have yielded hundreds of exquisitely preserved specimens of various ontogenetic stages that provide rare insights into the development of fossil taxa. Amphibians plesiomorphically show a characteristic life cycle that consists of a free swimming, aquatic larva that undergoes a short phase of drastic physiological and morphological changes and metamorphoses into a terrestrial adult. However, this life history pathway has been altered many times in modern taxa and amphibians are characterized by a strong degree of developmental plasticity, which has been demonstrated to be of great ecological and evolutionary significance. It remains largely unknown when in the evolutionary history of amphibians a biphasic life cycle evolved and became established. However, ontogenetic series of one group of fossil amphibians, the branchiosaurids, show that they already had a biphasic life cycle similar to modern amphibians, highlighting the early evolution of this life history pathway. The fossil ontogenetic series of branchiosaurids further reveal, that they share a unique pattern of skeletogenesis in their limb skeleton with modern salamanders only, which differs from an otherwise highly conservative pattern observable in all other tetrapods. Ongoing research on gene expression patterns and the regulatory control of limb development in salamanders helps to understand the potential phylogenetic significance of this feature and the driving factors behind this aberrant pattern in limb development and evolution.


Download the Program here‎

Tuesday October 11th 2011

Morning Session

9:30 John Parsch
opening words

Keynote Talk
9:45 Ralph Tollrian
“The ecology and evolution of inducible defences: Daphnia as model system”
10:45 coffee break

EES Master and Diplom Talks
11:00 Hsuan-Ju Chen
“A systematic comparison of invasive species' impacts and pathways”
11:15 Hendrik Frey
“Ressurection ecotoxicology- Daphnia galeata and Carbamazepine”
11:30 Adriana Dorado
“Inter-specific acoustic recognition in bat communities”
12:00 lunch
13:00 faculty meeting

Afternoon Session
14:00 Mónica Arias-Villarraga
“Analysis of the morphological evolution of mantellid frogs from Madagascar (Mantellidae): a possible case of Adaptive Radiation”
14:15 Johannes Aman
“The effectiveness of induced morphological defenses in Daphnia cucullata – investigated on the basis of high-speed camera analysis”
14:30 Andres Felipe Carvajal Dager
“Causes and consequences of dispersal syndromes in great tits (Parus major)”
14:45 Vanessa Huml
“Protection of the smooth snake in the Main valley in Bavaria”
15:00 coffee break
15:15 Amanda Glaser
“The effects of host genotype on virulence during Serial passaging within a host-parasite system at the population and species level: A case study using Beauveria bassiana and various Drosophila species”
15:30 Francisco Velásquez
“Relating male dawn song and female nest-leaving behaviour in the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)”
15:45 Jeannine Marquardt
“Cryptic speciation in the common European fern Asplenium ruta-muraria”
16:00 Patricia Silva-Flores
“Unravelling an enigma: ecology of waxcaps (Hygrocybe: Agaricomycetes)”
16:15 coffee break
16:30 Sinem Yigiter --- cancelled
“Behavioral Strategies of Ant Crickets to Deal with Ants. Catch me if you can!”
16:45 Yusuf Atagan
“Are aggressive male great tits bad fathers? Relationship of aggressive personality with provisioning ability of males”
17:00 Bernard Wolfschoon Ribeiro
“The ‘Postabdominalorgan’ of Daphnia magna and Daphnia cucullata: Morphology and Ultrastructure”

end of day 1

Wednesday October 12th 2011

Morning Session

Keynote Talks
9:30 Nadia Fröbisch
“Amphibian evolution through deep time: integrating the fossil record, morphology, and development”
10:30 coffee break
10:45 Volker Loeschke
“A systems biology approach to the study of adaptation to thermal stress”
11:45 3rd Semester EES Master Students - poster session announcements
12:15 lunch

Afternoon Session

13:00 Poster Session

EES PhD Talks
13:50 Mingbo Yin
“Population structure and host-parasite interactions in Daphnia longispina hybrid complex”
14:10 Beate Apfelbeck
“Territorial behaviour and testosterone in male black redstarts (Phoenicurus ochruros): from plasma to brain”
14:30 Miriam Linnenbrink
“Selection on expression variation at the blood group-related gene B4galnt2 in natural populations of house mice”
14:50 coffee break
15:05 Corinna Steinmeyer
“Sleeping in a box: individual variation in sleep behaviour in a population of blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus“
15:25 Iris Fischer
“Adaptation to drought in two wild tomato species: the evolution of the Asr gene family”
15:45 Thomas Kunze
“What is really a Skeneidae? - Anatomy, histology and phylogeny of skeneimorph microgastropods (Mollusca: Vetigastropoda)”
16:05 coffee break
16:20 Lisha Naduvilezhath
“Jaatha: A fast tool for understanding past demography”
16:40 Lena Müller
“Population transcriptomics of Drosophila melanogaster females”
17:00 Norbert Holstein
“How climate change in Africa over the past 7 million years affected diversification in the African cucurbit genus Coccinia”
17:20 coffee break
17:35 Graduation Ceremony: EES Master Class 2011 & EES Prizes Award

end of day 2

Organising team

Sidonie Bellot
Andrea Biebl
Katharina Böndel
Ana Catalan
Wolfgang Engelbrecht
Friedrich Fegebank
Christian Foth
Quirin Herzog
Olivia Hesse
Hannes Imhof
Deborah Schweinfest
Edwin Setiawan
Robert Sigl
Aretuza Sousa
Susanne Voigt
Andrea Weis

Supported by,

Dr. Winfried Hense, Evolutionary Biology

Dr. Alice Edler, EES program coordinator

Prof. Dr. John Parsch, Speaker of the EES program

Previous EES conferences

EES Conference 2010 - the fourth annual EES conference.

EES Conference 2009 - the third annual EES conference.

EES Conference 2008 - the second annual EES conference.

In 2007 the EES conference took place for the first time. See here for the details and some pictures of the First EES Conference.

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